Joan of

The questions asked by the judges at Joan's trial show that they were well aware of an underlying organization of which they stood in some dread. The judges were ecclesiastics, and the accusation against the prisoner was on points of Christian faith and doctrine and ecclesiastical observance. It was the first great trial of strength between the old and the new religions, and the political conditions gave the victory to the new, which was triumphant accordingly. 'We have caught her now', said the Bishop of Beauvais, and she was burned without even the formality of handing her over to the secular authorities. After the execution, the judges and counsellors who had sat in judgement on Joan received letters of indemnity from the Great Council; the Chancellor of England sent letters to the Emperor, to the kings and princes of Christendom, to all the nobles and towns of France, explaining that King Henry and his Counsellors had put Joan to death through zeal for the Christian Faith and the University of Paris sent similar letters to the Pope, the Emperor, and

[1. It is advisable to read the trial in the original Latin and French, as the translations have often a Christian bias, e.g. 'the King of Heaven' being rendered as 'our Lord' ' and 'my Lord' as 'our Saviour'. This is not merely inaccurate but actually misleading.]

the College of Cardinals. Such action can hardly be explained had Joan been an ordinary heretic or an ordinary political prisoner. But if she were in the eyes of the great mass of the population not merely a religious leader but actually the incarnate God, then it was only natural for the authorities who had compassed her death, to shelter themselves behind the bulwark of their zeal for the Christian religion, and to explain to the heads of that religion their reasons for the execution. On the other hand, the belief that Joan was God Incarnate will account, as nothing else can, for the extraordinary supineness of the French, who never lifted a finger to ransom or rescue Joan from the hands of either the Burgundians or the English. As God himself or his voluntary substitute she was doomed to suffer as the sacrifice for the people, and no one of those people could attempt to save her.

In comparing the facts elicited at the trial with the Dianic Cult as set out in the previous chapters, the coincidences are too numerous to be merely accidental. I do not propose to enter into a detailed discussion of the trial, I only wish to draw attention to a few points in this connexion.

The questions put to Joan on the subject of fairies appear to the modern reader to be entirely irrelevant, though much importance was evidently attached to her answers by the Court. She could not disprove, though she denied, the popular rumour that 'Joan received her mission at the tree of the Fairy-ladies' (Iohanna ceperat factum suum apud arborem Dominarum Fatalium), and she was finally forced to admit that she had first met the 'Voices' near that spot. Connexion with the fairies was as damning in the eyes of the Bishop of Beauvais and his colleagues as it was later in the eyes of the judges who tried John Walsh and Aleson Peirson.

The names of Christian saints, given to the persons whom Joan called her 'Voices', have misled modern writers; but the questions showered upon her show that the judges had shrewd suspicions as to the identity of these persons. That the 'Voices' were human beings is very clear from Joan's own testimony: 'Those of my party know well that the Voice had been sent to me from God, they have seen and known this Voice. My king and many others have also heard and seen the Voices which came to me. . . . I saw him [St. Michael] with my bodily eyes as well as I see you.' She refused to describe I St. Michael'; and bearing in mind some of the descriptions of the Devil in later trials, it is interesting to find that when the judges put the direct question to her as to whether I St. Michael' came to her naked, she did not give a direct answer. Later the following dialogue took place If the devil were to put himself in the form or likeness an angel, how would you know if it were a good or an evil angel?' asked the judges. Again Joan's reply was not direct: 'I should know quite well if it were St. Michael or a counterfeit.' She then stated that she had seen him many times before she knew him to be St. Michael; when a child she had seen him and had been afraid at first. Pressed for a description, she said he came ' in the form of a true honest man' [tres vray preudomme, forma unius verissimi probi hominis].[1] The accounts of the trial prove that Joan continually received advice from the 'saints'. The person whom she called 'St. Katherine' was obviously in the castle and able to communicate with the prisoner; this was not difficult, for the evidence shows that there was a concealed opening between Joan's room and the next. It was in the adjoining room, close to the opening, that the notaries sat to take down Joan's words when the spy Loyseleur engaged her in conversation; and it was evidently through this opening that 'St. Katherine' spoke when she awoke Joan 'without touching her', and again when Joan could not hear distinctly what she said 'on account of the noise in the castle'. A remark of Joan's that 'she often saw them [the Voices] among the Christians, they themselves unseen', is noteworthy for the use of the word Christian, suggesting that the 'Voices' were of a different religion. The remark should also be compared with the account given by Bessie Dunlop as to her recognizing Thom Reid when those about him did not know him; and with the statement by Danaeus that I among a great company of men, the Sorcerer only knoweth Satan, that is present, when other doo not know him, although they see another man, but who or what he is they know not'.

The points of mortal sin, of which Joan finally stood accused, were the following: 1, The attack on Paris on a feast day; 2, taking the Horse of the Bishop of Senlis; 3, leaping from the tower of Beaurevoir; 4, wearing male costume; 5, consenting to the death of Franquet d'Arras at Lagny.

Of these the most surprising to modern ideas is the one referring to costume, yet it was on this that the judges laid most stress. Even the severest of sumptuary laws has never made the wearing of male dress by a woman a capital crime; yet, though Joan had recanted and had been received into the Church, the moment that she put on male attire she was doomed on that account only. Whether she

[1. Compare Bessie Dunlop's more homely description of Thom Reid. An honest wele elderlie man.']

donned it by accident, by treachery, by force, or out of bravado, tile extraordinary fact remains that the mere resuming of male garments was the signal for her death without further trial. On the Sunday she wore the dress, on the Monday she was condemned, on the Tuesday the sentence was communicated to her, on the Wednesday she was burned, as an 'idolator, apostate, heretic, relapsed'. If, as I suppose, she were a member of the Dianic Cult, the wearing of male attire must have been, for her, an outward sign of that faith, and the resuming of it indicated the relapse; the inscription on the high cap, which she wore at her execution, shows that the judges at least held this opinion. Throughout the trial questions were poured upon her as to her reasons for wearing the dress, and she acknowledged that she wore it, not by the advice of a human man [per consilium hominis mundi] . . . 'Totum quod feci est per praeceptum Domimi, et si aliam praeciperet assumere ego assumerem, postquam hoc esset per praeceptum Dei.' Asked if she thought she would have been committing mortal sin by wearing women's clothes, she answered that she did better in obeying and serving her supreme Lord, who is God. She refused to wear women's dress except by command of God: 'I would rather die than revoke what God has made me do.'

On her letters were placed sometimes the words Jhesus Maria or a cross. 'Sometimes I put a cross as a sign for those of my party to whom I wrote so that they should not do as the letters said.' Though the mark was merely a code-signal to the recipient of the letter, it seems hardly probable that a Christian of that date would have used the symbol of the Faith for such a purpose. She also consistently refused to take an oath on the Gospels, and was with difficulty persuaded to do so on the Missal. When she was asked whether she had ever blasphemed [blasphemaverit] God, she replied that she had never cursed the Saints [maledixit Sanctum vel Sanctam]. When pressed whether she had not denied [denegaverit] God, she again refused a direct answer, saying that she had not denied the Saints [denegaverit Sanctum nec Sanctam].

The general feeling towards her among the Christian priesthood is shown by the action of Brother Richard. When he first entered her presence 'he made the sign of the cross and sprinkled holy water, and I said to him, Approach boldly, I shall not fly away.'

Another point to be noted is her answer that she learned the Paternoster, Ave Maria, and Credo from her mother, thus proving that she was not of a witch-family. According to Reginald Scot it was sufficient evidence to condemn a woman to death as a witch if her mother had been a witch before her. At the same time, however, Joan refused to say the Paternoster except in confession, when the priest's lips would have been sealed if she had proved herself not to be a Christian. She was very urgent to confess to the Bishop of, Beauvais, but he was too wary to be caught.

She first heard the 'Voices' at the age of thirteen, the usual time for the Devil and the witch to make 'paction'. One of her followers, Pierronne, was burnt as a witch, avowing to the last that she had spoken with God as friend with friend, and describing the costume of her Deity with a detail which shows the reality of the occurrence. If also there is any weight to be attached to certain names as seems likely after studying the lists given above then we have in this history four of the chief witch-names; Joan, the daughter of Isabel, and the two saints Katherine and Margaret. These coincidences may be small, but there are too many of them to be ignored.

There is evidence from Joan's own words that she felt herself divine and also that she knew her time was limited, but she never realized till the last that th end meant death; this, however, the 'Voices' knew and it was for this that they were preparing her. At the beginning of the trial, 'she said she had come from God, and had nothing to do here, asking to be sent back to God from whom she came [dixit quod venit ex parte Dei, et non habet quid negotiari quidquam, petens ut remitteretur ad Deum a quo venerat]. 'Many times she said to him [the King], I shall live a year, barely longer. During that year let as much as possible be done.' The 'Voices' told her she would be taken before the feast of St. John, and that thus it must be, and that she must not be troubled but accept willingly and God would help her. They also said it was necessary for her to be captured: 'Receive all willingly, care not for thy martyrdom, thou shalt come at last to the kingdom of paradise.' On the fatal Tuesday when she learned her doom, flesh and spirit quailed at the prospect of the agony to come, and she cried out that her 'Voices' had deceived her, for she had thought that in her imprisonment she had already suffered the promised martyrdom. Yet within twenty-four hours she went to the stake with courage unquenched, acknowledging that her 'Voices' were from God. Like John Fian nearly two centuries later, her spirit had sunk at first, and again like Fian she endured to the end, dying a martyr to the God who had exploited her confidence and simplicity and whom she had served so well. To her de Lancre's words might well apply, 'The witches are so devoted to his service that neither torture nor death can affright them, and they go to martyrdom and to death for love of him as gaily as to a festival of pleasure and public rejoicing.'

The ashes were collected and thrown into running water; a common rite, in religions of the Lower Culture, after the sacrifice of the Incarnate God. It is also worth noting that Rouen was one of the French cities in which there was still a living tradition of human sacrifice.

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