157 Joan of Arc

In 1428, the English were still sweeping all before them. Then came a figure so famous, that she was selected by Bill and Ted for their history project – and what greater recognition can there be than that? 

157 Joan of Arc


Joan of Arc

One reason that we know so much about Joan is that her trial was recorded in fine detail, and therefore we have an extraordinary insight. You can read it to. There's a translation to be found at the St Joan Centre, where you can read every word for yourself. 

Joan of Arc and Oriflamme


13 thoughts on “157 Joan of Arc

  1. Hi David!

    I really enjoy your lighthearted narration through the centuries, and hope to be caught up fairly soon. On this podcast, though, I had to pause and ask a question. Joan of Arc greatly interests me – is there any material you’d recommend (besides the primary sources of her letters and trial) to learn more about her?

    Thanks again for producing a wonderful podcast!

    1. Hi Gentry…and I’m so sorry, it seems so long ago, all I can really remember is finding the transcript of her trial and getting very excited. But Helen Castor wrote a book on Joan in 2015, which was well receieved, and very positively reviewed by pone of my favourite historians, Diarmaid MacCulloch, so I think that would be a good bet.

  2. Okay, I am behind the class and just finished this episode in 2018. I went into the episode thinking of Joan as just a crazy girl who hears voices and sees things, something modern medicine could treat. Now I am not so sure, her responses at her trial (brought vividly and in some cases almost chillingly to life by your daughter) are logical and in some cases quite clever, not something you would expect from someone who was mad. For me this episode raised far more questions than it answered and has left me confused and uncertain. Are we sure the accounts we have of Joan and the trial are genuine?

    1. We can never be entirely sure. But by and large, historians believe they are. What is it that worries you ? I should point out that mystical experiences were reasonably common, taken seriously, and accepted as genuine in the Middle Ages. A ‘rational’ explanation is tricky, but it’s quite possible Joan fully believed and experienced the visions she related

  3. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it worries me, but the level of lucidity on exhibit by Joan was unexpected to me.

    1. Yes, and for someone with a very uneducated background too. Her ability to take on the inquisitors was remarkable.

      1. And I guess that is why I wondered if perhaps some of the records were enhanced after her death to make her look better. At any rate when a podcast challenges my thinking on a topic, even one that I know little about like French history, it is a testament to that podcast. For that I thank you sir.

        1. The joy is in doing the podcast that I’ve learned such a vast amount myself. So, you are most welcome!

  4. “The Passion of Joan of Arc”, a 1928 film by Carl Dreyer, is an absolutely riveting account of her trial, using the transcripts, and supposedly has the single greatest film performance ever, by the actress Renee Falconetti.

    1. Thanks Susan; actually this is a great recommendation for a film for Wolf and I to cover in History in Technicolor.

  5. I am loving you brilliant story telling so much David, that I’m re-listening to the whole series. Sadly, to the detriment of keeping up with current episodes. But 2nd time round I’m getting way more ‘structural’ understanding of English history.

    I recall you mentioning in an earlier podcast that an English queen provided women’s clothes for Joan – but I can’t figure out if the queen in question was Henry V1’s wife or mother (or step grandmother).

    Anyhow, I am absolutely absorbed.
    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Caroline…and I am glad you are enjoying it! Thank you – I do love a compliment! I hope you enjoyed the Joan of Arc episode – Izzy enjoyed being Joan! It is all so long ago though…I really can’t remember, and don’t see it in the script – sorry!

Leave a Reply