Joan of Arc Trial Transcript - Fatal Answer

Joan of Arc Trial Transcript - Fatal Answer Medieval Times Trials

This image depicts a page from the trial of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc).  Written in the margin, in Latin, are these words:

Fatal Answer

What is the background of this "fatal answer?"  

During her second trial, for being a "relapsed heretic," Joan was asked whether she'd heard voices from the saints after she had previously recanted.  Joan's answer condemned her.  

Not only did she say "Yes," she had  heard the voices (of St. Catherine and St. Margaret), she also said:

...that if she declared God had not sent her she would damn herself, for in truth she was sent from God. She said that her voices had since told her that she had done a great evil in declaring that what she had done was wrong.

She said that what she had declared and recanted ... was done only for fear of the fire [Joan was afraid of being burned alive](Quoted from "Political Trials in History: From Antiquity to the Present," edited by Ron Christenson, at page 230.)

When she gave this answer, her trial judge (Pierre Cauchon, the pro-English-leaning Bishop of Beauvais) knew that he would condemn Joan to burn at the stake.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 12, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 13, 2016

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy National Archives of France.



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