Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Joan at Paris

Joan Of Arc may have failed in her attempt to liberate Paris but few military commanders in history have acquitted themselves so admirable in a defeat. On September 8, 1429, Joan led an assault upon the St. Honore gate at Paris in an attempt to breach the strong walls surrounding the city which ultimately ended in failure when Joan was wounded in the thigh around dusk after a long day of fighting. Not willing to admit defeat herself Joan continued to encourage her men to attack and had to be forcible carried from the battle field. While historians have long debated about the factors that led to the French defeat at Paris one thing that has never been questioned is Joan’s valor. As historian Andrew Lang eloquently writes in his own commentary about Joan at Paris:
“But, through the mist, one figure stands out clear in the sunlight, discerned alike by friend and foe; a girl of seventeen in white armour, who lets herself down into the deep dry fosse, who climbs out on to the dos d'dne under the city wall, and, like Bruce at Perth, fathoms the water of the great fosse with her lance, under a rain of projectiles, till she is smitten through the thigh. Undaunted, unweakened, she cries on the men. History shows no other such picture.”

The following scene from the 1999 movie Joan of Arc is a touching, if not exactly historically accurate, portrayal of Joan’s failure at Paris.

To learn more about Joan at Paris visit these resources at

Eyewitness accounts of Joan of Arc at Paris
Andrew Lang's chapter about Joan at Paris

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