Книга Famous Men of The Middle Ages. Содержание - Joan of Arc Lived from 1412-1431

The fortifications were so strong that Henry could not storm them, so he determined to take the place by starving the garrison. He said, "War has three handmaidens — fire, blood, and famine. I have chosen the meekest of the three."

He had trenches dug round the town and placed soldiers in them to prevent citizens from going out of the city for supplies, and to prevent the country people from taking provisions in.

A great number of the country people had left their homes when they heard that the English army was marching towards Rouen , and had taken refuge within the city walls. After the siege had gone on for six months there was so little food left in the place that the commander of the garrison ordered these poor people to go back to their homes.

Twelve thousand were put outside the gates, but Henry would not allow them to pass through his lines; so they starved to death between the walls of the French and the trenches of the English.

As winter came on the suffering of the citizens was terrible. At last they determined to set fire to the city, open their gates, and make a last desperate attack on the English.

Henry wished to preserve the city and offered such generous terms of surrender that the people accepted them. Not only Rouen but the whole of Normandy , which the French had held for two hundred years, was now forced to submit to Henry.

The war continued for about two years more, and the English gained possession of such a large part of France that at Christmas Henry entered Paris itself in triumph.

But, strange to say, the king against whom he had been fighting and over whom he was triumphing sat by his side as he rode through the streets. What did this mean? It meant that the French were so terrified by the many victories of Henry that all — king and people — were willing to give him whatever he asked. A treaty was made that as the king was feeble Henry should be regent of the kingdom and that when the king died Henry should succeed him as king of France .

In the treaty the French king also agreed to give to Henry his daughter, the Princess Katherine, in marriage. She became the mother of the English King, Henry VI.

The arrangement that an English sovereign should be king of France was never put into effect; for in less than two years after the treaty was signed the reign of the great conqueror came to an end. Henry died.

In the reign of his son all his work in gaining French territory was undone. By the time that Henry VI was twenty years old England , as you will read in the story of Joan of Arc, had nothing left of all that had been won by so many years of war except the single town of Calais .

Joan of Arc Lived from 1412-1431


In the long wars between the French and English not even the Black Prince or King Henry V gained such fame as did a young French peasant girl, Joan of Arc.

She was born in the little village of Domremy (dom-re-me'). Her father had often told her of the sad condition of France — how the country was largely in the possession of England , and how the French king did not dare to be crowned.

And so the thought came to be ever in her mind, "How I pity my country!" She brooded over the matter so much that by and by she began to have visions of angels and heard strange voices, which said to her, "Joan, you can deliver the land from the English. go to the relief of King Charles."

At last these strange visions and voices made the young girl believe that she had a mission from God, and she determined to try to save France .

When she told her father and mother of her purpose, they tried to persuade her that the visions of angels and the voices telling her of the divine mission were but dreams. "I tell thee, Joan, " said her father, "it is thy fancy. Thou hadst better have a kind husband to take care of thee, and do some work to employ thy mind."

"Father, I must do what God has willed, for this is no work of my choosing, " she replied. "Mother, I would far rather sit and spin by your side than take part in war. My mission is no dream. I know that I have been chosen by the Lord to fulfill His purpose and nothing can prevent me from going where He purposes to send me."

The village priest, her young companions, even the governor of the town, all tried to stop her, but it was in vain.

To the governor she said, "I must do the work my Lord has laid out for me."

Little by little people began to believe in her mission. At last all stopped trying to discourage her and some who were wealthy helped her to make the journey to the town of Chinon (she-non'), where the French king, Charles the Seventh, was living.


When Joan arrived at Chinon, a force of French soldiers was preparing to go to the south of France to relieve the city of Orleans which the English were besieging.

King Charles received Joan kindly and listened to what she had to say with deep attention. The girl spoke modestly, but with a calm belief that she was right.

"Gracious King, " she said, "my name is Joan. God has sent me to deliver France from her enemies. You shall shortly be crowned in the cathedral of Rheims (remz). I am to lead the soldiers you are about to send for the relief of Orleans . So God has directed and under my guidance victory will be theirs."

The king and his nobles talked the matter over and finally it was decided to allow Joan to lead an army of about five thousand men against the English at Orleans .

When she left Chinon at the head of her soldiers, in April, 1429, she was in her eighteenth year. Mounted on a fine war-horse and clad in white armor from head to foot, she rode along past the cheering multitude, "seeming rather, " it has been said, "of heaven than earth." In one hand she carried an ancient sword that she had found near the tomb of a saint, and in the other a white banner embroidered with lilies.

The rough soldiers who were near her left off their oaths and coarse manners, and carefully guarded her. She inspired the whole army with courage and faith as she talked about her visions.

When she arrived at the besieged city of Orleans she fearlessly rode round its walls, while the English soldiers looked on in astonishment. She was able to enter Orleans , despite the efforts of the besiegers to prevent her.

She aroused the city by her cheerful, confident words and then led her soldiers forth to give battle to the English. Their success was amazing. One after another the English forts were taken.

When only the strongest remained and Joan was leading the attacking force, she received a slight wound and was carried out of the battle to be attended by a surgeon. Her soldiers began to retreat. "Wait, " she commanded, "eat and drink and rest; for as soon as I recover I will touch the walls with my banner and you shall enter the fort." In a few minutes she mounted her horse again and riding rapidly up to the fort, touched it with her banner. Her soldier almost instantly carried it. The very next day the enemy's troops were forced to withdraw from before the city and the siege was at end.

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