In what ways do the experiences and Trial of Jean of Arc reflect trends in popular piety and conflict between states in the later Middle Ages?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Joan of Arc's claims that she had received visions from God resonated with a population that was already predisposed to see the work of God in everyday life. There had been a number of popular religious movements in continental Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries, some of which had been brutally repressed by the Church and by the newly emerging monarchical states. At other times, they had actually been embraced by the Church as true expressions of faith. Joan was thus able to claim spiritual authority in a way that was believeable to French people.

Joan, who also achieved an important military victory at Orleans, fit into this tradition neatly. Charles VII used her popularity, and her military successes, to gain legitimacy for his crowning at Reims. When the military successes came to an end, however, Joan's usefulness did as well. She ultimately became a victim of the dynastic squabbling that characterized the Hundred Years War, as she was captured by the English-allied Burgundians and burned at the stake for heresy by the bishop of Beauvais with the full support of the English and the tacit approval of Charles.

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