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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. «Jeanne d’Ark at the coronation of Charles VII in Reims.» (1851).

Жанна Дарк

The most famous execution of a witch in centuries was the burning of Joan of Arc on May 30, 1431 in the city of Rouen.

Lionel Domremy. «The Life of Joan of Arc. Jeanne, listening, voices.» (1910).

According to Joan of Arc, the Archangel Michael and Saint Catherine of Alexandria appeared to her in visible form, who announced to her, a simple peasant girl, that it was her destiny to lift the siege of Orleans, raise the Dauphin to the throne and expel the English invaders from the kingdom.

Lionel Domremy. «The Life of Joan of Arc. The interrogation of Jeanne in Chinon.» (1910).

In late February or early March 1429, Jeanne arrived at the castle — residence of the Dauphin Charles in Chinon. According to legend, the Dauphin first gave her a test, putting a page on the throne and standing in the crowd of courtiers. However, Jeanne recognized him anyway, even though she had never seen him before. And after that, she announced to Charles that she was sent by Heaven to liberate the country from English domination. By that time, things in the French kingdom were worse than ever and, perhaps, Charles, desperate to fix something, believed that only a miracle in the face of this girl who appeared from nowhere could help him.

Charles Lenepve. «Jeanne d’Ark at the siege of Orleans.»

And the miracle happened! When Jean led the army to Orleans, besieged by the British, she, having won a number of victories over the British, forced them to lift the siege from the city in four days, which seemed impossible to the French commanders.

Jean-Jacques Scherrer. «Entry of Jeanne d’Ark to Orleans.» (1887).

After the victory at Orleans, Jeanne was nicknamed the «Maid of Orleans», and the day of lifting the siege — May 8 is still celebrated every year in Orleans as the main holiday of the city.

Jules-Eugene Lenevet. «Jeanne d’Ark at the coronation of Charles VII.» (1889)

The next task for the Maid of Orleans was the liberation of Reims, in which all the rulers of France were traditionally crowned. This also seemed like a difficult task. But the example of Jeanne stirred up patriotic sentiments in France. Karl doubted the success of the campaign to Reims to the last. However, the Virgin’s prediction came true — the troops marched bloodlessly to the walls of the city in two and a half weeks. The crown of the Dauphin was put on in the Reims Cathedral. Next to the king stood Jeanne d’Ark with a banner, in the armor of a knight.

Joseph Navlet. «The Capture of Jeanne d’Arc in Compiegne.» (1869).

In May 1430, Jeanne came to the aid of Compiegne, besieged by the Burgundians. It can be assumed that the commander of the garrison of the city, Captain Guillaume de Flavi, was not very happy that she was actually taking away his power over people. By his order, on May 23, the bridge to the city was raised, which cut off the way for Jeanne to escape under the cover of the fortress walls after a sortie. The outnumbered Burgundians dragged Jeanne from the saddle and seized her brother and squire.

Adolf-Alexander Dillens. «The Capture of Joan of Arc». (1850)

Адольф-Александр Дилленс

The commander of the Burgundians in Picardy, Jean of Luxembourg, is said to have asked Charles for a ransom for Joan. Charles, who was crowned in Reims thanks to her, did nothing to save the Maid of Orleans who saved France.

Meanwhile, the Burgundians sold it to the English for 10,000 gold livres. In November-December 1430, Jeanne was transported to Rouen, where a church trial began on charges of heresy, witchcraft, disobedience of the church and wearing men’s clothing. The judicial and ecclesiastical investigation dragged on. But the French heroine was doomed.

Paul Delaroche «The interrogation of Jeanne by the Cardinal of Winchester» (1824)

In order to convict her of having ties with the Devil, Bishop Pierre Cauchon, who was expelled from his diocese in Beauvais, was invited to participate in the investigation, who was considered a doctor for bringing heretics to clean water. For the successful massacre of the Virgin, the British promised him the mitre of the Archbishop of Rouen.

Bishop Cauchon tritely deceived the poor girl. He showed her a built bonfire on which she would die if she did not admit her guilt and promised to transfer her from the English prison to the church prison, where she would be provided with good care if she signed a paper on obedience to the Church and renunciation of heresies. The heroine who saved France could not write and put a cross on the paper instead of a signature. Meanwhile, women’s clothes were taken away from her, and she, for lack of another, put on men’s clothes. This meant that she had fallen into heresy for the second time, for which there could be no forgiveness. The tribunal sentenced her to death at the stake.

Anthony Serres. «The Trial of Joan of Arc». (1867).

Это изображение имеет пустой атрибут alt; его имя файла - Энтони-Серрес.-Судилище-Жанны-дАрк.-1867.jpg

On the one hand, the church trial of Jeanne was conducted quite responsibly. It began on January 9, 1431 with surveys of residents of Domremy and Vaucouleurs. The defendant herself began to be interviewed only on January 13, asking her about a dozen questions a day. The trial of her case in total lasted about four months. However, on the other hand, this trial looks like a real disgrace for the Catholic Church. In fact, she burned the poor girl alive just because she changed her skirt for pants. The exact age of the defendant is not known, but presumably she was only 19 years old. To send this young girl to the bonfire, a judicial corps was assembled from among very educated clergymen. And they were all French! Two of them were masters, and one was a bachelor. But none of them had any real power and authority.

Saint-Evreux Gillot. «Jeanne d’Ark is imprisoned.»

For example, Joan was imprisoned in the tower of Rouen castle under the protection of English soldiers, and not in a church dungeon, as prescribed by Law for the conduct of ecclesiastical courts. It is said that when Bishop Cauchon was told about this, he replied that the British would hardly agree to transfer Jeanne to another place. That is, Cauchon was either afraid to ask the British about it, or was refused. Not all of the seven judges were bloodthirsty. For example, Master of Arts and licentiate of Canon law Jean de la Fontaine even received a sharp reprimand from Cauchon for sympathy for the captive. Proud la Fontaine did not tolerate this and after March 27, in protest, he stopped appearing at court sessions. However, the protest cost him dearly. Jean de la Fontaine is missing.

But the other six judges were not distinguished by pity. Especially the Canon of Beauvais and Bayeux, who showed outright hatred for Jeanne and behaved unbridled at the trial, for which he even received a reprimand from the Earl of Warwick. But a misfortune happened to him soon after the trial. He drowned in the swamp.

As soon as the clergy did not mock the poor girl. She was afraid that if she did not obey the Church, she would not receive the sacraments. They threatened me with torture. They took her to the cemetery of the Abbey of Saint-Ouen and demonstrated the bonfire prepared for her.

At the meeting on March 28, 70 articles of accusation, drawn up by Jean d, were read to Jan.’Estiva. Moreover, most of the accusations were based on the testimony of Jeanne herself.

Charles-Henri Michel. «The Last Communion of Jeanne, or Jeanne d’Ark is in prison.» (1899).

When Jeanne was sentenced to death, Canon Pierre Maurice was allowed to confess her and then commune her. Actually, Jeanne, declared a heretic, was not allowed any rituals. But apparently it was part of the deal in exchange for her confession.

Isidore Patrick. «Jeanne d’Ark on the way to the scaffold.» (1867).

On May 30, 1431 at 9 a.m. Jeanne d’Ark, with a paper mitre on her head, on which was the inscription: «Heretic, apostate, idolater,» was taken out of the castle and taken on a cart, accompanied by the executioner Geoffrey Terage and escorted by 80 English soldiers to the Old Market Square in Rouen, where a bonfire had already been prepared for her. During the whole journey, Monk Ladvenyu and other brothers, who were in the mournful procession, read prayers.

Jean-Paul Laurent. «The Ascent of Jeanne d’Ark to the scaffold.» (1895).

The poor girl was crying and wailing, crying out to the Lord. Even many Englishmen were filled with compassion for her.

Henri Schaeffer. «Jeanne d’The Arch is in the square of Rouen and the priest who betrayed her is crying out for forgiveness.» (1835).

In the Old Market in Rouen, everything was already ready for an exemplary execution: wooden platforms for judges and a scaffold for Joan of Arc were put together. It had a gypsum base, around which firewood was stacked.

Herman Anton Stilke. «Jeanne d’Ark at the stake.» (1843).

Герман Штильке

And in the middle of the scaffold there was a post with a board where it was written: «Jeanne, calling herself a Virgin, an apostate, a witch, a cursed blasphemer, a bloodsucker, a servant of Satan, a schismatic and a heretic.» Given the great popularity of Jeanne in France and rumors that her associates were ready to repel her, serious precautions were taken. Around the scaffold in a cordon stood 800 British soldiers who did not let the townspeople close to the condemned. It was even ordered to close the wooden shutters of the windows facing the square.

Jeanne is tied to a post.» Miniature of the XV century.

Казнь Жанны-2

Upon arrival at the place of execution, the executioner with difficulty tied her to a post, as large bundles of brushwood interfered.

Казнь Жанны-рисунок

Bishop Cauchon announced the verdict of the ecclesiastical court: «… We declare you, Jeanne, a harmful member of the church and, as such, we excommunicate you from it: we hand you over to the secular authorities, asking them, however, to soften their sentence and spare you from self–mutilation and death…»

Jeanne was indeed spared from self-mutilation, but not from the bonfire.

Jules Eugene Lenevet. «The Burning of Joan of Arc.» (1889).

КАзнь Жанны-3

Jeanne kept repeating: «Jesus, Jesus.» She probably hoped that, as in the lives of the holy martyrs, he would envelop her in a cloud and take her to heaven at the most crucial moment. But this did not happen, God did not heed her prayers.

One English soldier, who boasted that he would be the first to throw a bundle of brushwood on the fire, fainted. But this did not delay the execution process.

Frederick Legrip. «Jeanne d’Ark on the scaffold on May 30, 1430.» (1861)

The executioner, Geoffrey Terage, descended from the scaffold and brought a torch to the fire to the laid out wood. «Bishop, I am dying because of you. I call you to God’s judgment!» — Jeanne shouted from the height of the fire and asked to give her a cross. The executioner handed her two crossed sticks. Soon the fire engulfed the clothes of the convict.

Eugene Deveria. «The death of Jeanne d’Ark at the stake.» (1831).

Казнь Жанны- 4

Jeanne was young and well-built. Eyewitnesses of the execution said that for some time everyone was looking at «secrets that only a woman can have.» But many were crying.

And then, because of the clouds of smoke, she was no longer visible.

Francois Chifflart. «Jeanne d’Ark at the stake.» (1901)

Most likely, Jeanne died of suffocation and pain shock. But she had to know the full extent of suffering in her last moments. God forbid anyone to suffer such sufferings as the heroine of France experienced in her dying hour, condemned and executed by the French, under the supervision of the British.

The British did not want any memory to remain on earth about the young girl who inflicted defeats that hurt their self-esteem. The executioner received an order to pour a bonfire after the condemned woman died, so that the townspeople could examine the remains and make sure that they belonged to the Maid of Orleans.

When the fire went out, several still bleeding pieces of the body could be seen, in particular, the heart, which, according to a number of testimonies, remained absolutely untouched by the fire. After a pause, the executioner went back to work and rekindled the fire. And when everything finally burned down, the Cardinal of Winchester ordered the executioner to throw everything that was left of the fire into the Seine.

He followed the instructions. The ashes left over from the folk heroine of France were scattered over the Seine.

Lionel Domremy. «The Life of Joan of Arc. The death of Jeanne at the stake.» (1910).

On May 16, 1920, the Maid of Orleans Jeanne d’Ark was canonized by the Catholic Church. She is considered the patron saint of the military and France.

Oleg Loginov

*Translated using an electronic dictionary. The original text in Russian and much more on the criminal topic can be selected on the main page of the site —

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