Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy 600th Birthday

600 years ago today, possibly, in the village of Domrémy, Joan of Arc was born to the magnificently named pair of Jacques d'Arc and Isabel Romée. It is one of the remarkable stories* from history. There is much debate about the role she played in battle - was she more important for the morale she or for her tactics. However, during her trial for heresy she displayed great intellect and constantly dumbfounded her inquisitors. 

* Wouldn't a show about someone who uses great intelligence to achieve a position of prominence in an organization be worth watching.

Probably the most famous exchange is the following:

The most famous exchange was the question put to Joan: did she know if she was in God’s grace; to which she replied: “If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.”

The question, however, was a trap- but it did not catch Joan:

Had she answered yes, she would have been convicted of heresy, and if she replied no, she would be confessing her own guilt – it made no difference. 

The image on the right is from a Vichy propaganda poster: "The killers always return to the scene of their crimes". In World War II both sides tried to appropriate Joan for their cause, something France will see again today. 

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