PLANTAGENETS & CAPETIANS English version
Causes and effects of three centuries conflicts between Capetians, Valois and Plantagenets:
“Dynasties sharing same roots, language and culture”
"From the failure of the Union of the Crowns to BREXIT"
Union victim of power struggles and withdrawal
By Didier BERTIN - June 27, 2021
We first deny the artificial and French concept of “Hundred Years' War” arbitrarily chosen by 19th century historians and who gave an erroneous view of the reality and duration of events as well as of the causes and effects of the various conflicts between the Plantagenets and the Capetians. These conflicts took place during near three centuries and did not oppose French and English because the concept of nation was not yet born in this era.
These dynastic conflicts started at the aggressive initiative of the Capetians against the Plantagenets to seize their territories; finally a cleavage began to grow between two peoples for whom the visible part of these power struggles was only the great battles, the weight of the taxes financing them and the looting.
The nationalist dress with which modern French historians adorned this era targeted to make of a defeat for the union of peoples and the loss of the potential influence of French language and culture a French Victory in the modern sense. Today the English language became by the facts as the worldwide universal language even for France.
With the same partisan spirit, the historian Jules Michelet built the legend of Joan of Arc in the 19th century as a symbol of nationalism and even xenophobia when this child was the victim of a Tribunal representing the Catholic Church whose sentence left totally indifferent Charles VII king of France and assumed beneficiary of her action as well as the Pope.
The History of this period taught in the French schools and then to the French people is thus a truncated version of the facts for the glory of France not yet existing. In too many countries official historians tend also to build a narrative favorable to a national sentiment but neglecting the reality of the facts. A truncated version of History is taught in France regarding WW2 during which the collaboration with Germany is neglected and a victory together with the allies was almost artificially built.
At the end of these regrettable dynastic conflicts an unfortunate cleavage was born between France and England despite the many common roots including the French language utilized officially in England during more than three centuries while the French became official in France only in 1539. The two countries which could have formed a Union did not have friendly relation until the first “Entente Cordiale” started in 1833 and continued in 1904, then during the two world conflicts of the 20th century.
In the middle of the 20th century, a project of a Franco-British Union appeared twice in an ephemeral but meaningful way; the first time on June 16, 1940 on the initiative of Jean Monnet and Winston Churchill and a second time on the initiative of Guy Mollet (Chief of French Government) on September 10, 1956 according to British sources.
In 1973 the United Kingdom joined France within the EEC but from 2006 to 2016 Nigel Farage embodied fanatic populism based on a selfish and very short-term economic conception leading to BREXIT which became effective in 2020.
II- THE SOURCES OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TWO DYNASTIES
William the Conqueror was heir to the throne of England as a result of the will of the King of England Edward the Confessor. After his coronation he widely francized England and in particular the ruling classes. French seemed to be a sufficiently standardized and constructed language to administer a country with multiple dialects. This was unprecedented since it was not until 1539 that French became the language of administration and royal justice in France. The alliance of the Normans to the Plantagenets and then to the Duchy of Aquitaine converted their Kingdom until 1204 into an empire more important than the Capetian Kingdom. The fact that the official language of this empire was French and that its rulers were French "in the modern sense of the word" meant that at that time the Empire of the Plantagenets could be considered to be France much more than the Kingdom of the Capetians. In addition, the Plantagenets had an original link with the Capetians through the House of Normandy, which they reinforced through several marriages.
We can also note that the words France and French are not adequate to represent a Gallo-Roman people speaking mainly Gallo-Roman dialects. The word France refers to a Germanic tribe “the Franks” and therefore the word French would be more suitable to designate a German dialect.
These words consecrate the victory of Clovis and the settlement of his Germanic tribe in Gaulle. Clovis was crowned in 496 under the title of “King of the Franks” and it is under this same title of "Rex Francorum" that Philip II Augustus (1165-1223) began his reign five centuries later. England is also misnamed since the Angles are also a Germanic tribe like the Franks settled in its territory which the Romans called Britain (now Great Britain including Scotland and Wales).
Philip II Augustus decided to change his title to King of France "Rex Franciæ" at the time he decided to seize the territories of the Plantagenets by force. Philip II Augustus had a particular taste for coveting the property of others since already in 1182 he seized those of the Jews and expelled them out of his Kingdom.
The fact that Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) was Queen of France before marrying the King of England Henry II cannot justify the lust of Philip II Augustus since her properties was never part of the Capetian royal domain and that he was born well after the dissolution of Eleanor's marriage with his father Louis VII (1137-1180) by the Council of Beaugency in 1152.
King Henry II reigned over a territory which stretched from Scotland to the Pyrenees with England, Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Aquitaine and Brittany. Through the marriage of his son his son Geoffroy with the daughter of the Duke of Brittany, Henry II also ruled Brittany.
Plantagenet Empire in the 12th century
Philip II Augustus tried first to forge alliances and then to plot to seize the territories of the Plantagenets which led him at a point to be bigamous and excommunicated by the Pope.
Philip II Augustus went with King Richard I the Lionheart (King of England, Count of Poitiers, Maine, Anjou, Duke of Aquitaine, and Duke of Normandy) to the Third Crusade but returned to his Kingdom when the crusade began in 1191. While Richard I was still on a crusade Philip II Augustus plotted with his brother, John Lackland who expected to overthrow Richard I.
John Lackland gave to Philip II Augustus the Norman Vexin, the Vaudreuil, Verneuil and Évreux in 1194. When Richard I returned from the Crusade, he went to war to recover his territories. A peace treaty was signed in Gaillon in 1196: Richard I ceded Gisors and the Norman Vexin to Philip II Augustus who gave up to him the various conquests he made in Normandy as well as his claims on Berry and Auvergne. Richard I succumbed in 1199 and his brother John Lackland took over.
John Lackland was a mediocre King who suffered the hostility of his nephew Arthur I of Brittany who also claimed the throne of England and who was assassinated by John Lackland.
From 1204 to 1214 Philip II Augustus entered in war again and seized most of the mainland of the Plantagenets. He took Normandy in 1204, and then by the Treaty of Chinon of 1214 John Lackland gave him all his possessions in the north of the Loire: the Berry and the Touraine, the Maine and Anjou and only kept Aquitaine which was also called Guyenne according to the Occitan dialect. The capture of all the lands of the Plantagenets in 1214 (with the exception of Aquitaine) spawned a series of conflicts in which territorial conquests and struggles for the throne of France were intertwined.
In 1328 Charles IV of France died and the last direct Capetian who was to succeed him was Edward III of England grandson of Philip IV le Fair through his mother Isabella of France; the Peers Council refused him the throne of France by using an anachronistic law, "the Salic law", which was a bad pretext. The Salic law was established in the 6th century by the Germanic tribe of the Franks and excluded women and even their male descendants from power.
In 1337 Philippe VI seized Aquitaine which was the last mainland of the Plantagenets, but in 1356 during the battle of Poitiers, the Plantagenets recovered much of their territory. The succession of conflicts spanned three centuries.
III-Norman establishment in England and evolution of the Kingdom of the Plantagenets
William Duke of Normandy legally inherited the throne of England by the will of his king Edward the confessor but had to fight Harold Godwinson to assert his rights and he was crowned King of England in 1066 under the name of William I. William I largely francized England by reforming its administration and bringing in an aristocracy, clergy and legal experts from Normandy. He also created French-language schools aimed more particularly at the aristocracy and the elite. The French language was the official language of the country at least until 1361.
In 1361 the English language was officially accepted for administration and justice, but it was not until 1395 that Henry IV of the Lancasters dynasty linked to the Plantagenets used it in official documents. In fact, English was not widely distributed until the arrival of printing in 1471.
French was mainly used by the aristocracy and the elite as was the case in the Capetian Kingdom where, as in England, various dialects predominated.
The Plantagenets became a Royal dynasty of England as a result of the marriage with the Empress Matilda of the dynasty of Normandy (1102-1167), granddaughter of William I and daughter of Henry I, with Geoffrey V of Anjou (113-1151) in 1128. Their son Henry II (1133- 1189) became King of England of the Plantagenets dynasty. He was King of England, Earl of Anjou and Maine, Duke of Normandy, and controlled most of Wales and the eastern half of Ireland. He married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152 after the annulment of her marriage to Louis VII and became Queen of England after having been Queen of France.
Thus the Kingdom of Henry II was expanded by Aquitaine and formed the Plantagenets Empire.
On his 34 year reign Henry II spent 21 years in France and his son Richard I the Lionheart (1157-1199), King of England, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, Count of Maine and Count of Anjou spent all his life in France except to devote himself to the Third Crusade (1189-1192). He made only brief visits to England. His main visit was to regain power from his brother John Lackland who had usurped it when he was on a crusade. Richard I grew up in Aquitaine and was nicknamed the “Poitevin”; he spoke the languages of Oc and Oïl but not English. De facto France had two kings on the territory.
From 1204 to 1205, Philip II Augustus conquered Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine and Poitou and there remained only to John Lackland (1166-1216), who had succeeded Richard I in 1199, the duchy of Aquitaine.
In 1356, Edward III (1312-1377) won the battle of Poitiers, had captured the King of France John II the Good and enlarged Aquitaine over which he reigned, with Poitou, Limousin, Perigord, Quercy, Rouergue and Bigorre and obtained Calais and Ponthieu. These territories were however less large than those conquered by Philip II Augustus.
III-England dynasties from William I to Henry VI
William I the Conqueror was linked to the Capetians by his marriage to Matilda of Flanders and Geoffrey V of Anjou by his marriage to the Empress Matilda, Edward II by his marriage to Isabella of France and Henry V by his marriage to Catherine of Valois.
The two dynasties are therefore linked to the Capetians from the Frankish nobility of the Robertians.
The Plantagenets are a royal dynasty from the counts of Anjou and Maine. Its members became Kings of Jerusalem from 1131 to 1205, Kings of England from 1154 to 1485. They were also Dukes of Normandy and Aquitaine, Counts of Poitou and Nantes, Lords of Ireland, Kings of Germania, Lords of Cyprus. The dynasties of Lancasters and Yorks are two of the branches of the Plantagenets dynasty.
Edward III of England, son of Isabella of France was the last male heir to the direct Capetians and should have become King of France in 1328. Henry VI became King of France in 1422 but his reign in France was brief and contested. Two Kings of England were to reign over the Kingdoms of France and England but this could not have been done completely for a bad pretext (Salic law) or by rebellion of the Dauphin Charles.
William I (Guillaume) (1027-1087) (William the Conqueror) - Duke of Normandy King of England: 1066
William II (1060-1100) - son of William I and Mathilde of Flanders
Henry I (1068-1135) - son of William I and Mathilde of Flanders
Stephen (Etienne) -1092-1154 - grandson of William I - House of Blois
The Empress Matilda (Mathilde1'Emperesse) - 1102-1167 - Lady of the English (Queen not crowned) - daughter of Henry I and Matilda of Scotland - married with Geoffrey V of Anjou -Plantagenet
Henry II (1133-1187) - son of Geoffrey V of Anjou and the Empress Matilda
Henry the Younger (1155-1183) - son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Richard I The Lionheart - (1157-1199) - son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
John Lackland (Jean sans Terre) - (1166-1216) - son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Henry III (1207-1272) - son of John Lackland and Isabella of Angouleme
Edward I (1239 - 1307) - son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence
Edward II (1284 - 1327) - son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile
Edward III (1312-1377) - son of Edward II and Isabella of France
Richard II (1367-1400) - son Edward III and Joan Plantagenet
3-Lancastrian Dynasty: Plantagenets’ branch
Henry IV (1367-1413) succeeds Richard II, son of Edward III and Blanche of Lancaster. (Henry IV descendant of Plantagenet is the first King of the Lancasters Dynasty).
Henry V (1386-1422) - son of Henry IV and Mary of Bohun
Henry VI (1421-1471) - son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois.
III - The conflict between the two dynasties initiated by Philip II Augustus and the gradual birth of a cleavage between two peoples
A-CONSTRUCTION OF A CLEAVAGE BETWEEN TWO PEOPLES:
1-Attempt of a national anchoring in the Kingdom of Charles V: Charles V the wise (1338-1380), successor of John II observed during the “Jacqueries” that there was no adhesion between the peoples and their sovereigns thus illustrating the absence of the concept of nation in this time. Charles V granted advantages to the populations over which he reigned to create a bond of fidelity between the people and their sovereign which would be an embryo of national feeling in France.
2- Use of the French until the 15th century in England
The multiplicity of dialects in England made French a common reference language acceptable especially for administration and justice. The English language was not yet sufficiently standardized to rule a country where a multitude of dialects were spoken. The official language in England was French for at least three centuries. Edward II accepted in 1361 that the English replaced the French as the official reference. It was not until 1471 with the printing press that English became widespread. This choice of English in front of the difficulties encountered on the mainland was also an embryo of national feeling.
The same problem arises today in the European Union where twenty-four languages are used and English constitutes in practice the language of communication.
3-The multiplicity of languages in France in the middle Ages
At that time the languages were divided between the languages of Oïl and of Oc (Oïl and Oc characterizing the affirmation) that is to say between the Occitan languages and the Gallo-Roman languages. There were many dialects in each of the two language groups. In the area of Oc: the old Occitan, Aranese, Auvergnat, Bearnais, Gascon, Gavot, Limousin, Languedoc Occitan, Provençal, Nissart, Vivarois and in the area of Oïl: Orleanais, Burgundian-Morvandiau, Champenois, Roman Lorrain, Picard, Walloon, Norman, Gallo-Angevin, Tourangeau, Sarthois, Mayennais, Percheron, Franc-comtois, poitevin, saintongeais, berrichon, bourbonnais with Celtic and Germanic influences. Only writing allowed communication between dialects. In Paris in the Middle Ages the language was influenced by a set of dialects and was said to be a porous language, which became a reference in the 14th century. Under the terms of the Villers-Cotterets ordinance of 1539, French became the language of the royal administration, the Chancellery and the Parliament and thus supplanted Latin.
4- Universities of the Plantagenets Kingdom
Louis VII expelled foreigners from the University of Paris in 1167 that went to Oxford and this was the real start of the development of the University of Oxford founded in 1096 and in which the language of teaching was first French. Cambridge University was founded in 1204 by students and teachers from Oxford University. The University of Caen was founded in 1432 by John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and regent of the Kingdom of France. The University of Paris considered this to be a direct competition against it in addition to that of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Since the beginning of the 13th century, four areas of tension have favored the emergence of these numerous conflicts:
1-The seizure of the continental territories of the Plantagenets by Philip II Augustus
2-The "great medieval depression": economic stagnation and an increase in the seigniorial tax burden, amplified by the effects of population growth.
3- The clashes between Plantagenets and Valois for the control of Aquitaine.
4- The two dynastic conflicts for the crown of France on the death of Charles IV in 1328 and Charles VI in 1422.
Charles IV (1294-1328), direct Capetian, died in 1328 without an immediate heir and thus Edward III of England (1312-1377) was to become King of France and England as the last male representative of the direct Capetian branch because he was the son of Isabella of France and therefore the grandson of Philip the Fair. Philip of Valois, cousin of Charles IV was nevertheless chosen as successor by the Council of Peers and became Philip VI (1293-1350).
In 1337 Philip VI (France) seized Aquitaine and triggered a strong reaction from Edward III who claimed the crown of France which had escaped him in 1328. In 1339 he attacked Philip VI in Flanders and during the battle of the “Ecluse” in 1340 and the French fleet was lost.
In 1346 Edward III inflicted a stinging defeat to Philip VI at Crecy where the archers had a much greater effectiveness than that of the French knighthood in the point of questioning its existence. Edward III continued towards Calais, which he seized: delivery of the keys to the city on August 4, 1347.
Philip VI died in 1350 and his son John II the Good (1319-1364), once again had to face the troops of Edward III led by his son Edward of Woodstock nicknamed the Black Prince. In 1356 John II suffered a greater defeat in Poitiers than that of Crecy and was taken prisoner there. John II signed the treaty of Bretigny on May 8, 1360 and Edward III obtained Guyenne and Gascony, Calais, Ponthieu and the county of Guines, Poitou, Perigord, Limousin, Angoumois and Saintonge, all the lands of the county of Armagnac including Agenais, Quercy, Rouergue, Bigorre and County of Gaure.
The territory of John II (King of France) was reduced by a quarter but the Plantagenets did not recover as many territories as those that Philip II Augustus had taken from them; they do not recover the duchies of Normandy and Touraine, the counties of Maine and Anjou and the suzerainty over Brittany.
Charles V (1338-1380) son of John II organized alliances and it was in 1369 that he felt able to face Edward III again. The cession of Aquitaine having not yet been completed Charles V confiscated it from Edward III thus contravening the terms of the Treaty of Bretigny. The questioning of the Treaty of Bretigny, which provided for the renunciation of Edward III to the throne of France, allowed the latter to declare himself King of France on June 3, 1369.
Charles V (France) allied with the King of Castile who destroyed the English fleet in 1372 at La Rochelle and organized battles in the form of skirmishes carried out by small companies commanded by leaders like du Guesclin Constable of France.
These skirmishes replaced the favorite great battles preferred by the Plantagenets and gradually Charles V took over the mainland territories of Edward III. Charles V said cynically: "Better a plundered land than a lost land". Until 1375 the lands of Edward III were thus taken back except Calais, Cherbourg, Brest, Bordeaux and Bayonne. The Duke of Brittany, allied with Edward III, resisted du Guesclin and retained his power. During these years the population was victim of the looting of mercenaries a time paid by princes then left free and designated under the name of "big companies".
Brittany: As Brittany's position may appear fluctuating with regard to the Plantagenets, it is useful to clarify its situation. In 1066 the Breton barons took part in the conquest of England with the Normans. Conan I of Brittany had married Mathilde Fitzroy, illegitimate daughter of Henry I of England, son of William I. During a succession crisis the daughter of the duke of Brittany Conan IV, Constance married in 1181 the son of Henry II, Geoffrey Plantagenet and consequently Henry II effectively ruled Brittany. The son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Arthur I of Brittany might claim the crown of England on the death of Richard I in 1199 in the place of John Lackland but the latter assassinated him. In 1206 Philip II Augustus invaded Brittany. From 1341 to 1364 took place the war of succession of Brittany. John of Montfort son of Arthur II of Brittany recognized Edward III as King of France and was consequently captured by Philip VI.
This prompted a reaction from Edward III and eventually the troops of Charles V, son of John II the Good and grandson of Philip VI, were defeated in 1364 at Auray. Thus was signed the Treaty of Guerande in 1381 as a result of which John IV of Brittany allied with the Kingdom of England.
From 1402 to 1420 John V of Brittany led a policy of neutrality but his successor Francis I of Brittany while defending the independence of Brittany gave his support to Charles VII.
In 1380 Charles VI (1368-1422) succeeded his father Charles V when he was only 12 years old and regency was assured of his uncles who were vying for power.
In 1415 Henry V of England (1386-1422) brilliantly won the Battle of Agincourt and imposed the Treaty of Troyes on May 21, 1420 which enabled him and his heirs to be King of England and France. Under the terms of the treaty Henry V married Catherine of Valois on June 2, 1420 and their son became heir to the thrones of England and France. In 1420 the continental territory was therefore divided between the Lancasters: branch of the Plantagenets, Valois: branch of Capetians and Burgundians: other branch of Capetians then of Valois from 1364.
Charles VI and Henry V died in the same year of 1422. Henry V had obtained Normandy, Maine and an entire Region from Maine to a limit formed by the cities of Amiens, Compiegne and Orleans and kept Calais and Aquitaine (Guyenne). The Kingdom of France went from this limit to the south of France according to the map below:
Henry V & VI: Purple and pink - Burgundians: Green – Charles VI & Dauphin Charles: Blue
The Burgundians (Valois) at war with another branch of Valois of Dauphin Charles, were supporters of the Plantagenets as retaliation against these Valois because of the assassination of the Duke of Burgundy John the Fearless by the accomplices of Dauphin Charles (1403-1461) son of Charles VI and future Charles VII. Twelve years earlier John the Fearless had murdered Charles VI's brother Louis of Orleans. The assassination of John the Fearless gave rise to a war between two branches of the Valois: Burgundians and Armagnacs.
The dauphin Charles (son of Charles VI) refused on the death of his father in 1422 to comply with the Treaty of Troyes which made Henry VI King of France and England. He proclaimed himself King of France and consecrated himself in Bourges Cathedral on October 30, 1422 as Charles VII despite his impeachment by both parents.
This was the second time that the legitimate succession to the throne of France by the Plantagenets was contested. In 1429 the Dauphin Charles set out to conquer the mainland of the Plantagenets as Philip II Augustus had done. It was at this moment that the legend of Joan of Arc intervened, which really entered French history from the 19th century onwards to constitute a mystical and nationalist epic.
In order to give more weight to his first coronation in Bourges, the Dauphin Charles organized a second coronation in Reims on July 17, 1429, a traditional city of royal coronations since that of Louis the Pious in 816 and since the baptism of Clovis in 499. The Dauphin Charles thus showed his will to contravene the Treaty of Troyes since the generating event of a succession is only the death of the predecessor in order to avoid the vacancy of power. On the death of his father Henry V King of England and of his grandfather Charles VI King of France both in 1422, Henry VI (1421 –1471) inherited at the age of one year of the thrones of England and France and of the Duchy of Aquitaine. He was also the nephew of Dauphin Charles who challenged him for the throne of France. Henry VI being very young, John of Bedford ensured the regency and in his absence Humphrey of Gloucester both brothers of Henry V. The Duke of Bedford devoted himself mainly to the battles in the mainland.
Henry VI was crowned King of France at Notre Dame of Paris on December 16, 1431 at the age of ten. He put an end to the regency in 1437 when England suffered from internal and economic problems. Henry VI turned out to be pious and pacifist which are unsuitable qualities to fight Charles VII. To preserve the peace he married Marguerite of Anjou in 1445, the niece of Charles VII, but in England the nobility opposed him.
This opposition within the aristocracy culminated in 1455 in the War of the Roses between the Lancasters and the Yorks: two branches of the Plantagenets dynasty. Henry VI would have suffered a moral shock in 1453 upon learning of the loss of Bordeaux and was deposed in 1461.
C-End of the conflicts for the throne of France between the two dynasties:
Charles VII concluded with the Burgundians the Treaty of Arras in 1435, which put an end to the civil war between Armagnacs and Burgundians, allies of the Plantagenet since 1419 when John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy was assassinated by the Dauphin Charles. As a result John the Good, Duke of Burgundy, obtained the independence for Burgundy and the cities of the Somme, the county of Macon, the viscounty of Bar-sur-Seine and the county of Auxerre. Charles VII had to express officially regret for the assassination of John the Fearless. The Duke of Burgundy recognized being the vassal of Charles VII but did not have to pay him homage. The Burgundians rallied then around Charles VII.
This reversal of alliance changed the strategic situation and allowed Charles VII to gradually take back the mainland territories of the Plantagenets. The adviser to Henry VI, William of the Pole, was reproached for having ceded Maine and Anjou without having informed the parliament. On April 15, 1450 took place the battle of Formigny near de Bayeux during which two small pieces of artillery "the couleuvrines" which had a greater range than the arrows of the archers of Henry VI, wreaked havoc. The arrival of the cavalry of the Duke of Brittany the Constable of Richemond and ally of Charles VII allowed Charles VII to take Normandy.
Charles VII then concentrated efforts on Aquitaine and began the battle of Castillon on July 17, 1453 with a large number of couleuvrines. Again, as at Formigny, the Breton cavalry delivered the coup de grace. Henry VI thus lost Aquitaine and Bordeaux. Only Calais remained to England until 1558. The strengths of Charles VII were therefore: the rallying to his cause of the Burgundians and the Bretons and the appearance of small artillery in the Battles, the range of which was greater to that of the archers and not the support of Joan of Arc, a mystical child.
IV - the legend of Joan of Arc
1-Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc was born around 1415 in Domremy in Lorraine near territories under Burgundian domination. His date of birth is uncertain as no trace of her birth was found in the records of her parish. So she was a child of around 14 when she met Dauphin Charles. The exam made before her trial in 1431 reported that she was a young virgin girl, narrow, and not having "the mysterious disease of women", that is to say menstruations. We can therefore assume that she was a child of less than fifteen years old at the beginning of 1431. She was the daughter of peasants and illiterate like most people at that time. The children were then referred to by the term of “virgin” (Puceau for males and Pucelle for females) and therefore her nickname “the virgin” alludes only to her young age, Joan the virgin meant Joan the child. It would seem that her religious learning was limited to the mystical and liturgical aspects according to the restrictions of Catholicism which brought about the Reform from 1517.
She thought she heard the voices of St. Margaret, St. Catherine and St. Michael ordering her to support the fight of Dauphin Charles. The restricted teaching of the Catholic Church could not allow her to know that Christian saints would not lead her to encourage violent and fratricidal struggle among Christians. She visited the Dauphin in Chinon on February 25, 1429, a place very far from her home. The Dauphin would have authorized her on April 27, 1429 to accompany a supply convoy destined for the city of Orleans after a siege by the troops of the Duke of Suffolk and Lord Talbot. Upon arrival she was dressed in armor to deliver supplies to the city. Several victories were won near Orleans by the troops of the Dauphin Charles, including the Battle of Patay (1429) in which she would not have participated. She would have attended the coronation of Dauphin Charles on July 17, 1429 in Reims then went on her own initiative to Compiegne where she was captured by the Burgundians on May 23, 1430. She was delivered to the bishop of Beauvais allied to the cause of the Duke of Bedford then transported to Rouen to be judged there from February 21 to May 23, 1431. She was first reproached for having worn men's clothing and for having left her home without parents’ permission. But the most serious fact that the Tribunal of the Church reproached her was blasphemy and heresy regarding the fact that she claimed to have heard the voices of holy Christians guiding her. She was judged by one hundred and twenty people including twenty-two canons, sixty doctors, ten Norman abbots, ten delegates from the University of Paris under the leadership of the Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon. The University of Paris declared her guilty of schism, apostate, liar, diviner, suspect of heresy, wanderer in the faith, blasphemer of God and of the Saints. The court martyred her by pronouncing against this child a horrible condemnation at the stake and she died unjustly on May 30, 1431.
This judgment and this execution were typical in the inquisition initiated by the Church since the 13th century to fight the diffusion dogmas different from those of Catholicism. Death by fire was a common sentence handed down by the Inquisition courts that killed several thousands of innocent people. Joan of Arc was thus one of the many victims of the crimes of the Catholic Church.
Charles VII paid no attention to the fate she suffered, probably thinking he owed her nothing. It was only in 1450, nearly twenty years after her martyrdom, that Charles VII indicated that he wanted to know the truth about the trial of Joan of Arc, probably under popular pressure. Pope Nicholas V made no comment on Joan of Arc's condemnation. Popular emotion over Joan of Arc's fate must have had an influence on Pope Nicholas V's successor, i.e. Calixte III, who ordered a review of the trial which declared her innocent.
2-The myth of Joan of Arc
Uncertain documents after Charles VII mentioned an ennobling of the Arc family which was canceled in 1614 by Louis XIII. Joan of Arc's role lasted only for a period of fifteen months and she was undoubtedly best known for her trial and condemnation. The fact that Voltaire considered her as stupid and burlesque in his play "The Virgin of Orleans" of 1752 and Shakespeare as a witch in his play "Henry VI" of 1590 are positions taken against mystics and were not compassionate with regard to her cruel fate. They should have instead strongly criticized Charles VII, the Catholic Church, its inquisitive Courts and violent condemnations as well as the Pope elected at this time.
Otherwise Voltaire violently criticized the Catholic Church, the inquisition and the stakes (in particular in Candide). In 1841 the anticlerical French historian Jules Michelet mentioned Joan of Arc in his book on the History of France and then devoted a book to her in 1852. Jules Michelet used the character of Joan of Arc as a representative of the people compensating for the shortcomings of the monarchy and the faults of the Church. Emphasis was placed on the struggle between French and English in order that Joan of Arc became a symbol of a conquering nationalism. The legend became so popular that the Pope canonized her in 1920 perhaps as an act of redemption from the Church towards her.
William of Normandy became King of England in 1066 as William I, according to the wishes of the previous King Edward the Confessor and this linked England and Normandy. In 1128 William granddaughter the Empress Matilda who was the Lady of English married Geoffrey V Plantagenet count of Anjou and Maine. In 1154 Henry II-Plantagenet married Eleanor duchess of Aquitaine and previously Queen of France. In 1181 Geoffrey Plantagenet the son of Henry II, married Constance of Brittany the daughter of Conan IV duke of Brittany. Thus on the basis of legal alliances the Plantagenets built an Empire in the 12th century including England, the Lordship of Ireland, the Duchy of Normandy, the Duchy of Aquitaine, enlarged by the County of Poitiers, the Duchy of Gascony, the County of Perigord, the County of Marche, the County of Auvergne, the Viscounty of Limoges, the County of Anjou enlarged by County of Maine and the County of Tours, the Welsh principalities , the Kingdom of Scotland, the County of Toulouse and a strong influence on the Duchy of Brittany.
The Empire of Plantagenet represented thus much more France (in the modern sense) than the Capetians Kingdom, with its official French language and the links of its sovereigns with the Capetians, by the French origin of his sovereigns, while it was not until 1539 that the Kingdom of France adopted French as the official language.
Philip II Augustus coveted the mainland part of the Plantagenets’ Empire and seized it with violence without bothering with legalism. Philip II Augustus thus triggered a series of conflicts because the Plantagenets wanted to take back their lands. The Plantagenets by their links with the Capetians were to legally inherit the throne of France but this was refused twice to them under a bad pretext or by the rebellion.
The epic of Joan the Virgin or Joan the Child was to bring a touch of the divine to the ambition of Charles VII who was, however, like the Pope indifferent to the fate of Joan of Arc judged in the name of the Catholic Church.
The concept of nation was not yet born in the middle Ages but the battles, the increase in taxes to finance them and the looting ended up creating a cleavage between the peoples. The Union of the Two Crowns could not be achieved due to power struggles initiated by the Capetians. The Capetians won, but the French language is now defeated. The Plantagenets’ Empire and the Union of the Two Crowns could have foreshadowed the beginning of a French-speaking European Union, when today English is imposed on everyone as a universal language.
A nationalist caricature of this part of history is still taught in the French schools and should be reviewed. It was not until the 19th century and the 20th century that France renewed peaceful ties with England during the “Entente Cordiale”, then during the two world wars, and with the entry of the United Kingdom in 1973 into the EEC. From 2016 to 2020, the English populism embodied by Nigel Farage caused the UK's exit from the EU.
The withdrawal is a retrograde tendency which attracts many countries not daring to meet the global challenges and ultimately engenders economic and intellectual regression.
The development of international transport, especially air transport has made possible to bring the peoples of the planet closer together and to materialize economic solidarity between rich and poor countries. The ecological obsession against this progress is anachronistic and can fuel both nationalism and survivalism. The imperative preservation of the planet must be taken into account at the source and in particular with regard to world demography without infringing on progress, but this requires intelligence and creativity opposed to the primary instinct of withdrawal.