La Légende dorée - Volume II - (French Edition)

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Obter livro impresso. Comprar livros no Google Play Procure a maior eBookstore do mundo e comece a ler hoje na web, no tablet, no telefone ou eReader. Sherry L. In the thirteenth century a young Dominican friar, Jacobus de Voragine, compiled the book that came to be known as the Legenda aurea , a collection of medieval lore about the saints and holidays of the church. Through the centuries this noted book has had a conspicuously uneven reputation: enormous popularity in the late Middle Ages, a precipitous decline during the Renaissance, and a gradual rehabilitation in the modern era.

Reames's study of the Legenda aurea offers the first comprehensive account of the book's history and of the qualities that differentiate it from earlier and less controversial works about the saints. The fresh perspective introduced by this study will provide new insights and challenge old myths for historians, literary critics, theologians, and students concerned with medieval culture and hagiography. A master of requests stated that she amazed the army by the length of time she could remain in the saddle.

Such qualities we are not entitled to deny her, neither can we dispute the diligence and the ardour which Dunois praised in her, on the occasion of a demonstration by night before Troyes. It was understood that Jeanne's military inspiration came from God. Henceforth there was no danger of its being too much admired and it came to be praised somewhat at random.

For ever praying and for ever wrapped in ecstasy, Jeanne never observed the enemy; she did not know the roads; she paid no heed to the number of troops engaged; she did not take into account either the height of walls or the breadth of trenches. Even to-day officers are to be heard discussing the Maid's military tactics. She believed that for their sins they would be destroyed, [Pg xlv] but that if they fought in a state of grace they would win the victory.

Therein lay all her military science, save that she never feared danger. And is it not admirable and rare to find such heroism united to such innocence? Certain of the leaders indeed, and notably the princes of the blood royal, knew no more than she. The art of war in those days resolved itself into the art of riding. Any idea of marching along converging lines, of concentrated movements, of a campaign methodically planned, of a prolonged effort with a view to some great result was unknown.

Military tactics were nothing more than a collection of peasants' stratagems and a few rules of chivalry. The freebooters, captains, and soldiers of fortune were all acquainted with the tricks of the trade, but they recognised neither friend nor foe; and their one desire was pillage.

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The nobles affected great concern for honour and praise; in reality they thought of nothing but gain. Alain Chartier said of them: "They cry 'to arms,' but they fight for money. Seeing that war was to last as long as life, it was waged with deliberation. Men-at-arms, horse-soldiers and foot, archers, cross-bowmen, Armagnacs as well as English and Burgundians, fought with no great ardour. Of course they were brave: but they were cautious too and were not ashamed to confess it.

Jean Chartier, precentor of Saint-Denys, chronicler of the Kings of France, relating how on a day [Pg xlvi] the French met the English near Lagny, adds: "And there the battle was hard and fierce, for the French were barely more than the English. Their minds had not fed on Plutarch as had those of the Revolution and the Empire. Why did these captains, these men-at-arms go and fight in one place rather than in another seems to be a natural question Because they wanted goods. This perpetual warfare was not sanguinary. The English suffered much more heavily, because they were the fugitives, and in a rout it was the custom for the conquerors to kill all those who were not worth holding to ransom.

But battles were rare, and so consequently were defeats, and the number of the combatants was small. There were but a handful of English in France.


And they may be said to have fought only for plunder. Those who suffered from the war were those who did not fight, burghers, priests, and peasants. The peasants endured terrible hardships, and it is quite conceivable that a peasant girl should have displayed a firmness in war, a persistence and an ardour unknown throughout the whole of chivalry. It was not Jeanne who drove the English from France. The misfortunes of the English after are easily explained. While in peaceful Guyenne they engaged in agriculture, in commerce, in navigation, and set the finances in good order, the country which they had rendered prosperous was strongly attached to them.

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On the banks of the Seine and the Loire it was very different; there they had never taken root; in numbers they were always too few, and they had never obtained any hold on the country. They left it waste and abandoned it to the soldiers of fortune by whom it was ravaged and exhausted.

La Légende dorée. II

Their garrisons, absurdly small, were prisoners in the country they had conquered. The English had long teeth, but a pike cannot swallow an ox. Then, after Verneuil, during the troubled reign of a child, weakened by civil discord, lacking men and money, and bound to keep in subjection the countries of Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, were they likely to succeed better? In , they were but a handful in France, and to maintain themselves there they depended on the help of the Duke of Burgundy, who henceforth deserted them and wished them every possible harm.

They lacked means alike for the capture of new provinces and the pacification of those they had already conquered. The very character of the sovereignty their princes claimed, the nature of the rights they asserted, which were founded on institutions common to the two countries, rendered the [Pg xlviii] organisation of their conquest difficult without the consent and even, one may say, without the loyal concurrence and friendship of the conquered.

The Treaty of Troyes did not subject France to England, it united one country to the other. Such a union occasioned much anxiety in London. The Commons did not conceal their fear that Old England might become a mere isolated province of the new kingdom. It was too late. And possibly there already existed an English character and a French character which were irreconcilable. Even in Paris, where the Armagnacs were as much feared as the Saracens, the Godons [] met with very unwilling support. What surprises us is not that the English should have been driven from France, but that it should have happened so slowly.

Does this amount to saying that the young saint had no part whatever in the work of deliverance? By no means. Hers was the nobler, the better part; the part of sacrifice; she set the example of the highest courage and displayed heroism in a form unexpected and charming. The King's cause, which was indeed the national cause, she served in two ways: by giving confidence to the men-at-arms of her party, who believed her to be a bringer of good fortune, and by striking fear into the English, who imagined her to be the devil.

Our best historians cannot forgive the ministers and captains of for not having blindly obeyed the Maid. But that was not at all the advice given at the time by the Archbishop of Embrun to King Charles; he, on the contrary, recommended him not to abandon the means inspired by human reason. It has frequently been repeated that the lords and captains were jealous of her, especially old Gaucourt. They were envious one of another; this and no other sentiment was the jealousy that made them tolerate the Maid's assuming the title of commander in war.

Those secret intrigues on the part of the King and his captains, who are said to have plotted together the destruction of the saint, I admit having found it impossible to discover. To certain historians they appear very obvious: for my part, do what I may, I cannot discern them. I be [Pg l] lieve that when she went to join the Chancellor, who employed her until her capture by the Burgundians, she quitted the castle in estate, with trumpeters, and banners flying.

After the girl saint he employed a boy saint, a shepherd who had stigmata; which proves that he did not regret having made use of a devout person to fight against the King's enemies and to recover his own archbishopric.

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The excellent Quicherat and the magnanimous Henri Martin are very hard on the Government of According to them it was a treacherous Government. Yet the only reproach they bring against Charles VII and his councillors is that they did not understand the Maid as they themselves understood her. But such an understanding has required the lapse of four hundred years.

To arrive at the illuminated ideas of a Quicherat and a Henri Martin concerning Jeanne d'Arc, three centuries of absolute monarchy, the Reformation, the Revolution, the wars of the Republic and of the Empire, and the sentimental Neo-Catholicism of '48, have all been necessary. This, however, remains: after having made so much use of her, the Royal Council did nothing to save her. Must the disgrace of such neglect fall upon the whole Council and upon the Council alone? Who ought really to have interfered? And how? What ought King Charles to have done? Should he have offered to ransom the Maid?

She would not have been surrendered to him at any price.

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  • As for capturing her by force, that is a mere child's dream. Had they entered Rouen, the French would not have found her there; Warwick would always have had time to put her in a place of safety, or to drown her in the river.

    Manual La Légende dorée Volume I (French Edition)

    Neither money nor arms would have availed to recapture her. But this was no reason for standing with folded arms. Influence could have been brought to bear on those who were conducting the trial. Doubtless they were all on the side of the Godons ; that old Cabochien of a Pierre Cauchon was very much committed to them; he detested the French; the clerks, who owed allegiance to Henry VI, were naturally inclined to please the Great Council of England which disposed of patronage; the doctors and masters of the University of France greatly hated and feared the Armagnacs.

    And yet the judges of the trial were not all infamous prevaricators; the chapter of Rouen lacked neither courage nor independence. They for the most part believed this trial to be a purely religious one. By dint of seeking for witches, they had come to find them everywhere. These females, as they called them, they were sending to the stake every [Pg lii] day, and receiving nothing but thanks for it. They believed as firmly as Jeanne in the possibility of the apparitions which she said had been vouchsafed to her, only they were persuaded either that she lied or that she saw devils.

    The Bishop, the Vice-Inquisitor and the assessors, to the number of forty and upwards, were unanimous in declaring her heretical and devilish. There were doubtless many who imagined that by passing sentence against her they were maintaining Catholic orthodoxy and unity of obedience against the abettors of schism and heresy; they wished to judge wisely.

    And even the boldest and the most unscrupulous, the Bishop and the Promoter, would not have dared too openly to infringe the rules of ecclesiastical justice in order to please the English.

    La légende dorée

    They were priests, and they preserved priestly pride and respect for formality. Here was their weak point; in this respect for formality they might have been struck. Had the other side instituted vigorous legal proceedings, theirs might possibly have been thwarted, arrested, and the fatal sentence prevented.

    But they were afraid of the University of Paris.

    They feared lest Jeanne might be after all what so many learned doctors maintained her to be, a heretic, a miscreant seduced by the prince of darkness. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and it is difficult to distinguish the true prophets from the false. It would be very interesting to trace the reputation of the Maid down the ages.