Dhaka, Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Bangla Insider

Joan of Arc: A saint and warrior

Published on : 11 June 2019, 08:39 AM
Joan of Arc: A saint and warrior

The wind of France got weighty in the scream of a teenage girl on 30 May 1431. She had been burnt alive in a small township on the bank of Seine River. The merciless executors didn`t spare the lifeless body of that teenage girl. They burnt it again and again until her body turned into ashes. Finally, her ashes were spread out in the Seine River. The brave young girl is none other than France`s heroin- Joan of Arc. She faced a horrifying death at the age of only 19. Although the heroic struggle of freedom is always male-centered, Joan of Arc is an exception. This 19-year-old heroine led France`s independence struggle and won the hearts of many. Her popularity and victory together became a cause of headache for the British empire and church ecclesiastics. As a result, she was arrested and later executed with complaints of witchcraft and infidelity.

With a naive birth to a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France, Joan claimed to have received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recovered France from English domination late in the Hundred Years` War. A prediction that said, France would be protected by a virgin, was common back then.

At that time, 14-year-old King Charles was nominated as the future king of France. When Joan expressed her willingness to take part in the war against England, she was discouraged and bashed initially since no girl could take part in the war at that time. Joan had predicted that France would be defeated in Orléans war and France got defeated actually. Joan got a chance to participate in the war with a guise of a man.

People believed in superstition then. After some predictions of Joan came true, the locals started to consider her as a witch. To prove her innocence, Joan had to face the test before church representatives. After passing the test, Joan focused on her training on the art of war and became a captain.

Under her vigorous and well-timed leadership, the French army began to conquer several fortresses and Reims city. The future king of France crowned in the same city on 17 July, only day after conquering the city. Joan of Arc stood beside the king during that ceremony.

Joan was captured at Compiègne war on May, 1430 by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was sold to English in exchange of 10,000 pounds. This teenage girl was considered one of the notorious enemies of the English. Even before her capture, they did not believe that this girl was the reason for their sufferings. They tried to prove Joan as a witch.

The most unfortunate thing is, King Charles of France did not take any initiative to rescue Joan. Joan was put on trial by the pro-English Bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty, she was burnt at the stake.

After 25 years of Joan`s execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III began a new trial of her assassination. The court debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. After this brutal execution, the French tried to remove all rights and marks of the English permanently from France. Many memorials have been built in France in memory of Joan. She is also dubbed as "The Maid of Orléans". That 19-year-old still remains as a legend in the history of France and Christianity for her courage, purity and her supreme sacrifice.

Bangla Insider/ SM