Joan of Arc



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Jehanne: Portraits of a Saint


Her Battle Standard

Joan of Arc's banner

"I asked my Lord's messengers what I should do. And they answered me, saying, Take up the banner of your Lord. And thereupon I had a banner made." In Her Own Words, p. 26

In 1429, Joan commissioned a painter and Scotsman named Hauves Poulnoir, aka Hamish Power, to design a large standard and a smaller pennon. Additionally, Joan had a third flag made with a scene of the crucifixion. Father Jean Pasquerel designed the third banner for the clergy in the town of Blois.



Joan's battle standard was made from a material called Buckram, similar to an artist's canvas with a silken fringe. It measured 3 feet high by 12 feet long.

"The field of it was sown with lilies, and therein was our Lord holding the world, with two angels, one on either hand. It was white, and on it there were written the names Jhesus Maria, and it was fringed with silk." In Her Own Words, p. 26

The purpose of the standard was to indicate a clear location to which her army could rally when dispersed in the confusion of battle. On several occasions when her troops were losing ground, Saint Joan of Arc is reported to have ridden into the midst of battle, using her standard to mark her position on the field, and rally her men on to victory.

'Jeanne d’Arc au sacre du roi Charles VII, dans la cathedrale de Reims' by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1854)During her Trial of Condemnation on Saturday, March 10, 1431, she was asked what God holding the world with two angels signified. She answered that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret told her to take the banner, and bear it boldly, and to have painted thereon the King of Heaven.

"I loved my banner forty times better than my sword. And when I went against my enemy, I carried my banner myself, lest I kill any. I have never killed a man." In Her Own Words, p. 26

Joan had her battle standard present at the coronation of King Charles at Reims Cathedral. When questioned at her trial about its presence at such an event she said "It had borne the burden, it had earned the honor."

The smaller triangular pennon was decorated with an Annunciation scene. In this depiction, however, Archangel Gabriel is presenting the Virgin Mary with a double lily rather than the child Jesus. The lily was a common symbol of the Kingdom of France and was included in Joan's coat of arms. The pennon, carried by one of her squires, was used to mark her position on the battlefield.

Joan of Arc was exceptionally pious, requiring her soldiers to take the Sacraments of Confession and Communion regularly. Her smaller banner was adorned with the words "Jesus Crucified" and was used by priests and the men of her army to gather around for daily prayer and devotion.


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