The Saint, King and Conqueror
A primer on three prominent historical figures
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc, or "Joan la Pucelle" (Joan the Maid) was born in Domremy, France in 1412 AD. She could be described as a courageous, noble and devout indivdual, as well as an inspiration to the French people.
Joan started having "visions of God" when she was about fourteen, seeing that it was her destiny to save France from England, and save it she did. She started by going to the would-be king and explain her intentions to get a force of men to lead into battle. She correctly "foresaw" many things, including how battles would play out. This helped keep up the morale of her solders when they were outnumbered at least ten to one by the British. This was the Battle of Orleans that, despite hopeless odds, Joan's men won. With the rise of the new king, thanks to Joan and her victory at Orleans, there were many other victories to take back France. Joan's luck was about to wear off, though, as, after several failed sieges, the British finally captured and tried Joan under a plethora of false charges, including witchcraft, heresy and wearing men's clothing. For the longest time, Joan's lips were sealed, but the church finally tricked Joan into a confession with the false promise that they would send her to a church prison. Instead, they burned her at the stake. She was only nineteen at the time--a short life even by Medieval standards. The king who owed her his position didn't do anything until after she was ashes. They didn't try to point out the injustice of the whole situation until it was too late. However, her name DID become a rallying cry for the French. Quote: "One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without beleif, that is a fate more terrible than dying." --Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc proved that no matter what gender or age you are, you can do whatever you want if you try hard enough. She also played a huge role in the French efforts to retake their country.
John of England was born in Oxford, England in 1167 AD. He was a ruthless, stingy man who would do whatever it took to get his way--including cold blooded murder.
John proved just how far he would go for his ambitions when he had his nephew, Aurthur, murdered simply due to his bigger claim to the throne than John. His biggest mistake was when he married Isabella of Angouleme--the woman betrothed to Hugh of Lusignan. Thsi union cause all out warfare on England by the Lusignans. He did not have the men or morale to fight them, as was proved by his utter defeat at the Battle of Bourvines. The war was running him dry for money, and in desperation, he started taxing nobles. Needless to say, the nobles weren't very happy about that, which brought the Magna Carta into existence. This stated that the king cannot steal property owned by nobles, cannot demean noble power, and must follow all of the same laws that his citizens must follow. Quote: "Hell itself is fould by the...presence of John." --unknown, about John
The Magna Carta revolutionized the British Monarchy. If John had NOT married a betrothed woman, then the Magna Carta would not have eventually come into being, leaving nessecary restrictions off of the monarch.
William the Conqueror
William I (otherwise known as William the Conqueror or William the Bastard) was born in Falaise, France in 1027 AD. He was an intelligent and shrewd man, capable of coming up with near fool-proof plans and solidifying his power over his people.
William had been bron out of wedlock--the union of a king and a peasant, as it were. That did not stop him from exerting his influence. The British king was attacked by Norway, who was hoping to take Hastings. England won the following battle, but as they were regrouping, William swooped in and utterly destroyed them. This battle was later named (rather unoriginally) the Battle of Hastings. In an effort to solidify his power on the throne, William ordered an intense study of England's land and properties which later became known as the Doomsday Book. He and his wife had ten children--four sons and six daughters. Quote: "Life yields only to the conqueror. Never accept what can be gained by giving in. You will be living off of stolen goods, and your muscles will atrophy." --William I
William's influence on the English language during his regime counts for at least half of it's diversity today. His brilliant mind made an equally brilliant tactician.