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Joan of Arc, Abandoned

Last year after a fabulous campaign against the English, Joan of Arc reluctantly lays her sword upon the alter at Saint-Denis Abbey. King Charles the 7th of France has negotiated a truce but the English use the time to regroup and resupply. Joan is a restless soul and her amazing success grates on the nobles at court. Her visions are pushing her to relaunch the campaign so she sets out as soon as the truce lapses. Her visions say that she will be captured before midsummer and as she is leading a sortie to defend the city of Compiègne [compee-EN-guh], her small force is caught outside when the city commander drops the gate in a panic. She is taken prisoner by the forces of Burgundy and sold to the English for what amounts to a few hundred thousand dollars. What happens next is utterly disgraceful. She will go on trial next year for heresy, and if trains and buses existed in 1430, one could say that Joan of Arc will be thrown under the bus by the French nobility and railroaded by the English. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
When reading an account of Joan of Arc keep in mind that people who are writing things down do not share the same motivations as those of modern readers. It is clear that Joan of Arc was interviewed upon capture but no one thought it was important enough to write down what was said. (They are not fools so one wonders why the omission.) At her trial for heresy many things will be written down, but the prosecution is playing games with the evidence. It makes the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1921 seem like justice and mercy at its best. Joan of Arc is going to burn and despite what anyone might say, she's going to take it like a man... better... actually.

FYI: If you can't remember who Sacco and Vanzetti were, just remember the slogan the crowds shouted as these two Italian anarchists were put to death for a murder they did not commit... "We will not forget!"... Yeah... Right. [5] [6] [7]

Say Hello to My Little Friend: Mad Marjorie

100 years ago cannons were more probably more dangerous to the man who lit the fuse than the troops standing in front of the cannon. Cast iron allows smaller cannons to be used as field artillery, but the main use of cannons are still as siege weapons. Tremendous caliber weapons fling stone boulders at fortifications with the idea of knocking the walls down. These huge cannons have names. "Mad Marjorie" has a bore of a little over 2 feet and fires a stone ball weighing 750 pounds (340 kg). The cannon itself is made of wrought iron bars welded in place with large metal rings and weighing more than 16 tons. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It took about 4 days for one of these superguns to lay waste to a fortification like a castle wall. However, it's obvious advantage in battle was outweighed, literally, by its size. As useful as they could be once they were assembled, such cannons ended up being too expensive to move and maintain to be worth the trouble. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1430, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 204. (BOOK) Quote: "Joan of Arc captured by Burgundians at Compi$egrav;gne"
  2. Thurston, Herbert. St. Joan of Arc. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 15 Sept. 2014.
  3. Williamson, Allen. Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) Archive. 2014 [last update] Quote: "In February 1429 she convinced Lord Robert de Baudricourt to provide an escort of soldiers to bring her to the Royal Court at Chinon. After an eleven-day journey through enemy-held territory, she was allowed to present her case to the Dauphin Charles."
  4. Compiègne - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Huizinga, Johan. The Waning of the Middle Ages. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1985. ISBN 0312855400. (BOOK) Quote: "What are we to say, lastly, of the curious levity of the authors of the close of the Middle Ages, which often impresses us as an absolute lack of mental power? It sometimes seems as if they were content to present to their readers a series of vague pictures, and felt no need whatever of really hard thinking. Superficial description of outward circumstances this is all we get from writers like Froissart and Monstrelet."
  6. Watson, Bruce. Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind. Viking Adult. August 16, 2007. ISBN 9780670063536. (BOOK)
  7. Sacco and Vanzetti - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 205. (BOOK) Quote: "Mad Marjorie, the great cast-iron gun, introduced."
  9. Supergun: Gunpowder Age - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Dulle Griet - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Cast Iron: History - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Scarface (1983 film) "Say Hello..." - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Hindley, Geoffrey. Medieval Siege and Siegecraft. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. 2009. pp. 73-74. (BOOK) Quote: "Four days were enough to bludgeon the outer walls into rubble. The enemy swarmed into what the week before had been peaceful suburban communities; the gunners wheeled their ordnance up to pulverize the next line of defense."

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