By R H Ratnasuriya
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Volume 79 (1986)
Excerpt: Joan of Arc’s behaviour in her teens was quite exceptional for a female living during that period. She raised a siege, won a battle and tried to help the Dauphin of France regain lost territory from the English and Burgundians. Her character has been variously described as pious, brave, charming and lovable but also as quite ruthless and cruel. She was also well known for her avowed virginity and her liking to dress in male clothes. Eventually she engaged in a battle with the Burgundians even though she knew she was outnumbered by them and was finally captured. On this occasion she claimed that she had been misled by her voices. The Burgundians handed her over to the English for a sum of money in 1431 and she stood trial. She was found guilty but signed a form of abjuration and was condemned to imprisonment. However, a few days later she was found to have dressed in male clothes again and was said to have ‘relapsed into heresy’ She was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake. She died in this manner and it was well documented that her heart, and parts of her intestines did not burn and were later collected and thrown into the River Seine.