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Contrary to popular belief, Joan of Arc wasn’t burned at the stake for witchcraft—at least not technically



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5. Contrary to popular belief, Joan of Arc wasn’t burned at the stake for witchcraft—at least not technically.
After falling into enemy hands in 1430, Joan of Arc was tried in the English stronghold of Rouen by an ecclesiastical court. The 70 charges against her ranged from sorcery to horse theft, but by May 1431 they had been whittled down to just 12, most related to her wearing of men’s clothing and claims that God had directly contacted her. Offered life imprisonment in exchange for an admission of guilt, Joan signed a document confessing her alleged sins and promising to change her ways. (It has been speculated that the illiterate Joan never knew what she’d put her name—or, more accurately, her mark of a cross—to.) Several days later, possibly due to threats of violence or rape from her guards, Joan put her male attire back on; she then told the angry judges who visited her cell that her voices had reappeared. It was these two acts that earned Joan a conviction as a “relapsed heretic” and sent her to the stake.



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