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At a time of political unrest a teenage woman successfully challenged the status quo in medieval France. Who was this young woman? What can we say about her almost 600 years after her death?
Joan of Arc was a peasant young woman, who claimed God talked to her, convinced a king that she should oversee his military campaign against his rival relative. Then went on, as young as she was, to influence her allies and outsmart her foes, seasoned soldiers on both sides. Illiterate as she was, she stood her ground against clergymen, among the most literate men of her time) both when very few believed in her and later during the English lead trial condemned her to death. In the end, no one remembers her allies or her foes, but everyone remembers her.
It is irrelevant if God talked to her or not, she believed she was called or meant for greater things. Neither her gender nor her age were obstacles, she was determined to succeed. Literacy did not intimidate her, whatever she did not knew, she learned.
It is easy to forget that this young woman was only a teenager. Interestingly enough it seems that she was not that different from teenagers today. She wanted to live her life on her terms; she challenged those around her and defended her ideas with passion and conviction. She was a woman ahead of her time.
Heroes are defined by their circumstances. Had she lived in other times, had she experienced other things she might not be the icon she is today. Women in male dominant societies are assigned a place and they are expected to comply. She did not.
She was as a warrior and yet she never killed anyone. Make no mistake, she did go to battle and lead by example. Her weapon was a banner not a sword, with it she signaled her others, lead her men. She inspired her soldiers by facing the same dangers they did.
Devout catholic she refused to harm others and imposed a higher moral standard to all (even the aristocrats). Prostitutes were not allowed among the troops, mass attendance was mandatory, foul language was not tolerated around her.
She is a character of an epic tale, a mythological figure, legend stuff.
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