"Mysteries of The Maid of Orleans - a new book"
Written by Mr. Fred Romm
Among multiple mysteries and myths related to Maid of Orleans, widely known are those related to her birth and death. Let us consider them very briefly.
The first legend of such kind is related to the hypothesis that Joan had come from a royal house or origin because of how Joan’s family name was written d'Arc that might seem to be noble.
However, Raitzes /1/ believes that in beginning of XV century there was no apostrophe " ' ", used in Joan’s family name and thus it would have been written as Darc and not d’Arc as is used today. This would mean that the English form, "of Arc" could not be used. In many of the original documents Joan’s family name was sometimes written as Tarc, Dare and Daye /1/.
The form "d'Arc" came into usage due to a 16th century Orleans poet who wished "to make noble" Joan, thus he transformed her name to the form that we use now.
The "noble" form of the Joan's name is used by the so-called "revisionists," for the following erroneous reasons:
They claim that the use of the NOBLE form ‘d’Arc’ proves that Joan’s family could not have been a mer peasant family. Thus, Joan had to have noble roots.
A child was born to Queen Isabel of Bavaria on November 10, 1407. This child was baptized Philip and soon after died.
The revisionists take this know fact and twist it to fit their own preconceived notions. The child born to the Queen was NOT a son but was a daughter. The revisionists believe this child did not die but was only "declared dead," and was then given to the peasant d’Arc family who gave her the name Joan /2-4/.
The problem with this theory is that the revisionists contradict themselves.
Some of them pretend that Joan was initially hermaphrodite later transformed to girl /2/. Others claim that the girl (Joan) was initially normal, but recorded as boy to mask the fact that the child was illegitimate /3, 4/.
The revisionists try to support their position with the following strange arguments:
Sir revisionists, I have some questions for you! Why was "the princess" not given lessons in reading and writing, but remained illiterate? Why she was asked to go to the war – instead of The Dauphin Charles? Why was "the princess" not educated in the house of her father – if this was not Jack Darc? The Batard of Orleans (Dunois) was educated in the home of his father, the Duke of Orleans. A question posed by the author.
This is a very strange argument!
First, torture was applied independently of the rank of the victim. Second, torture was applied to persons suspected of sorcery, while Joan was charged with heresy.
Third, the Rouen trial started without any accusation material against Joan, hence, the judges did not know what kind of confession to ask of Joan.
Fourth: Joan stated that she would reject any confession that she might make under the pain of the torture.
Fifth: victims of tortures died very frequently. If that happened to Joan, that would be worse for English.
Sixth: Joan was permanently shackled and deprived of sleeping, sometimes put into a little cage, that is definitely a form of torture.
Seventh: It is very strange that Jack Darc, if he was not the actual father of Joan, tried to make her marry according to his choice, against her wish. How could he behave so with a princess (if she was one)? A question posed by the author
The second part to the revisionism schema is the question: Did Joan actually die in the flames at Rouen?
According to them, Joan was not executed in Rouen, May 3o, 1431, but was replaced by another woman /2-4/.
The revisionists assume that before 1431 Joan was delivered from the prison, then married Robert of Armoises. According to some sources, Mme. of Armoises was recognized as Joan by Jean and Pierre Darc.
This concept is definitely fantastic.
First of all, the execution of Joan was public and observed by above 1000 people, including English soldiers. All of Joan’s judges, the English nobles as well as all the people of Rouen, who saw her at St. Ouen’s cemetery during her abjuration, knew the sound of Joan’s voice. Moreover: those who prepared Joan for and went with her to the place of execution confirmed later that her actually died in the flames. /5/.
Second: Why would the English offer mercy to Joan? Seeing that ever since the English encountered Joan at Orleans they PROMISED to burn her if they ever got a hold of her. Maybe their aim was to look good in the eyes of the public? The English nobility did not care at all about nor feared "Public Opinion." What reason would the English have in allowing Joan to survive? Perhaps they feared looking barbarous and heartless for participating in such a cruel death? This is definitely NOT the case, because at the time, burning was not considered an unusual form of execution.
Third: English paid the Burgundians 10,000 gold pounds (livres) as ransom for Joan. They also covered all the expenses of the trial, which ending amounted to several thousand pounds /1/. The expenses of guarding Joan from October 1430 to May 1431 were also enormous. Why would the English invest such fantastic amounts of money if their aim was to free Joan?
Fourth: Until 1455, the condemnation of Joan remained valid. If (just theoretically) Joan actually did survive, why would she want to risk recapture and condemnation by attracting public interest as Mme. of Armoises?
The description of the recognition of Mme. of Armoises by the d’Arc brothers is unclear. Maybe they just confirmed that this woman looked similar to Joan. Moreover: there is a version that "brothers d’Arc" were also impostors, accomplices of Mme. of Armoises /5/. Why not?
The revisionists claim that the English could not execute Joan if she was a bastard princess. However, that is just absurd, because during the Wars of Roses, many English princes were routinely killed in a very cruel manner.
No doubt: during the execution, all the people were absolutely sure that the condemned girl was Joan d’Arc. Including those responsible for the execution.
1. V.Raitzes. Joan of Arc's trial. (Russian: В.И.Райцес. Процесс Жанны д'Арк. М.-Л., 1964). http://www.ibmh.msk.su/vivovoco/vv/papers/history/PUCELLE/JEANNE.HTM
2. Paul Rouelle. Jeanne d'Arc: cessez le feu! http://www.cafe.umontreal.ca/crb/paul/jeanne.html
3. Jean Roche. Jeanne d'Arc a-t-elle été brûlée ? http://perso.wanadoo.fr/daruc/divers/jeanne.htm
4. Jeanne d'Arc encore et toujours. http://site.voila.fr/jdarc/index.html