The AskHistorians Subreddit invited me to pitch in on their latest Tuesday Trivia event. This week theme was FIRE.
Fire in the hole! …and in the house, castle courtyard, barn loft, cave, wiping out entire cities. What are some of the major flame-related disasters in your era? How did people fight fires?
I could just not pass on such an honor and I did my best to come up with a good story to share.
My Personal Contribution
If you know me you guess by then what I decided to talk about. Again. Joan of Arc.
This is the
story of how she died and how she burned.
judges had found her guilty on twelve accounts. Chief among them was the charge
that her visions were nothing but superstitious delusions that proceeded from
evil and diabolical spirits. Joan was also found guilty of attempted suicide
because she jumped from the tower of the Beaurevoir castle when she tried to escape
from her Burgundian ward, Jean de Luxembourg (a tale that I already briefly
mentioned in a
I will be
lazy for a minute and briefly remind that suicide was deemed as a very serious
crime in the 15th century, France. If you committed suicide, your
belongings were confiscated—meaning you could leave no inheritance to your
relatives—and your body would have to suffer a degrading sentence. We have
actually found pardon letters addressed to people who committed suicide,
blaming their death on insanity or something else, meaning they were eventually
not responsible of their own demise.
On a less
judicial and more spiritual level, let me quote Benjamin Zweig on that one (and
be a doll, check out his thesis on the Images
of Suicide in Medieval Art):
As the German nun and mystic Hildegard of Bingen tells us, suicide is unforgivable because it is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. But, then, what makes suicide blasphemous? Because, she and other medieval theologians might respond, suicide denies the possibility of God’s forgiveness. By flinging one’s own body into death, one doubts God’s mercy. When one denies God’s grace, one repudiates God’s very essence—that is, the Holy Spirit. To kill oneself is to proclaim one’s disbelief in God. But unlike blasphemous words, for which one can plead mercy, suicide cannot be undone. One cannot repent after death.
conclude in reminding that in his touring of the circles of Hell, Dante visits
the Forest of Suicide. It should serve as a final proof that attempted suicide
was a good reason to find anyone guilty of something immoral. Of course, Joan
tried to escape, and ultimately to live, but it didn’t bother her judges. She
jumped and it was constructed as a guilty charge against her.
that Joan sided against the Burgundians also played against her. It was seen as
a transgression against God’s commandment to “love thy neighbor”. No one
bothered to mention her quarrel against the English, which indicates the
political ties of her judges and who might have really been pissed at her. She’d
sent a letter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. I bet that letter was very
ill received. She also met him, and Monstrelet records it. He reports that he
was there himself, but that he forgot what the Duke said to the Maid. How
convenient… Let’s not forget that he later offered his chronicles to Philip the
not least, Joan’s unwillingness to answer her judges on certain matters—like
her personal exchanges with Charles VII—were constructed as a rebellion against
the church. She was therefore charged as schismatic.
On May 24,
1431, Joan was put in front of a stake and her charges were read to her.
Everything was ready for her to burn alive and be done with like Jean Hus and
many others before her. However, before the end of the sentencing, Joan finally
cracked under the pressure, pleaded guilty and asked for a pardon, which was
granted to her. She was brought back to her cell and probably raped by her
twelve charges, Joan had also been found guilty of wearing men’s clothes. It
was deemed as blasphemous. Therefore when she was seen wearing them again after
her “confession”, maybe as a way to repel her wards, she was deemed relapse. It
meant that the church couldn’t do anything for her anymore. Her soul was beyond
saving. She had to burn at the stake…
Burning at the Stake
It was a
Wednesday. Joan was brought out of her cell for the very last time on May 30,
1431, at the sweet age of nineteen.
We think indeed
that she was born in 1412, which is why her biography and dictionary written by
Philippe Contamine, Xavier Hélary and Olivier Bouzy was published in 2012, six
hundred years after she was born.
Ladvenu, who heard Joan’s last confession and escorted her to the stake,
reported that until the bitter end, she maintained that her visions were sent
to her by God and that she didn’t believe that she’d been fooled by any evil
By ten o’clock
in the morning, Joan was already where she would die, on a scaffold where
everyone could see her. The good people of Rouen didn’t dare to move to help
her. They were still under the shock of the 1418-1419 siege that cost them so
many lives. However, we can guess that they didn’t really like what they saw.
One very sarcastic Norman chronicler, Pierre Cochon—not to be mistaken with
Pierre Cauchon, Joan’s chief judge—stopped his chronicle at the very moment
Joan entered Rouen. He never mentioned her in his work. Yet he was a close
friend to several of the clerks who attended her trials and who, for the most
part, pleaded heavily in favor of Joan on her second trial.
some case, is more meaningful than any formulated opinion…
Fauquembergue, clerks for the Parliament in Paris, wrote that Joan wore a miter
which displayed four words: “Heretic. Relapse. Apostate. Idolatrous.” There was
also a board that described Joan as the wickedest witch of the West.
The executioner put the stake on fire and Joan burned alive. However, the fire was extinguished halfway to show that under her men’s clothes she was indeed a woman. Eventually, her ashes were spilled in the Seine to make sure no one could turn any of her remnant into a relic.
How She Was Replaced
telefilm that cast Neil Patrick Harris as Charles VII shows how La Hire and
Jean de Metz arrived too late to save Joan at Rouen. They see the flames from beyond
the city walls. They know she is dead… However, historically, the French captains
and the French court remained quite indifferent to Joan’s passing.
La Hire was
otherwise busy at the time. Earlier that year he’d taken the city of Louviers
in a successful commando mission that freed the most skilled and wisest French
captain of the time, a man so dangerous that the English had always refused to
discuss any ransom and kept his location secret, Arnaud-Guilhem de Barbazan,
the man who singlehandedly defended Melun nine months in 1420 against Henry V
and all of his army.
were in the business to retake Louviers and La Hire swooped back in the city in
April to manage its defense. As he sneaked out of town to fetch for
reinforcements at La Ferté he was captured, taken to Dourdan and released in
exchange for several hostages. He still had yet to pay for his ransom and La Hire
therefore went to Chinon to ask the king for help. Charles VII, who
couldn’t pull out money the way his grandfather did to help out Du Guesclin,
allowed La Hire to write to the good cities of France to raise money for his
ransom. We know that La Hire wrote at least to Lyon and Tours.
In the end,
he was nowhere near Rouen when Joan died and not the least concerned with her
passing. Jean de Metz? We don’t know where he was at the time…
On August 12, 1431, La Hire had forgotten Joan of Arc altogether. According to the chronicler Jean Lefèvre de Saint-Rémy, La Hire and several captains put a young shepherd at the front of their army to lead them to victory but the poor boy didn’t have Joan’s nerves. He was captured, brought back to Rouen and probably thrown in the Seine to drown. No one bothered with a “proper trial” on that one.
I fell in love with Joan of Arc thanks to Age of Empires 2. I never healed from it. As Ovid says: “Quod nullis amor est sanabilis herbis.” There is no remedy to love.
Once I started to study History at the university, I met Joan again. I discovered her through new lenses. I read the papers and scholarly books written about her. I read the original sources from the 15th century. Her voice sounded clear to me when I read her trial. I saw her proud gait whilst perusing medieval chronicles. Then I visited Picardy and many places she went. I walked near the tower she jumped from when she tried to escape the English.
following paragraphs it will look like I’m dismantling piece by piece the
second scenario of Joan of Arc’s campaign in Age of Empires 2. However this is a love letter more than anything.
Age of Empires 2 is a fantastic video
game to discover the Middle Ages. There is much to say about the scenarios and
the in-game encyclopedia, but that’s only for the better when you really think
Intro: Joan of Arc’s Campaign, Second Scenario
March 26, Chinon
It is one thing for a band of dispirited soldiers to put their trust in a teenage girl. It is entirely another for that girl to be given command of the army of an entire nation.
We were filled with pride when we heard the Dauphin’s heralds pronounce Joan the Maid as Commander of the Army of France.
So that she may look like a general, the Dauphin presented Joan with a great warhorse and a suit of white armor.
Joan instructed me to look for an ancient sword buried beneath the altar of a local church.
I was skeptical, but not only did the men unearth a rusted blade, but we found that the sword belonged to Charlemagne, grandfather of France. I shall not doubt her word again. Still visible on the hilt was the fleur-de-lis.
Joan adopted the fleur-de-lis as her symbol and had it blazoned upon her battle standard. Wherever Joan goes, the standard goes also. It goes with us to Orléans.
The City of Orléans is one of the finest in France, but it is under siege by our enemies, England and Burgundy, and is about to fall.
This war has dragged on for one hundred years with precious few French victories. The people of Orléans need a savior. They are to get Joan of Arc.
one, is a wonderful text. It really helps us to connect with Joan’s story on an
emotional level. However, it is filled with inaccuracies…
brothers were given nobility titles after the victory of Orléans, she was never
invested of any official military title. The “Commander of the Army of France”
was the ‘connétable’ and that man,
since 1425, was Arthur of Bretagne, count of Richemont. Connétables were chosen
for life. Richemont himself had fallen into disgrace because of his political
actions (he had drowned the king’s favorite courtier) but he still held on his
title. Right under him were the ‘maréchaux’ and those titles had also already
been handed out to other aristocrats.
Regarding Joan’s famous sword, it didn’t belong
to Charlemagne… First off, the fleur-de-lis
only became a symbol of the French royalty during the 12th century,
once coat of arms were properly invented. It couldn’t have been Charlemagne’s
emblem. Secondly, the sword was not miraculously found, dug up or given to
Joan. It was merely an ex-voto that caught her eye when she went in pilgrimage
to Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois on
her way to Chinon.
Finally, when Joan arrived to Orléans the Burgundians had already lifted the siege. Poton de Xaintrailles, La Hire’s brother in arm, had risked a dangerous diplomatic move. He’d offered to open Orléans to the Duke of Burgundy if he could insure the safety of its inhabitants. Philip the Good wished for nothing less but it angered the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France. The two men were at odds since Anne of Burgundy had passed away. Sister to Philip the Good and Bedford’s former wife, she’d already saved the Anglo-Burgundian alliance in the past and her death left the alliance in tatters. Therefore, the English were left alone to besiege Orléans.
1.1. The Map: Orléans surrounded
scenario we find three French cities: Chinon
and Blois, south of the Loire, controlled by the artificial intelligence,
and Orléans, north of the Loire, which
the player takes over as soon as he steps into it.
threatened by four British fortresses,
two north of the city, which produce long swordsmen, longbowmen and mangonels,
plus two other, south of the city, which produce battering rams and knights.
Furthermore, the Burgundians are still in play, though it is historically inaccurate. They send up spearmen to attack Orléans along other units.
Since all those units will continuously attack the player, he will have to produce a vast variety of counter units to push back the AI efficiently. It will be tricky to balance an economy properly to that end, however, with a population capped at 75…
The Siege of Orléans
speaking, Orléans was surrounded by English bastions, mainly west to the city. John Talbot, knight of the Order of the
Garter, was commanding those fortified places himself. He’d been a real thorn
in the shoe of the French since he landed on the Continent, back in 1427. The
British also had a few bastions eastwards, but first and foremost they occupied
the ‘Bastille des Tourelles’ that
closed the Loire bridge. It forced the people of Orléans to destroy the bridge
so that it couldn’t be crossed, contrarily to what the player can do in the Age
of Empires 2 scenario.
defense, Orléans had no less than thirty
towers along its walls and barricades
also blocked the city access in the suburbs. Churches also could serve as
fortified places. However, the people of Orléans struggle every day a bit more
to ration their food and they urgently needed supplies to maintain their
How the scenario plays out
The second scenario of Joan of Arc’s campaign has a few surprises but it plays in a quite straightforward fashion. It starts at Chinon with the Duke of Alençon greeting Joan. He moves towards her on his gorgeous steed: “I’m the Duke d’Alençon, my Lady. I will proudly ride with you to Orléans.”
point in the very southern corner of the map, Joan, Alençon and their troops
ride to Blois where they will meet the king’s
army. On their way they’ll fight out a little ambush if they don’t avoid
it, but when they reach Blois, the player gets a full load of knights,
crossbowmen and trade carts to provide Orléans in resources. Those trade carts
must reach the city town center, not the market, for the resources to be
collected by the player.
Blois, Joan can reach Orléans through the dirt path leading to the Loire bridge but that’ll force her into
an early battle against Burgundian troops guarding the access. However, transport ships are waiting to help the
player across the river and out of harm way. Whatever the choice taken by the
player, Joan and the French army reach Orléans through one of its two southern
Orléans, the objective is quite simple: keep
the city cathedral safe, maintain Joan of Arc alive and destroy one of the
four English castles. Whenever the trade carts get to the city forum, the
player gets resources and he can start to build his economy with the few
villagers he finds in Orléans.
The easiest and quickest way to win the scenario, however, is to get to Castle Age as soon as the trade carts get to Orléans forum. Forget about the economy altogether. Cross back the river Loire with a few villagers and build a siege workshop at the back of the southern British fortress. As soon as you can create a few battering rams, break down the British walls, get inside their base and ram down their castles. The knights you get in Blois can also swoop in for extra damages: the castles don’t have the murder holes technology.
Now, if you want to play really tricky,
though it requires a bit of skills, station your knights between the two
southern British fortresses, wait for villagers to open the gates while passing
through it to gather resources, rush into the enemy base and bring fire the old
fashion way: through good old sword repetitive smacking.
How History played out
first: the Duke of Alençon has nothing
to do in this scenario. He only comes up in Joan’s saga much later, notably
during the siege of Paris. The real historical character who supervised the
military operations on the French side was the bastard of Orléans, Jean Dunois.
La Hire, who is introduced to the Age of Empires 2 player in the next scenario,
was also of the party.
In summary, the French army commanded by the maréchal de Boussac, in company of La Hire, Joan of Arc and a convoy of supplies, journey from Blois to Orléans. In order to reach the besieged city, they decide to go around it from the east and cross the Loire River on transport ships. The bastard of Orléans waits firmly for the resupply and supervise the crossing.
meets Dunois, Joan is upset. She demands why they didn’t cross west of Orléans,
where the English are the most heavily fortified, where John Talbot who
commands the troops is located. Dunois is
flabbergasted by Joan’s audacity. She dare answer that the advice she
brings is better than his, for she’s sent by God. At that point, the wind was
not favorable for a crossing. All of a sudden it changed and Dunois interpreted
it as a miracle, when he talked
about it years later during Joan’s second trial.
de Boussac and the French army, however, turn back to Blois. Joan of Arc, La
Hire and the resupply convoy cross the Loire. They briefly rest at Reuilly with
Dunois then ride to Orléans. The English garrisoned in the bastille of
Saint-Loup attempt to attack the convoy but last minute reinforcements from
Orléans distract them from their purpose. Joan
and the convoy arrive in Orléans untouched to the great relief of the
population. One man get so close to Joan to better see her that he actually puts
her sleeve on fire with his torch. The disaster is fortunately avoided.
dictate the strategy, Joan is kept in the dark. Nothing is shared to her. The
bastard of Orléans and the faithfull captains of Charles VII talk shop without
her. When she awakes from a nap, Joan says she saw in a dream that French blood
was spilled. She puts on her armor and gallops out of Orléans. She reaches the
French troops attacking Saint-Loup
and the place is taken.
The bastille of the Augustins is next to fall, then the French mount an attack against the Tourelles, which guards the bridge entry facing Orléans. All day long, the French troops can’t overcome the English defenders of the fortress. Nevertheless, thanks to Joan’s last galvanizing speech, they gather their last drops of courage and eventually conquer the place. The French army based in Blois has now a freeway to enter Orléans. John Talbot is forced to leave and empties the last English strongholds parked around the besieged city.
The liberation of the Loire can finally begin.
Outro: Joan of Arc’s Campaign, Second Scenario
Joan prophesied that she would be wounded at Orléans. At the height of the battle, an arbalest bolt knocked her from her horse. We could not believe our misfortune.
But as we carried Joan away from the carnage, the battle was won. Orléans was free.
When we entered the city, the entire population cheered us on from windows, rooftops, and city streets.
They fired artillery into the night sky and shouted aloud their nickname for Joan: ‘La Pucelle’—The Maid of Orléans.
predicted her injury. As he travelled to Lyon for the sake of his master, the
Duke of Brabant, the lord of Rotselaar gave news from Charles VII’s court. His
letter, dated from April 22th, 1429, mentions that a young woman swore to
liberate Orléans, but that she will be injured during the battle. The attack of
the bastille des Tourelles happened two weeks after this letter was sent and
Joan is indeed struck by a range weapon in the morning, right in the shoulder.
Her prediction is also stated in other sources. To this day the historians
Joan, once injured, cries. However, she refuses to be healed through witchcraft. She takes the arrow out of her shoulder herself, with nothing else than olive oil and a piece of cloth to ease her pain. She goes back to battle. As the evening drops, the day seems lost but she carries on. “Fear not, the place is ours!” she shouts as she sees her banner close to the fortress walls, pointing out to everybody where to strike. The French muster their morale, dive once more into the breach and eventually conquers the Tourelles in a last assault that will become unforgettable.
The night proceeds with careful celebrations as Talbot hasn’t left yet. However, no artillery fired into the night sky. Canons shot at the start of a siege. The bells rang, from all over the city. Gathered in churches, the people of Orléans and their defenders sang the Te Deum Laudamus that Joan had had the French army sing when they left Blois. It wasn’t Joan who was celebrated, but God.
3 overlooked facts
The very last
assault on the Tourelles gave place to great moments which are worth remembering.
The Loire Bridge had been partly destroyed. Seeing that the fight reached no conclusion, the people of Orléans decided to help out their allies. They threw planks across the long narrow bridge. The first one to come forth was a Knight Hospitaller, Nicolas de Giresme. His crossing was perceived as a miracle.
The English captains, however, were not so lucky… The drawbridge of the Tourelles collapses under their very feet and they all drown in the Loire. According to an Italian merchant relating the events of the siege, the drawbridge collapsed because of a demolition ship prepped on Joan of Arc’s orders, then moved forward at the most strategic moment!
Finally, as the English withdrawn from their strongholds, a war prisoner, the bastard of Bar, managed to escape his jailers in a way nothing short of fabulous. He gets the personal priest and confessor of John Talbot to carry him to Orléans! Not only does he come back to reinforce his friends, but he also hands them a very valuable informant.
Historians still debate today on Joan’s real impact over the commandment of the French army. It is rather excluded that she ever held any official title or ordered the troops herself, even if the most daring historians have argued that he left a “legacy”. She feared no danger, she was pro-active on the battlefield, she never backed down from a fight. In that, however, she was La Hire’s perfect pupil, minus the wisdom and experience. Nevertheless, without her, it is undisputable that the Tourelles wouldn’t have been conquered the day they were and the siege of Orléans could have dragged on more.
The English were already in a pickle. Their alliance with the Burgundians was in tatters and the earl of Salisbury, their military genius, was dead during the first days of the siege of Orléans. The town, meanwhile, was defended by the best and bravest, the cream of the French army. La Hire, Poton de Xaintrailles, their brothers and their friends were all there. They had no pompous title but they counted among the most professional soldiers in France at the time.
Joan of Arc only put more oil on a fire the fire and the tide was already turning against the English. Yet it takes nothing away from her bravery, her valor and her charm, that History consecrated forever.
Age of Empires 2 m’a fait tombé amoureux de Jeanne d’Arc. Il s’agit d’un amour dont je n’ai jamais guéri. Comme le dit Ovide : « Quod nullis amor est sanabilis herbis ». Il n’existe aucun remède à l’amour.
Une fois entré à l’université, j’ai redécouvert Jeanne d’Arc à la lumière de mes études. Elle m’apparaissait désormais au travers des recherches historiques et des sources d’époque. J’ai entendu sa voix en lisant son procès. J’ai perçu sa fière allure à la lecture des chroniques. Ensuite j’ai visité la Picardie et j’ai découvert des endroits où elle s’était rendue. J’ai marché au pied de la tour, à Beaurevoir, dont elle aurait sauté pour tenter de se sauver des Anglais.
Dans les paragraphes qui suivent, je vais démonter pièce par pièce le scénario du siège d’Orléans dans Age of Empires 2. Néanmoins, il s’agit bien d’une lettre d’amour. Age of Empires 2 est un jeu fantastique pour découvrir le Moyen Âge et s’intéresser à son histoire. Il y a beaucoup à redire sur les scénarios et l’encyclopédie du jeu, mais ce n’est que pour le mieux.
26 mars, Chinon
Remettre toute sa confiance en une jeune fille, pour une bande de soldats abattus, ce n’est pas rien. Mais pour cette jeune fille, se retrouver à la tête de l’armée de toute une nation, c’est bien autre chose.
Nous étions gonflés d’orgueil quand nous avons entendu les hérauts du Dauphin déclarer Jeanne la Pucelle, Chef de l’Armée de France.
Pour que Jeanne ait l’allure d’un général, le Dauphin lui a offert un cheval de bataille et une armure blanche.
Jeanne m’a chargé d’aller chercher une ancienne épée sous l’autel d’une église.
J’étais sceptique et pourtant non seulement les hommes ont déterré un fer rouillé mais nous avons découvert que cette épée avait appartenu à Charlemagne, le père de la France. Je ne douterai plus jamais de ses paroles. La fleur de lys se voyait encore sur la poignée.
Jeanne a adopté la fleur de lys comme symbole, qu’elle a fait représenter sur son étendard de bataille. Partout où Jeanne allait, son étendard la suivait. Et il nous a accompagné jusqu’à Orléans.
La ville d’Orléans est l’une des plus belles villes de France mais elle est assiégée par nos ennemis, l’Angleterre et la Bourgogne et elle est sur le point de succomber.
Cette guerre dure depuis cent ans avec de rares victoires françaises. Le peuple d’Orléans a besoin d’un sauveur. Ils auront Jeanne d’Arc.
Ce texte est magnifique et il nous investit de façon très
émotionnelle dans les aventures de Jeanne. Toutefois, il est parsemé d’erreurs…
Si les frères de Jeanne d’Arc ont été anoblis après la
victoire d’Orléans, elle-même ne reçut jamais le moindre titre officiel au sein
de l’armée du roi. Le « chef de l’armée de France » était le connétable, et ce titre appartenait en
1429 à Arthur de Bretagne, comte de Richemont. Il s’agissait d’un titre détenu
à vie, et si le connétable de Richemont était en disgrâce en raison de ses
partis-pris et de ses actions politiques, il disposait toujours de son titre.
En dessous du connétable se trouvaient les maréchaux, et ces fonctions étaient
La célèbre épée de
Jeanne d’Arc, déjà célèbre de son vivant, n’avait pas appartenu à
Charlemagne. Ici, les auteurs du scénario commettent plusieurs erreurs. Tout
d’abord, il eut été impossible qu’une épée ayant appartenu à Charlemagne fût
ornée d’une fleur de lys. Le
principe des armoiries ne vit le jour qu’au XIIe siècle. Ce n’est
pas avant cette époque que les rois de France adoptèrent la fleur de lys comme
emblème. Ensuite, l’épée fut tout simplement prise à l’église de Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois, où Jeanne se rendit en
pèlerinage et prière avant d’atteindre Chinon. Plusieurs épées y avaient été
laissées en ex-voto et l’une d’entre elle attira certainement l’intérêt de
Jeanne, mais il ne faut pas croire que l’épée fut trouvée par miracle.
Enfin, quand Jeanne arriva à Orléans, les Bourguignons n’assiégeaient plus la ville. Suite à une manœuvre
diplomatique aussi rusée que risquée, Poton de Xaintrailles, le frère d’armes
de La Hire, offrit d’ouvrir les portes de la ville au duc de Bourgogne si ce
dernier acceptait d’en assurer la protection. Rien n’aurait fait plus plaisir à
Philippe le Bon, mais cette éventualité fâcha le duc de Bedford, régent de
France. Les deux hommes n’étaient plus en très bons termes depuis le décès d’Anne
de Bourgogne, épouse de Bedford et sœur de Philippe le Bon. Ce dernier décida
donc de lever le siège et de laisser les Anglais seuls devant Orléans…
1.1. La carte du jeu
Telle qu’est présentée la carte du second scénario de Jeanne
d’Arc, on trouve tout d’abord trois villes françaises : Chinon et Blois, au sud de la Loire,
contrôlées par l’intelligence artificielle, et Orléans, au nord de la Loire, dont le joueur prend le contrôle dès
qu’il y parvient.
Orléans est menacée par quatre
forteresses britanniques. Les deux forteresses au nord produisent des
fantassins à épée longue, d’autres fantassins à arc longs et des mangonneaux,
tandis que les deux forteresses au sud produisent des béliers et des
Enfin, les Bourguignons
participent encore au siège, même si cela constitue une erreur historique. Ils
menacent notamment Orléans avec leurs piquiers et d’autres types d’unités.
Compte tenu que ces unités viendront assaillir le joueur
continuellement, il devra se parer d’unités de plusieurs types pour contrer
l’intelligence artificielle de façon efficace. Or, avec une population maximale
bloquée à 75 unités, cela pourra s’avérer difficile à accomplir tout en
maintenant une économie stable et bien équilibrée…
En outre, le joueur peut rencontrer quelques dangers sur la route, entre Chinon et Blois, notamment,
mais surtout à l’entrée du pont de la Loire, où une troupe bourguignonne
importante l’attend au pied d’une vilaine tour.
1.2. Orléans encerclée
nous l’avons déjà précisé, les Bourguignons n’étaient plus présents au siège
d’Orléans quand Jeanne d’Arc vint au secours de la ville. En revanche, Orléans
était encerclée par un véritable chapelet de forteresses et de bastilles
occupées par les Anglais. Sur la rive droite, à l’Ouest d’Orléans, les
bastilles étaient d’ailleurs gouvernées par Jean Talbot en personne, un
chevalier de l’ordre de la Jarretière qui donnait bien du fil à retordre aux
Français depuis son arrivée sur le continent. Les Anglais disposaient encore
d’une ou l’autre bastille à l’est, mais ils bloquaient principalement le pont
de la Loire en occupant la bastille des Tourelles, directement au sud
d’Orléans. Pour cette raison, les habitants de la ville avaient saboté le
fameux pont et il était en vérité infranchissable, ce qui n’est pas reflété
dans le scénario d’Age of Empires 2.
se défendre, Orléans disposait de puissantes murailles, garnies d’une trentaine
de tours. Les faubourgs de la ville, de surcroît, avaient été bardés de barricades
pour entraver l’accès à la ville aux Anglais. Les églises pouvaient également
servir de lieux fortifiés. Toutefois, Orléans se trouvait peu à peu asphyxiée
et le besoin de ravitaillement se faisait chaque jour plus urgent.
2.1. Les étapes du scénario
Le second scénario de la campagne de Jeanne d’Arc nous réserve
quelques petites surprises, mais il se joue de façon assez linéaire. Le duc d’Alençon rencontre Jeanne dès les
premières secondes de la partie et s’avance vers elle, sur son magnifique
destrier. « Je suis le duc d’Alençon, Madame. Je serais fier de vous
accompagner jusqu’à Orléans. »
De là, Jeanne, Alençon et la petite troupe quitte Chinon, dans
le coin inférieur de la carte, pour se rendre à Blois, au Nord-Ouest. Une petite embuscade attend le joueur sur la
route, mais quand il parvient à Blois, le joueur obtient un grand nombre de
chevaliers et plusieurs charrettes de
ravitaillements, qu’il doit escorter jusqu’au Forum d’Orléans, au Nord de
En sortant de Blois, le joueur peut suivre le chemin de terre,
mais il tombera alors sur une troupe bourguignonne, et passer le pont de la
Loire relèvera d’un véritable défi. S’il explore les berges du fleuve, en
revanche, le joueur pourra trouver quelques embarcations qui lui permettront de franchir l’eau sans être
ennuyé, et de parvenir indemne à Orléans.
Dès que le joueur entre dans Orléans par le Sud (s’il a
traversé le pont) ou le Sud-Ouest (s’il a emprunté les embarcations), il prend
possession de la ville et sa mission principale devient d’en défendre la cathédrale des assauts
britanniques et bourguignons. Afin de gagner la partie, il doit abattre au
moins un château anglais, maintenir la cathédrale debout et s’assurer que
Jeanne reste en vie.
La méthode la plusfacile consiste à passer à l’Âge des Châteaux sitôt que les charrettes de ravitaillement parviennent au Forum d’Orléans. Ensuite, il suffit de repasser la Loire avec quelques villageois et de construire un Atelier de Siège à proximité de la forteresse anglaise la plus au Sud de la carte. Quelques béliers suffisent pour percer une faille dans les remparts et démolir le château qui s’y cache et terminer le scénario endéans les quinze minutes, montre en main. Il n’est pas même nécessaire d’amener les chevaliers trouvé à Blois jusqu’à Orléans, ils peuvent s’engouffrer dans la forteresse anglaise dès qu’une brèche est faite et aider à détruire le château ennemi, qui ne dispose pas de la technologie « meurtrières » pour se défendre.
2.2. La véritable histoire
Tout d’abord, le Duc
d’Alençon n’a rien à faire dans ce scénario. Il n’intervient que plus tard
dans la saga de Jeanne d’Arc, notamment au siège de Paris. Le véritable
personnage historique ayant supervisé les opérations militaires du côté français,
lors du siège d’Orléans, était Jean Dunois, le bâtard d’Orléans. Il y avait
également La Hire, que le joueur d’Age of Empires 2 ne rencontre qu’à la
En résumé, l’armée française dirigée par le maréchal de Boussac, en compagnie La Hire, Jeanne d’Arc et un convoi de ravitaillements, voyagent depuis Blois
jusqu’à Orléans. Afin d’atteindre la ville assiégée, ils décident de la
contourner par l’est et de traverser la
Loire à l’aide de navires de transports. Le bâtard d’Orléans attend le convoi de pied ferme pour superviser la
Quand elle rencontre Jean Dunois, Jeanne d’Arc est énervée.
Elle demande pourquoi ils ne franchissent pas la Loire à l’Ouest, où les
Anglais se sont le plus lourdement fortifiés, là où se trouve leur commandant
Jean Talbot. Jean Dunois est épaté par l’audace de la jeune femme. Elle lui
rétorque que le conseil de Dieu, qu’elle reçoit, est certainement meilleur que
le sien. Jusque-là, le vent empêchait la traversée du fleuve. Quand Jeanne
finit de parler, il tourna. Des années plus tard, le bâtard d’Orléans
interprétera ce moment comme un « droit
Le maréchal de Boussac et l’armée française, toutefois,
tournent les talons et retournent à Blois. Jeanne d’Arc, La Hire et les
ravitaillements franchissent la Loire. Ils se reposent brièvement avec Jean
Dunois à Reuilly, puis font route vers Orléans. Les Anglais en garnison à la
bastille de Saint-Loup tentent une sortie pour attaquer le convoi, mais sont
distraits par des troupes qui jaillissent en renfort d’Orléans. Jeanne et les ravitaillements arrivent
intacts dans la ville, pour le plus grand bonheur des habitants. L’un
d’entre eux s’approchent si près de Jeanne pour l’observer qu’il met feu à sa
manche avec une torche, mais la catastrophe est écartée.
Loin de diriger les opérations, Jeanne est maintenue dans le
noir. Rien ne lui est communiqué, le bâtard d’Orléans et les capitaines fidèles
à la cause des Valois discutent de stratégie sans elle. Quand elle se réveille
d’une sieste, elle dit avoir rêvé que le sang français était versé. Elle se
pare de son armure et galope à tout rompre hors d’Orléans. Elle rejoint en
vitesse les troupes françaises qui assaillent la bastille de Saint-Loup, et celle-ci est prise.
La bastille des Augustins tombe ensuite, puis la prochaine
bastille attaquée est celle des Tourelles,
de l’autre côté du pont de la Loire. Pendant toute la journée, les troupes
françaises ne parviennent pas à s’emparer de la place. Néanmoins, grâce aux
ultimes encouragements de Jeanne, les Français reprennent courage et
conquièrent la bastille. La voie est libre pour l’armée française de venir
depuis Blois sans entrave jusqu’à Orléans. Jean
Talbotest contraint de plier
bagages et il évacue les forteresses campées autour de la ville assiégée.
La libération de la
Loire peut enfin commencer.
Jeanne a prédit qu’elle serait blessée à Orléans. Au point culminant de la bataille, un carreau d’arbalète l’a frappée, la faisant tomber de son cheval. Nous ne pouvions croire à notre malchance.
Mais tandis que nous transportions Jeanne à l’écart du carnage, nous avions remporté la bataille. Orléans était libérée.
Quand nous sommes entrés dans la ville, la population tout entière nous acclamait des fenêtres, sur les toits et dans les rues.
Ils ont tiré des coups de canon dans la nuit et crié à tue-tête le surnom de Jeanne : ‘La Pucelle’ – La Pucelle d’Orléans.
Jeanne d’Arc a bel et bien bien prédit sa blessure. Tandis qu’il est en voyage à Lyon pour son seigneur, le duc de Brabant, le sire de Rotselaar donne des nouvelles de la cour de Charles VII. Sa lettre, datée du 22 avril 1429, mentionne qu’une jeune femme a promis de libérer Orléans, mais qu’elle serait blessée durant les combats. L’attaque de la bastille des Tourelles se joue deux semaines après l’envoi de cette lettre, et durant l’assaut, Jeanne est en effet frappée au matin d’un projectile dans l’épaule. Sa prédiction est relatée par d’autres sources. Les historiens en sont encore étonnés aujourd’hui.
Jeanne, blessée, pleure. Mais elle refuse d’être soignée à l’aide de « sortilèges ». Elle retire elle-même la flèche de son épaule, n’ayant rien d’autre pour soulager sa peine qu’un bout de tissu et de de l’huile d’olive. Elle retourne aussitôt au combat. Au soir, la journée semble perdue, mais elle insiste. « Ne craignez pas, la place est nôtre ! » s’écrie Jeanne quand elle voit son étendard près des murs de la bastille, et indique que c’est là qu’il faut attaquer. Les Français reprennent courage et conquièrent enfin les Tourelles, dans un ultime assaut qui gravera toutes les mémoires.
Le soir se prête aux célébrations, mais il n’y a pas de coups de canons tirés dans la nuit. Le canon était tiré pour marquer le début officiel d’un siège. Les cloches de la ville, en revanche, sonnèrent toutes de concert. Recueillis dans les églises, les habitants d’Orléans et leurs défenseurs chantèrent le Te Deum Laudamus, que Jeanne avait fait chanter à l’armée française au départ de Blois. Ce n’était pas Jeanne, mais Dieu, que l’on remerciait pour la victoire.
Trois anecdotes truculentes du siège
L’ultime assaut de la bastille des Tourelles donna lieu à de
grands moments, qui méritent d’être remémorés.
Le pont de la Loire avait été détruit, mais voyant que le combat s’éternise, les habitants d’Orléans décident de venir en aide à leurs alliés. Ils jettent des planches en bois au travers du pont. Le premier à oser s’avancer sur ces constructions de fortune est un chevalier de l’ordre de l’Hôpital de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, Nicolas de Giresme. Alors qu’il franchit le pont sans que la planche ne cède sous lui, on crie au miracle.
Les capitaines anglais dans la bastille des Tourelles, en revanche, voient le pont levis s’écrouler sous eux et se noient dans la Loire. D’après un marchand italien, cela tient d’un navire de démolition, préparé par Jeanne d’Arc, et avancé sous le pont au moment le plus fatidique.
Enfin, alors que les Anglais évacuent leurs bastilles, un prisonnier de guerre, le bâtard de Bar, parvient à s’échapper de la façon la plus originale du monde. Il se fait porter par le prêtre-confesseur de Jean Talbot en personne jusqu’à Orléans ! Non seulement vient-il renforcer ses amis, mais il leur apporte un informateur de rêve.
Les historiens débattent encore aujourd’hui pour déterminer l’impact
réel de Jeanne sur le commandement de l’armée française. S’il est désormais
exclu qu’elle ait dirigé elle-même les troupes, les plus audacieux prétendent
qu’elle a laissé derrière elle un « héritage ». Elle allait au-devant
du danger et ne reculait devant rien. En cela, toutefois, elle était une
parfaite élève de La Hire, la sagesse et l’expérience en moins. Pourtant, sans
elle, il est indéniable que les Tourelles n’auraient pas été conquises et que
le siège d’Orléans aurait pu s’enliser davantage.
Les Anglais étaient en mauvaise posture. Leur alliance avec
les Bourguignons fondait comme neige au soleil et le comte de Salisbury, leur
génie militaire, était mort aux premières heures du siège d’Orléans. La ville,
en revanche, était défendue par les capitaines d’armées les plus retords et les
plus braves de l’armée française. La Hire, Poton de Xaintrailles, leurs frères
et leurs amis, ils étaient tous là. Ils n’avaient aucun titre pompeux, mais ils
étaient de véritables professionnels de la guerre.
Jeanne d’Arc ne jeta jamais que de l’huile sur le feu, alors
que les braises étaient encore chaudes et que le vent avait déjà commencé à
tourner. Cela ne retire néanmoins rien à son courage, à sa vaillance et à son
charme, consacrés à jamais par l’histoire.
All of us here, questioner and answerer, are inspired by portrayals of history in popular media, like games, film and tv. The recent release of the HBO Chernobyl mini-series is a great example – we had a sudden rush of interest in the history of the disaster. […] This week, we will look at the Age of Empires game series, from the first to the third and all of their expansions, which cover the ancient world, the medieval era and the ‘age of discovery’ period, and are set in various locations across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
I, for once, cannot shy away from that one. I’ve started a Twitch channel for the sole purpose to provide historical commentaries on Age of Empires—even though not very succesfully audience wise. Here is a highlight I saved from a former stream where I go on reading the in-game encyclopedia on the « Knights » entry and ramble about it. At first I went on to play Joan of Arc’s campaign and provided commentaries as I advanced in the scenario. That’s on YouTube now, even though I couldn’t make it into a series, along with a few short clips about Vikings [#1,#2,#3,#4,#5]. My latest and probably cleanest video edit is probably the short historical analysis I did on the Battle of Crécy, whilst comparing the longbowmen to the genoese crossbowmen units from Age of Empires 2. It’s only me working on it though, with my poor video edit skills, my full time night job and my social life to juggle altogether #CaptatioBenevolentia. It all started with a top facts on Joan of Arc I wrote on the AoEZone website (and also on Reddit, adding some corrections), in their kinda dead history forum. I’d love to finish a clean and well cut video edit on Joan of Arc’s campaign and provide something better than what Spirit of the Law is producing out of Wikipedia. I mean, I read the chronicles, the trials, the most recent books on the topic. So there it is, my short historical overview of the first scenario of Joan of Arc’s campaign (I won’t have the time to write about them all in one single go, maybe I’ll post one scenario a day since this is going on all week).
The Map of France
map that we see when we start the campaign is just plain awful, as I’ve
complained several times. It basically shows the borders of France today, along
with the borders of Switzerland (that becomes Burgundy!?), Belgium and the
Netherlands. On that one, I’m sorry, but we can only give an F to Microsoft. One
very pretty map that displays the border of France during the time of Joan of
Arc is the one drawn by Auguste
Longnon in the 19th century. I actually challenged u/Brother_Judas
to provide his fresh take on it and he’s at it! It’s going to be
beautiful. I can already tell.
An Unlikely Messiah
From the Journal of Guy Josselyne
“February 19, Army Camp near Vaucouleurs”
“This morning I awoke to visions of fire and steel. These nightmares come more often now that I have seen my beloved France eaten away in years of war.”
“I wandered through camp ignoring the new snowfall, but observing the wounds and weariness of every soldier under my command, observing the desperation in their eyes.”
“It was then that I first saw the girl. She told us that her name was Joan. She told us she was but a peasant, who did not know how to ride or fight. She told us that she intended to rescue France. The darkness lifted from the men’s souls. ”
“Her voice rang with conviction, and we drank in her every word. I may have lost my faith, but Joan has not lost hers, and that is enough for me.”
“Joan has asked our ragged band of soldiers to take her to Chinon, where the rightful ruler of France, the Dauphin, hides from his foes.”
“The war-torn land between is infested with enemy marauders, and we will lose many men. Death is by now an old companion, but for Joan, we will face it again.”
“As Joan’s footsteps echoed down the marbled hall of the château, the fat and whispering dukes did naught but stare.”
“The Dauphin himself seemed afraid as she kissed his feet. ‘My gentle Dauphin,’ she demanded, ‘why does England claim what is ours? Why are you not crowned King of France as is your right?'”
“The courtiers began to murmur. The chamberlain whispered lies into the Dauphin’s ear.”
“But the Dauphin pushed the chamberlain away and rose to meet Joan’s gaze.”
“She stands only to the shoulder of the shortest man, but all of us must look up to speak to her.”
“I know not what silent conversation passed between the Dauphin and his would-be savior, but it was obvious that his majesty was in the same thrall as we.”
Ideology versus reality
What we see in the scenario introduction is nothing short of a build up to depict Joan as a national hero. Well… The young girl was certainly pretty religious, but she had no idea of what a “nation” was in regard of our current understanding of the concept. She saw that the king had not been anointed in Reims, as was the tradition dating back from the Carolingian kings, and she maybe thought of it as the supernatural cause at the source of the wars that were afflicting the French people. I say “wars” because the Hundred Years War was in fact not one single big conflict between two nations, but the many push backs from the French nobility (including the king of England, who was a French nobleman) against the raising authority of their king through the slow building of an actual administrative state, which eventually lead, long term, to the administrative monarchy that ruled Louis XIV. Among the many concerns of the French nobility was the ability to raise their own troops. The king managed to deny them that right when he finally introduced the “Compagnies d’Ordonnances”, the first permanent and professional army in Europe since the Roman times. It brought the end of the Feudal system as we know it, where the suzerain called on his vassals. From then on, the king could rely on a constant military support, but it needed massive tax reforms and he really struggled to pass them on. Many of the noblemen that fought alongside Joan of Arc to “liberate France”, such as the Duke of Alençon, actually turned against Charles VII when the Companies d’Ordonnances were instated. That historical episode was called “the Praguerie” and it happened before the final battle of Castillon, which is portrayed as the final chapter of Joan’s campaing in AoE2.
Basically, everything was much more complicated than what AoE2 makes us believe. Also, Joan’s travel from Vaucouleurs to Chinon was not a commando mission. Jean de Metz didn’t like that Joan would stop in every church to attend mass, because he wanted to be discreet about their journey (they also travelled a lot at night), but they didn’t have to force their way through a Burgundian settlement as the scenario suggests.
About the scenario introduction, yet again: Paris is misspelled “Pairs”. Also, the game map fused the Seine and the Loire together into one single river.
As we start the game, we witness a battle where the French are literally crushed and overpowered by an English army. The problem that the French faced however was not that they didn’t have enough military to counter the English. At that time (from 1410 to 1440), they were poorly organized and divided between opposing factions that couldn’t play well together. The Duke of Burgundy refused to attend the battle of Agincourt, the Duke of Bourbon only sought his own personal glory, the Count of Richemont showed poor political skills when he drowned the king’s favorite courtier, etc. The French army was more than able to push back the English forces, as Charles V demonstrated during his rule with his attrition strategy. It just lacked a proper hierarchy up until the Compagnies d’Ordonnances were put into play.
Oh, and by the way, Joan could ride a horse! She wore a red dress when she arrived in Vaucouleurs and was given men’s clothes to go on her journey at the request of Jean de Metz. He stated so himself during Joan’s second trial. #JustRanting
Now, it is true that Joan called Charles VII “mon gentil Dauphin” (meaning “my noble Dauphin”). However, Charles VII was already king! He was not the heir to the throne, but the dude on the throne. He only hadn’t been anointed yet. Henry VI of England, who claimed to be Henry II of France and who was Charles VII’s nephew, hadn’t been anointed either. He would nonetheless be anointed in Paris in 1431, as a political answer to Charles VII 1429 ceremony in Reims. So France had two kings just as Christendom, around those very years, had two popes. The question was only who could actually wield the power since both Charles VII and Henry II had very strong legal claims to the crown. Meanwhile, Charles VII and Henry II held different parts of the royal demesne and they offered different political “programs” so to speak. Allied to the Burgundians, the Lancastrian pretenders maintained more traditional and conservative views, whereas the Valois mustered for a better centralization of the unruly state.
to say that Joan of Arc’s AoE2 campaign is what actually gave me my love for
History. This campaign is emotionally very important to me and I can’t stress
enough how much I love it. Even though I could tear down every single thing
from the campaign, from the scenario intros and outros to the gameplay, I
freaking love it and would recommend anyone to play it. The only reason I made
my master thesis on La Hire is because of that freaking campaign.
By the way, spoiler alert… La Hire was dead in 1453 when the Battle of Castillon took place. So when I replayed that last scenario I actually shed a tear as I found him virtually still alive and kicking, thirsting for blood. He died in 1443 during a military campaign the king lead in the Southern part of France. He was dearly missed by Charles VII himself, as Monstrelet writes in his chronicle. Just as much as Bertrand Du Guesclin and Arnauld-Guilhelm de Barbazan before him, Étienne de Vignolles, La Hire, was nothing short of a hero. He became the Jack of Heart in the traditional French card game.
Top 7 Facts of Joan of Arc’s Journey to Chinon
7. Joan was very religious. Her quest was more of a spiritual one than a patriotic one. The idea of a “French nation” as we define it today was quite foreign to her.
6. Joan asked to stop in many churches to attend mass. Jean de Metz proved quite reluctant since he prefered to travel unnoticed by Burgundians forces.
5. When she left Vaucouleurs, Joan was dressed as a man (because men’s clothes were more fit for travel) and riding a horse. She was not the average “sheperd girl” but she came from a well off family.
4. Before leaving Vaucouleurs, Joan was invited by the Duke of Lorraine, Charles II, to meet him. He was feeling ill and wondered if she could cure him. She only told him to stop cheating on his wife and asked for his ten years old son-in-law to be, René d’Anjou, who belonged to the highest nobility, to escort her to Chinon. Her request was declined.
3. As she left her native village of Domrémy, Joan lied to her parents. She told them she was going to help her cousin to deliver her child but she then asked her cousin’s husband to lead her to Vaucouleurs. That “white lie” would later cost her dearly during her trial in Rouen…
2. As Jean de Metz slept next to Joan several times on their way to Chinon, he never felt any desire for her. He had too much esteem for her as he would later testify on Joan’s second trial, held by Charles VII to clear her name of heresy.
1. Once she’d arrived in Chinon, Joan was then examined in Poitiers by theologians regarding the validity of her spiritual claims. Prior to that Yolande of Aragon also insured she was still a virgin and that is why she was later called the “Pucelle” (french word meaning virgin).
See Joan’s itinirary (picture it without the modern day highways ^^): click here.
Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, had quite a string of bastards, but only one legitimate son, who would later be known as Charles the Bold. The latter’s mother, Isabel of Portugal, cherished him. He was the only son she had who survived beyond infancy.
Charles would later on prove to be a very skilled tactician and fighter. Yet, at the prime age of seventeen, he still pretty much had everything to prove. No surprise there, young noble lads were only supposed to start their proper military training between fourteen and sixteen years old. They usually didn’t launch their chivalrous career before they reached eighteen.
Nevertheless, as Charles was in Brussels with his father and mother, it was decided he would engage in his very first official jousting event. That was well beyond what was expected from someone his age.
One question was on every lips. Who would face the heir apparent to Philip the Good, the mightiest Duke of Christendom? It had to be an honourable knight, for sure. Yes, well, certainly someone of note!
After much deliberation, it was concluded that the young Charles would face Jacques de Lalaing, the most adored knight of the court, but not only that, Jacques was the best knight of his time. His skills were so unparalleled that no-one, in the whole kingdom of France, dared to challenge him when he had called out for people to meet him on knightly venues.
Jacques de Lalaing had had to go all the way to Spain to find worthy opponents!
That day on
the Grand’Place of Brussels, which was very different to the one we know today —for
the French hadn’t bombarded it yet—, Charles of Burgundy met Jacques of Lalaing
on the jousting field.
Jacques of Lalaing was a careful man. On the first charge he didn’t lower his spear, yet the heir of Burgundy shattered his on Jacques’ shield. When he witnessed such a thing, Philip the Good was much displeased. “Don’t spare my son, go at it!” The Duchess Isabel didn’t like such an idea. On one hand she wanted her son to be safe. Jousts were not always the merriest business. On the other hand the Duke wished his son to prove his strength. The noble couple argued. Nevertheless, Jacques of Lalaing fulfilled his Lord’s wishes. The second time he charged the young Charles, he lowered his spears. The heir of Burgundy showed no fear. Both spears shattered on Charles’ and Jacques’ mutual shields. None of them fell from his steed. Philip the Good gloated with pride and everybody applauded at Charles’ prowess, happy to see that their Duke had a strong and healthy successor.
Philippe le Bon, duc de Bourgogne, eut une ribambelle de bâtards.
Toutefois, il n’eut qu’un seul fils légitime – que l’on surnomme aujourd’hui
Charles le Téméraire. La mère de ce dernier, Isabelle de Portugal, le
chérissait particulièrement. Deux de ses fils étaient morts en bas âge, Charles
était le seul à avoir survécu.
De son vivant, l’héritier de Philippe le Bon démontra à
maintes reprises ses talents de combattant et de tacticien. Néanmoins, au jeune
âge de dix-sept ans, il avait encore tout à prouver. Alors qu’il se trouvait à
Bruxelles avec son père et sa mère, il fut décidé qu’il se lancerait dans sa
première joute officielle. Une question pendit toutefois à toutes les lèvres.
Qui aurait l’honneur de l’affronter en premier ? Ce devrait être un preux
chevalier, quelqu’un de remarquable. Après moult délibérations, il fut arrangé
que le jeune Charles affronterait Jacques de Lalaing en personne, le chevalier
le plus adoré de la cour de Bourgogne, un chevalier tel qu’aucun, en France, n’avait
osé relever ses défis. Il avait dû se rendre jusqu’en Espagne pour trouver des adversaires
dignes de l’affronter. Enfin, donc, Charles de Bourgogne rencontra Jacques de
Lalaing sur la Grand’Place de Bruxelles, prêt à en découdre.
Jacques de Lalaing était un homme prudent. Quand il chargea la première fois, il ne baissa pas sa lance, bien que celle du jeune héritier de Bourgogne se rompît sur son écu. Quand il constata la chose, le duc de Bourgogne s’avéra bien mécontent. « N’épargne pas mon fils, va donc ! » La duchesse Isabelle n’appréciait guère une telle idée. Elle eût préféré que son fils restât en parfaite sécurité, mais le son époux désirait que son fils prouvât sa valeur. Le noble couple se disputa. Cependant, au second envol, Jacques de Lalaing respecta les vœux de son suzerain et abaissa sa lance. L’héritier de Bourgogne de montra aucun signe de faiblesse. Les deux lances se rompirent sur les boucliers respectifs de Charles et Jacques. Aucun d’eux ne chut de son destrier. Philippe le Bon exulta de fierté et tout le monde applaudit la prouesse du jeune Charles, bien heureux d’observer que le duc avait pour lui succéder un héritier aussi vaillant qu’en parfaite santé !
Source: Olivier de la Marche, Mémoires. Edited by Henri Beaune & J. d’Arbaumont. Paris: Renouard, 1883-1888. Cf. t. 2, p. 214-215.
Joan of Arc
never failed to be breezy and impertinent when faced with her social higher-ups.
That is one of her predominant character trait which makes her so charismatic.
She was blunt. She was fearless. She bowed to no one but the King. She was fine
damn ready to kick some ass and to admonish anyone whom she felt had crossed a
line. She certainly was one of a kind.
Joan Meets Jean de Metz
“Should I lose my feet I’ll walk on my knees.”
de Metz first met her back in Vaucouleurs, where her journey started, she was
wearing a threadbare red dress. “What are you doing here, darling?” he asked.
She answered in a straightforward manner: “I’ve come here to talk with the Lord
of Baudricourt, so that he would send me to the King. He won’t hear me, but I’ll
get there. Should I lose my feet I’ll walk on my knees. No one in the world,
nor any King, nor any Duke, nor any daughter of the King of Scotland, nor anyone
else, can take back the realm. The King shall have no succour but mine!” Jean
de Metz fell head over heels for Joan. He escorted her himself to Chinon after
he had her dressed as a man. He would then follow her for several months .
Joan riles the Duke of Lorraine
they left Vaucouleurs for Chinon, Jean de Metz went with Joan to meet The Duke
of Lorraine. The latter had invited the Maid to his court because he thought
she could be a healer of some sort. She candidly told the Duke to ditch his
mistress and be faithful to his wife. Then she went on to ask if René of Anjou,
the Duke’s future son-in-law, could accompany her to Chinon. The ten years old
prince belonged to the highest nobility. He was cousin to the King. Joan really
got some nerve. Yet her request was unabashedly denied .
Joan Flames A Theologian
“I speak better French than you”
eventually made her way to Chinon and met the King as she promised she would.
At that point she was requested to meet theologians to vouch for her visions.
Pierre Seguin was amongst those theologians and mighty doctors of the Church. He
asked Joan which dialect she spoke. “I speak better French than you”, she
replied, for he had a southern accent. He carried on to ask Joan to give a sign
that she was indeed sent by God. She came out as sharp as a knife. “I didn’t
come here to grant you tokens from God. Send me to Orleans. I’ll show you the
sign you’re looking for. ”
Joan of Arc Mocks Dunois
“I come by God’s own guidance, which is far safer and wiser than yours.”
on to Orleans. On her way over there, the French army rode up to the East of
the city to cross the river Loire. It pissed Joan, for John Talbot and his
troops were sitting West of Orleans. If there was ever a fearsome captain, it
was John Talbot. I found various occurrence of French armies avoiding him or fleeing
upon his arrival to avoid to face him. Yet Joan had wished to meet him head on.
She walked right to the man responsible of the coward itinerary, the Bastard of
Orleans himself. “Is it on your advice that we cross the river here and not
where Talbot and the English are?” The Bastard was rather startled to be addressed
in such a fashion. “Yes it was!” he boasted. Joan put him back to his place: “Know,
Bastard, that I come by God’s own guidance, which is far safer and wiser than
yours. Right at that moment, the winds which had been unfavourable to cross the
Loire turned and made the crossing possible. The Bastard couldn’t believe in
his own eyes. From that moment onwards he had faith in Joan .
Joan got captured in Compiegne, after she helped to liberate Orleans. Once
captured and faced with her enemies, however, Joan didn’t tune down.
Joan Knows What Awaits Her
“I know very well that the English will have me killed”
Back in the
15th century, the English already used to yell “God damn!” whenever
something displeased them. Therefore the French came up with a derisive and derivative
nickname for them: they called the English the “Godons”. Joan hated anyone to
call out the name of the Lord in vain, but she called the English Godons
herself. She did so, although imprisoned in a cell, right in front of the earls
of Stafford and Warwick, who ranked amongst the most powerful men of England. “I
know very well that the English will have me killed. Yet a hundred thousand Godons
couldn’t take the kingdom.” Stafford got so mad he draw his dagger with the
clear intent to kill her. Warwick through herself in front of Joan to protect
her. He would later protect her too from rape. You see, Warwick was of a sound state
of mind. He wanted Joan killed properly: on the pyre like a heretic after a due
trial to rob her from her mystical charisma .
Joan Faces Her Judges
“Should you tear my limbs apart…”
however kept a full grip of herself when she met her judges: an army of
theologians from the University of Paris who longed for her death. They tried
to catch her off guard with theological traps when asking her if she believed
she had received the grace of God. “I don’t know if God granted me his grace.
If he has, I pray that he keeps to do so. If he hasn’t, I pray that he extends
it to me,” she answered. Then they asked if Saint Michel was naked when he
visited her. She thought the idea utterly ludicrous: “Do you think Our Lord doesn’t
have clothes for him?” Eventually she was threatened with torture. She feared
nothing. “Should you tear my limbs apart or split my soul from my body, I
wouldn’t tell you otherwise. Should I tell you otherwise, then I would always
argue that you forced me to.” They ruled out torture. They went for entrapment.
At the end Joan was burned because she took on her male clothes after she swore
she would not put them on again. If there ever was a thin pretext to kill
someone, it was that one .
How Joan Ghosted Her Best Friend…
around eighteen years old when she went on her quest to rescue the King of
France. She was no more than nineteen when she died. She answered to the
powerful and the wealthy with nothing but confidence and cheek. Yet, there is
one person she didn’t dare to face, Hauviette. The latter said: “I’ve known her
since I was a child. We grew up together, you see. We had a fun sleeping next
to each other in the same bed when we were kids. Joan was good, pure and sweet.
She liked to go church. People often made remarks about it and she felt a bit
ashamed… She was like any other girl. She’d tend to her house and to her father’s
cattle. She could spin wool too. There was a big tree not far from the village.
We called it the tree of the fairies. We’d go there, with some bread and some
nuts, and we’d play. We never saw any fairies. There was none.” Then, she added:
“When Joan definitely left the village, she told me nothing. I only learned
afterwards that she was gone. I cried a lot. She was so good and I loved her so
much. She was my friend. ”
 Jules Quicherat, Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc. Paris: Jules Renouard, 1861-1869. Cf. t. 2, p. 436.  Ibid., t. 3, 87.  Ibid., t. 3, 204-205.  Ibid., t. 3, 4-5.  Ibid., t. 3, 122.  Pierre Champion, Procès de Condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc. Paris: Honoré Champion, 1921. Cf. t. 2, p. 42, 151, 252-253.  Quicherat (1861-1869), t. 2, 417-419.
Régine Pernoud & Marie-Véronique Clin, Jeanne d’Arc. Paris: Fayard, 1986 Philippe Contamine, Olivier Bouzy & Xavier Hélary, Jeanne d’Arc. Histoire et dictionnaire. Paris: Robert Laffont, 2012 (coll. Bouquins).