Monday, September 24, 2007

How Joan escaped the stake

...Dan Brown syndrome alert, history revisionists at work: New book angers historians with claims maid was not an illiterate peasant but a royal (from The Guardian):
She was a peasant teenager inspired by voices from God to lead the French against the English, and burned as a witch before being recognised as a hero and saint. For centuries, France's cult of Joan of Arc has been seized on by politicians looking for patriotic martyr figures, including Nicolas Sarkozy during his presidential campaign.

Now a new book has sparked anger among historians by claiming the Maid of Orléans was not an illiterate peasant but a royal. She did not hear voices and was not burned at the stake, but escaped with the help of English soldiers and went on to live a happily married life.

In L'Affaire Jeanne d'Arc, or the Joan of Arc Affair, French investigative journalist Marcel Gay and former secret service agent Roger Senzig claim that France's most famous virgin peasant was the illegitimate daughter of the French queen consort, Isabeau of Bavaria, who groomed her for use as a political puppet. They claim Joan was manipulated in a cover-up they call Operation Virgin.

Joan was not inspired by voices from heaven to lead troops to miraculously lift the siege of Orléans and save France from English domination. Gay says she was trained for warfare, taught languages and well-educated for her mission. After her trial for heresy in 1431, she escaped, and an unknown woman was burned in her place. She later married a French knight, Robert des Armoises.
This is highly amusing.

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