JEANNE D'ARC, MAID OF ORLEANS: DELIVERER OF FRANCE
Being the Story of her Life, her Achievements, and her Death, as Attested on Oath and Set Forth in the Original Documents
By the order of Pope Calixtus in 1455, the Trial of Jeanne d’Arc at Rouen, which had taken place twenty-four years before, was reconsidered by a great court of lawyers and churchmen, and the condemnation of Jeanne was solemnly annulled and declared wicked and unjust. By this re-trial posterity has been allowed to see the whole life of the village maiden of Domremy, as she was known first to her kinsfolk and her neighbors, and afterwards to warriors, nobles and churchmen who followed her extraordinary career. The evidence so given is unique in its minute and faith worthy narration of a great and noble life; as indeed that life is itself unique in all human history. After all that can be done by the rationalizing process, the mystery remains of an untutored and unlettered girl of eighteen years old, not only imposing her will upon captains and courtiers, but showing a skill and judgment worthy, as General Dragomiroff says, “of the greatest commanders.” While we must give due weight and consideration to the age in which this marvel showed itself on the stage of history, an age of portents and prophecies, of miracle worker and saints, yet, when all allowance is made, there remains this sane, strong, solid girl leaving her humble home, and accomplishing more, in two short months, than any great leader of men; and at an age when not one of them had achieved any success of importance.
The story is best given by the witnesses, and only indications or, so to speak, sign-posts are needed to point out the way. Before the work of Jeanne can be even vaguely apprehended something must be known of how France stood at her coming. A century of misfortune and sorrow, broken only by a parenthesis of comparative prosperity from 1380 to 1407, had left her an easy prey to the hereditary enemy. Torn asunder by factions which distracted Church and State alike, she was in no condition of health and courage to recover from the shock of the crushing disaster at Agincourt. For although the English were unable at the moment to follow up the victory they had gained and Henry V returned to England, the bearer of barren glory, still the breathing time was not put to good account by the French, whose domestic wars made combined national action impossible. At Henry’s second coming, regular resistance was hardly offered. His fleets and armies held the Channel and the ports and fortresses on both sides. The King of France was insane. His wife, Isabel of Bavaria, came to terms with the English King, and by the treaty of Troyes (1420) the Crown of France was to pass away from the Dauphin, whom his wretched mother would willing bastardize, to the issue of Henry and the Princess Catherine, the ready instrument of her mother’s purpose. When Henry V died, the son born of this unhallowed marriage was declared King of France and England under the title of Henry VI. The poor child was less than a year old. His able and resolute uncle John, Duke of Bedford, ruled France as Regent, and carried the arms of England in triumph against all who dared to dispute his nephew’s title. The Dauphin fled to the south, and abandoned to Bedford all territory north of the Loire. Paris was occupied and held by the English. The braver members of the Parliament and the University joined the Dauphin at Poitiers, but the accommodating and timid members did homage to Bedford and duly attend to Henry VI as to their lawful King. Orleans alone remained, of the strong places of France, in the hands of the patriot party. If Orleans fell, all organized opposition to Bedford would melt away.
As Orleans was the key of the military, so was Reims the key of the political situation. Reims was the old city where for many centuries the Kings of France had been crowned and consecrated. Such a ceremony brought with it in an especial manner the sacrosanct divinity which in the middle ages hedged a King.
It is noteworthy that Jeanne’s mission, as now defined and traced by French scholars, was the double one of rescuing beleaguered Orleans and crowning the Dauphin at Reims.
Orleans had withstood a stubborn siege of many months, but its fate seemed sealed. The Dauphin had almost given up the struggle. He had made futile appeals for help to the King of Scotland, whose infant daughter was betrothed to young Louis, afterwards the terrible Louis XI. To Naples also he made appeals, but no succor or hope came, and in despair he shut himself up at Chinon, giving up the cause of France as lost unless aid came from on high. Jeanne came as the messenger of glad tidings, and announced herself as one sent by God to aid France in her extreme need.
She came from Lorraine, out of which no good thing could come, as proverbs taught; for Lorraine had ever been branded as false to God and false to man. Ambiguous in its relations to France and to the Empire, it had, like most borderlands, the unstableness of character which comes of social and political insecurity. Jeanne’s native town of Domremy was one of a cluster of hamlets on the verge of France, in the smiling valley through which a winding river made its way. Her father and mother were in a very humble station, having a little patch of land with rights of communal use of the village pastures, and were, from the evidence of their neighbors, frugal, hard-working, and “well thought of.”
Jeanne herself was in no way marked out from her girl friends by any special accomplishments or ambition. She prided herself solely on her domestic usefulness and her skill in household work. She was intensely pious, but in no way introspective or morbid. God and His angels and saints were as real to her, more real indeed, than the men and women of her native village. The thoughts of sacred things subdued her soul to an unconsciousness of self, which marks her off even from such beautiful spiritual natures as Teresa and Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Sienna, whose habit of mind was less simple and less humble than hers. She seems to have grieved long and deeply on the misfortunes of France, which was to her the only country claiming her allegiance. For, although geographically in Lorraine, Domremy was part of the French Kingdom, and its people were devotedly on the side of the Dauphin and the national party. The Duke of Burgundy, who had sided with the English, had only one adherent in Domremy, and he was treated, after the manner of good-natured peasants, with a certain humorous toleration by the patriots of the village.
Growing up in this atmosphere, Jeanne, who was born on the feast of the Epiphany 1412, heard in her earlier girlhood of the sad state of her country torn asunder by faction and treason, and presenting a very broken front to the redoubtable armies of England, which had in the course of a century carried the banner of St. George over all the lands from Calais to Cadiz without once meeting an enemy strong enough to look them in the face on a pitched field of battle.
Agincourt, and the carnage after Agincourt, revived in French minds the humiliation of Poitiers and the horrors of Limoges, so that dread and hatred of the English were the burden of every household story. Nor must we forget that in Europe then, as in Asia and Africa now, news spread apace, and unlettered folk got to know in some strange way the doings of camps and courts.
Old prophecies too were on every lip. That weird unrest which Shakespeare shadows forth in Peter of Pomfret and his sayings, shaking the throne of Richard II by their very vagueness, was nowhere felt more intensely than in Lorraine, with its blending of old Celtic myths, German romances, and tales of Provincial minstrelsy in all hearts and memories.
Sublime above all these loomed the Church and its tremendous message. And so, from current history and fable and folk-lore, Jeanne’s imagination was fed, while her soul was ready to receive any mandate which the Lord of all things might deign to signify. She was thirteen years old when the first message came to her. The Archangel Michael, as she states, appeared, and she was struck with great fear; but afterwards she longed for his coming and his words. He admonished her to be pure and holy and religious, and she determined to be so. Later on St. Catherine (the Virgin) and St. Margaret appeared to her, and told her that the Lord ordered her to go into France and relieve Orleans. In her examination she tells these things with great particularity, meeting all questions as to age, size, voice, dress, language, and surroundings of the angels, with a simple directness which carries conviction of her absolute truthfulness.
Her doubts and misgivings as to her own unfitness she put aside as impertinence’s, when assured of her divine mission. No shadow of spiritual inflation or egotism is to be seen in all these things. Rather she held by the belief that her very unworthiness in the world’s eye was the cause of her being chosen as a simple instrument in the hands of the Lord.
Her uncle led her to Vaucouleurs in 1428; Robert de Baudricourt, whom she believed she was told to see, declined to give ear to her stories; but Jean de Metz, whose evidence is of absorbing interest, tells us how he was overcome and won over to her by her compelling earnestness and faith. She came to Chinon with a small escort, and she and her guard had to travel mostly by night to avoid the Burgundians. “At Chinon,” says Jean de Metz, “she had to submit to long inquiries.”
The Dauphin was naturally loath to take a step so full of peril, and indeed so fraught with the danger of ridiculous failure, without grave, anxious, and searching investigation. He wished Jeanne to appear at Poitiers before the prelates and lawyers of Parliament. At Poitiers she was subjected to the closest examination, and in the end convinced the lawyers and churchmen of her good faith and the reality of her visions and voices. The Archbishop of Reims, following “Gamaliel in the Council of the Jews,” advised the Dauphin not to spurn the proffered help; and Charles, who had been already impressed by the “revelations,” took the Archbishop’s advice, and placed his forces and his fortune in her hands, trusting to divine help and succor.
The armies of France were in marked contrast to those of England. French nobles had quasi-regal power in their dominions, and only fitfully followed the royal arms. In England, from the Conquest, the King was supreme lord of all, and every one owed direct and immediate allegiance to him. The English armies, unlike the French feudal array, were made up of peasants and artisans and adventurous young men seeking a career, and, in the last resort, as we know from Falstaff, of losers and waifs and ne’er-do-wells. Whether Lord Melville’s famous saying that “the worst men make the best soldiers” be or be not accepted, it seems true enough that for aggressive wars at any rate the reckless bravery of adventurers goes very far. And Henry’s army, composed as it was of English, Welsh, and Irish, was in truth an army of intrepid mercenaries, intrepid to a fault, but lacking the chivalrous feelings which with all their drawbacks the feudal system and the knightly organizations tended to evolve.
Hardened and seasoned by years of warfare, the English in 1429 were without serious opposition or check in their movements and attacks. No French army kept the field. The King’s authority was flouted. The Duke of Burgundy was openly for the English cause. The Duke of Brittany and Lorraine wavered from side to side. Money had run out, and the last chance of success was staked in a bold throw on the strange promises of the young country girl.
The evidence given by competent witnesses shows us clearly the magnitude of her achievements during the months of May, June, and July, 1429: the relief of Orleans; the victory of Patay; the capture of Troyes; and the triumphal march to Reims, completing her work by the consecration of Charles in the old Cathedral, which had seen so many of his predecessors anointed and crowned within its walls.
But the marvel is that these stupendous achievements were not the results of mere enthusiasm, great and potent though that was, but of settled, farseeing skill and prudence on the part of Jeanne, joined to a strength of soul and purpose which multiplied the strength of the army tenfold.
Like Cromwell she “new-modeled” the army. The licentious gaiety of the feudal warrior had to give way to the sobriety and seemliness which became a Christian camp. The voluptuary and the blasphemer had to amend their lives. To revels succeeded prayers and fasts and vigils. Yet never for a moment did this great amendment degenerate into formalism or hypocrisy. Like all great souls she awakened latent good and drove vice abashed from her presence without any conscious spiritual superiority in herself. Men were ashamed to be base in such a presence. Nor did she ever become a law unto herself, as the “illuminated” are so apt to be; rather she was more than ever observant of all the duties and claims and observances of ordinary religious obligation, being ever in heart the simple maid whom the Lord for His own mysterious purpose, and without any merit of hers, had chosen for a mighty task.
These great qualities won for her the ready submission of the soldiers, while her name and fame brought levies of ardent volunteers, from all sides, eagerly contending for the glory of serving under such a leader. Her frame was hardy and enduring. She wore armor night and day for a week at a time. She ate sparingly and drank hardly at all, moistening a crust in wine, or, greatly fatigued, tasting a little as a restorative. While her woman’s nature showed itself in her burst of tears when dishonoring names were flung at her by some brutal English soldiers, or when she screamed at the sharp and sudden pain of the wound she received, still there always came a quick moral reinforcement which restored her serene fortitude in the midst of indignities and perils.
Writers have differed and must go on differing with regard to the scope of her mission and the waning of her powers after the coronation of Reims. If she dictated the letter to Henry VI in which the words occur, “body for body you will be driven out of France,” we may, by connecting this saying with her famous letter to the Hussites – in which she threatened to chastise them, “Saracens” that they were, when her work was done and France cleared of her enemies – and from other scattered phrases as well, come to the conclusion that in her belief France was to be wholly freed, and freed by her as agent of the Lord. But the letter to Henry VI is of doubtful authority, and her appeal to Charles after the coronation to be allowed to return to her father and mother, supported by contemporary authority, seems to show that she looked upon her work as done, and the great outburst of weeping in the Cathedral was in all likelihood the sob of satisfied piety and patriotism, whose cares were at an end and whose task was fulfilled even to fruition.
This seems the true view, with which also the latest French students agree. Yielding to entreaty she threw herself further into the national struggle. She was still brave, still magnetic and inspiring, but no longer to herself or to others the sword in the hand of God.
But if in the campaign of May and June she showed the wonderful military genius to which so many competent witnesses bear testimony, in the weary winter of the same year she shows a clearness and depth of statesmanship scarcely less astonishing. In moments of national peril there are always “wise” men who think that further resistance is foolish and even criminal. Alfred had to deal with such time-servers. So had Bruce, and so later on had Washington. Jeanne with a sore heart found herself clogged and impeded by these prudent men. Foremost amongst them was the Archbishop of Reims, Regnault de Chartres. His program was one of reconciliation. The Duke of Burgundy was to become the ally of France, and as such was to act as negotiator and intermediary for a lasting peace between Henry VI and Charles VII. Poor Charles was weary of the war, and lent a ready ear to the accommodator. In vain Jeanne warned him of the folly of these plans. To strike, and strike quickly, at Paris was her advice. Halting and hesitating, Charles consented.
An army was placed at her disposal, but, just as victory seemed sure, she was ordered to desist, and Burgundy so duped the French King that he was allowed to pass through the French lines into Paris, ostensibly to treat for peace, but in reality, as the event proved, to put himself under Bedford’s orders, and to hold Paris as lieutenant for the Regent and ally of the King of England. Had Jeanne’s advice been followed this shameful treason could never have come about. She had known and felt that the hatred of the Duke of Burgundy and his house against Charles VII was too deep and too rooted to be pulled up in a moment. For twenty years France had been distracted by the factions of Burgundy and Orleans struggling for control. Fire and water were not more opposed. Burgundy looked to England, and Orleans to France. We must not too hastily condemn these factions. Nations in the modern sense had not fully arisen. The State was everything. Whether a great Anglo-French monarchy sitting in Paris ruled over France, England, Ireland, and Wales, or a more domestic French line only ruled over France itself, was a question on which upright men might well take opposite sides.
Jeanne’s special merit was that she saw the possibility of a great French nation, self-centered, self-sufficient, and she so stamped this message on the French heart that its characters have never faded. Ecclesiastics, on the other hand, with their conception of a Universal Empire and a Universal Church, thought little of National aspirations or claims. To them, anything which would allay the bitter rivalries of France and England naturally appealed, seeing, as they did, in such a change the promise of a return to the days before the Babylonian captivity at Avignon, and the bringing of all peoples into ready submission to Peter’s chair. Jeanne’s greatness is nowhere more manifest than in her willing loyalty to the Church and “our lord the Pope,” while claiming for France absolute national independence. Herein she stands alone. Dante’s two swords (wielded by Pope and Emperor) were lethal to national life. To the spiritual sword Jeanne bowed; but to no Emperor or King other than the anointed King of France could the loyalty of a French heart be due.
The winter of 1429 was spent in controversies of which the opposing principles of imperialism and nationality are the true keys. In the early spring, Jeanne, who had bravely stood by the national cause, and heartened all who withstood the party of compromise and surrender, saw only too clearly that for the time the French hopes of success had given way. That brave night ride to relieve Compiegne was in many respects a meeting of fate half way. No doubt, she defied augury, but signs of impending disaster multiplied; and when she fell into the hands of the Burgundians, she must have felt that while her own agony began, the cause of France might well gather more strength from her example as a sufferer, than from her futile struggle against cowardice and treason. 1
Into one short year her whole astounding public career is crowded; Orleans, Patay, Troyes, Reims, Paris, Compiegne; glory, exaltation, wreckage, and captivity. But France was at the end of it a conscious nation with an anointed King, and the work of deliverance was assured.
The Trial and Rehabilitation
The English had felt sorely the humiliations of the year 1429. In Bedford’s report to the King’s Council in London he told of those who were struck with fear by the incantations of this “limb of the fiend ” who had startled them from their security; and proclamations were issued against those who in terror of the Maid deserted the army. Now that she, who had worked such mischief to them, was in their hands, betrayed by her own countrymen, they wreaked vengeance upon her without stint. 2
The story of her prison life is a record of shame to her goalers. Chained, mocked at, threatened, and insulted, her serenity never failed. She was in God’s hand, and she bowed to His will.
Months of suffering and anxiety passed over her before her captors made up their minds as to the course they would take to bring about her death under the semblance of legal execution. If she could be convicted by an ecclesiastical court of crimes against the faith, her condemnation would redound to the fair fame of England and of the pious House of Lancaster, while covering the French and their sovereign with confusion as the allies and associates of a minister of hell. 3
Pliant churchmen were at hand to give countenance and help in this undertaking bishops full of zeal and loyalty for our sovereign lord Henry VI, by the grace of God King of France and England.
The worst of these servile churchmen was the wretched Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon. Many other prelates were Caesar’s friends, but he sits exalted in solitary infamy. He came to the Burgundian camp and claimed his victim in the name of Bedford, Regent of France for the English King. Had Jeanne been detained by the Burgundians, it is impossible to believe that Charles VII would not have procured her release. Had she been held as a prisoner of war by the English, it is very likely that the shame of holding a woman captive in their hands would have made it possible to arrange for her ransom. But once charged with heresy and taken out of the hands of the Burgundians such hopes and chances were closed. Still, as an ecclesiastical prisoner she would have been entitled to counsel and guidance by religious persons, the Church offering admonition before preferring grave charges of rebellion against any of her children. But this would render her punishment uncertain. Grave doctors of the law and eminent churchmen had at Poitiers, after long inquiry, declared her worthy of trust and they might do so again.
Therefore it was determined that she should be held in a lay prison though charged with an ecclesiastical offense. Cut off in this way from all spiritual help and instruction, she was to be brought, when the process was ripe, before a well-chosen court bent on her destruction, and ready to entangle her in questions which might entrap her into erroneous or heretical statements.
And once more we are confronted, if we try to rationalize her life and put away all belief in inspiration, with the amazing problem as to where and how this untutored girl drew her stores of logic, law, and theology.
The trial took place in Rouen Castle, the seat of Bedford’s government in France. The choosing of her judges was committed to Cauchon, who selected the most sturdy adherents of the English. No formal charge was preferred, but Jeanne was interrogated. This course was severely condemned by a distinguished lawyer named Lohier, who puts clearly before us the procedure and principles that should govern such a hearing. 4
There should be in the first place in all such trials a definite indictment of the charges advanced against the accused, who in turn ought to have due time to answer all the allegations with the assistance of counsel.
In Jeanne’s particular case, seeing that she had been already practically tried and acquitted at Poitiers at a trial presided over by the Archbishop of Reims, the metropolitan of the Bishop of Beauvais, it was putting her twice in peril for the same offense, and on the second occasion before an inferior court, a thing contrary to law and reason. Moreover the venue was wrong. She had been captured in one diocese as an ecclesiastical prisoner, and she was to be tried in another, and no assent of the chapter of Rouen could give jurisdiction in such a case.
The Inquisition arose out of the troubles in Spain and South France, where heresy was to some extent necessarily a kind of treason to the polity of Christian Europe. Men were punished for heretical opinions, but these heretical opinions were in most cases lapses from allegiance at a time of national peril. The later Inquisition has no such excuse.
Finally she was in a lay prison, held there by her political enemies, which made it impossible for her to have the liberty and spiritual assistance necessary to meet ecclesiastical charges. The trial ought to have been held in an ordinary court and not in the Castle.
All these objections are of great substance and go to the very root of the inquiry. But more vital than all was Jeanne’s own expostulation against trial before Cauchon, who was her declared and bitter enemy, and the mere instrument of her foes and goalers.
Gross however as the injustice was, there were certain barriers within which even Cauchon and his accomplices had to work their wicked wills. As there were fearless canonists like Lohier, who, as members of a great international Bar, were independent of any King or bishop, so the notaries, being apostolic and imperial officers, were in no way amenable to Cauchon or his crew. Every word spoken in court is duly and faithfully recorded, and this record formed the basis for the petition subsequently presented to the Pope by Jeanne’s mother and brother when seeking amendment of Cauchon’s judgment.
The trial is one of the most enthralling dramas in all history. The caution, the skill, the simplicity withal, shown by Jeanne in her answers to bewildering and entrapping questions, well earned the praise bestowed twenty years later by the accomplished lawyers who wrote on the case, sustaining the appeal for a new hearing.
The report gives all the details of the inquiry with fullness and accuracy, and when we carefully examine its course, we must agree with the canonists who said that the forms of law were indeed adhered to, but its spirit was grossly violated. The judges in Jeanne’s case fortified themselves with the decision of the University of Paris, but that decision was procured by laying before the University what purported to be the statements of Jeanne, but what were in truth selected passages from her statements torn from qualifying contexts and often with the suppression of governing words.
Still this trial was also part of the record of the Court, although attempts were made to suppress it, and at the re-hearing Cauchon and his fellow hirelings were vehemently condemned for this nefarious proceeding.
By a sentence, so obtained and so buttressed, Jeanne d’Arc was done to death. The story of the execution is one of the most heart-rending incidents in history. No comment can deepen or add to the pathos of the narrative given by the bystanders.
In 1450 King Charles VII. empowered Guillaume Bouillé, Rector of the University of Paris, to inquire into the circumstances of Jeanne’s trial, condemnation, and death, and to report the result of his investigation.
Great lawyers gave their opinions, and declared the trial void, as having been bad in substance as well as in form. But no regular judgment was pronounced.
Again in 1452 Pope Nicholas V, on appeal by Jeanne’s mother, Isabel d’Arc, ordered inquiry, which duly took place, but without formal issue.
It is fortunate for truth and human interest that these inquiries were abortive. Had they on general grounds annulled the proceedings under Cauchon, how much would have been lost to us!
We should never have had that delightful picture of Domremy given by the simple people of the place. Nor should we have, as we have now, a sworn narrative of Jeanne’s private and public life laying bare her very soul.
When Pope Calixtus ordered a full inquiry, he seemed to think, as Newman thought when writing the “Apologia,” that the less argument and the more narrative and evidence that could be given the better; and so, instead of discussing the nature of angels, the limits of Catholic obedience, the Great Schism, and the assurances of salvation of the just, he and his deputies put aside such questions with patient contempt until they first made sure of the human side of the story. How Jeanne impressed her neighbors, her priest, and her kin; what kind of girl she was ; what were her employment; was she restive and ambitious or quiet and satisfied ; was her life pure ; was she given to foolish imaginings, or was she a sane, modest, unpretending country maiden? Into all these things Cauchon had made inquiries, but as the answers were all favorable to the accused he suppressed the evidence. 5
The decree of Pope Calixtus has added a true romance to human story. In all that we know of the world’s great ones we can find no parallel for the Maid of Domremy. Perhaps only in Catholic France was such a heroine possible. Certainly Teutonic Protestantism has as yet given to the world none of the exalted types of radiant and holy women such as those that illuminate Latin Christianity. Whether as a saint or a nation maker, Jeanne’s place in world-history is assured.
- (Had there been any desire on the part of the French King to rescue Jeanne from captivity, a 'King's ransom,' which was later paid for her by Cauchon, could scarcely have been refused in those days for a prisoner of war, however renowned. Unhappily for the memory of Charles, she was left to the tender mercies of the English without any offer being made for her release, or any attempt at rescue. There existed a bitter feeling of jealousy towards Jeanne in consequence of her great successes in the field. This was notably shown during her attack upon Paris, where she was thwarted in every direction, and all possibility of victory was taken from her by the conduct of the King. Whether or not Flavy, the Governorof Compiegne, who was completely under the control of the King, betrayed Jeanne at Compiegne, by shutting the gates and closing the drawbridge at her approach, will never be known, but suspicion has always pointed to his betrayal of the Maid.)
- (Alain Bouchard states that, in the year 1488, he heard from two aged men of Compiegne, who had themselves been present, that a few days before her capture, the Maid was attending Mass in the Church of St. Jacques. After communicating and spending some time in devotion, she turned to the assembled congregation, and, leaning against a pillar, uttered this prediction : "My good friends, my dear little children, I am sold and betrayed. Soon I shall be given up to death. Pray to God for me, for I can no longer serve the King and the Kingdom of France." Grandes Annales de Bretagne, also Miroir desFemmes Vertueuses.)
- ( The House of Lancaster was fervently orthodox. Persecution of heretics begins with Henry IV. The "Cardinal of England" (Beaufort Bishop of Winchester) was the malicious attacker of heretics at home and abroad. He spoke against the Hussites at the Council of Basle, and he planned Crusades against both heretics and "Saracens.")
- (The court before which Jeanne was brought to trial at Rouen was not a court of the Holy office or Inquisition, neither was it, as the English courts for the trial of heresy were in Lancastrian times, an official court of ecclesiastical jurisdiction on whose decision, certified by the bishop, the sheriff was bound to act. It was a composite tribunal. The Bishop of Beauvais claimed and exercised jurisdiction as ordinary. But the Deputy Inquisitor was joined with him as co-ordinate judge with officers of his own.)
- (The Great Schism arose out of the Babylonian captivity at Avignon (1306-1376). Popes and anti-Popes contended for 40 years (1378-1418). France was on the side of the Avignon Popes, while the Empire and England supported the Popes in Rome. Philip the Fair, by arrangement with the Pope, changed the Papal chair to Avignon. During the seventy years of the captivity, when the Church was ruled by French Popes, France underwent the disasters of Crecy and Poitiers, and became almost a province of England.)