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Joan of Arc's Banners

Before leaving for Orléans, Joan of Arc got two banners made for her by a painter in Tours, Hauves Poulnoir. The smaller one was burned accidentally upon arrival in Orléans. The larger one disappeared upon Joan's capture in Compiègne by the Bourguignons, and was never seen by Pierre Cauchon who asked Joan to describe it during the trial.

During her sentencing, Joan was interrogated on several occasions about her banners, her responses to which were recorded both in French minutes and Latin text:

27th february 1430 (taken from French minutes) «When interrogated upon whether she wielded a banner upon arrival at Orléans, and what clour I was, she replies that she had a flag strewn with "fleurs de Lys" upon which the wold was depicted with two angels on either side and that I was white, made from white canvas, upon which was inscribed her motto, or at least it seems, " Jhesus Maria ", and its' fringues were made of silk.

.17th march, in the afternoon:

Joan cleverly stresses the fact that the "Lord" depicted is holding the wold, wich is a privilege usually associated with God. She also stresses upon the portrayals of the Arrchangels, Saint Gabriel represented by a "fleur de lys" and Saint Michael represented by a sword. In this way, Joan therefore tries to convince her judges that her banner portrays a "neutral" representation of God.

In effect, these conventional iconic representations clearly enable us to identify within this description the Christ of the Last Judgement, flanked by the Angels of Justice and Mercy. The pennant carried upon it an annunciation.... The motto was almost certainly "Jhesus Maria" as was inscribed on the banner. The "phylactère" presented to the Virgin by the dove of Peace would have carried the phrase "de par le roi du ciel".....

The banner disappeared somewhere in the region of Compiègne, and we do not know what happened to it thereafter. It is possible that it was trampled on at the capture of Jean d'Aulon, who would usually hold the banner at Joan's side. Alternatively, if the banner was taken intact, it would have most probably been hung from the arches of a favoured church of the Count of Luxemburg as a trophy. However, we are only able to cast assumptions, as it was never seen again.

-Olivier Bouzy,"Jeanne d'Arc Mythes et Réalités", Atelier de l'Archer-

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