Saint Joan of Arc’s military genius was of divine inspiration

March 8, 2012

St. Joan of Arc with her banner

“At the age of eighteen Joan possessed the same military genius as Condé when he was twenty,” writes one of her biographers.

Those who were her nearest friends have expressed themselves in a similar way.

The Duke of Alençon says that Joan was very experienced in all things military, whether it was a matter of handling a lance, assembling the army, or of the use of the new weapon of the times—the artillery. Dunois says the same more than once….

St. Jeanne d'Arc at the Siege of Orléans by Jules Eugène Lenepveu

It has been shown that in any case she never held a command. When she acted it was always on impulse or by divine guidance, and at such times she placed herself above all human calculations, estimates and agreements….

All this is so astounding, so irrational, that it is only because we possess definite documentary evidence that we can believe it at all. True, Dunois always chivalrously recognizes her genius and especially her own importance, but when at the age of fifty-one he was questioned about her contribution to Orleans, where he himself held the supreme command, these were his words:’

“Asked if he thought it probable that Joan was sent by God to intervene in military matters rather than she was impelled by human motives, he replied that he thought she was sent by God and that her military contribution depended on divine rather than on human inspiration.”

It could not have been put better.

Coronation of Charles VII with St. Joan of Arc by his side. Painting by E. Lenepveu.

Sven Stolpe, The Maid of Orleans, Eric Lewenhaupt, trans. (New York: Pantheon Books, Inc. 1956), pp. 131-132.


Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 158



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