Joan of arc

The Hundred Years War ends in England’s agonising defeat – but triumph for Jonathan Sumption

On 5 February 1328 the last Capetian king of France was laid to rest in the royal mausoleum of Saint-Denis. It is now 33 years, and more than 3,000 pages since Jonathan Sumption’s first readers followed Charles IV on his last journey, as his funeral procession wound its slow way from Notre-Dame across the Grand Pont and out through the streets of Paris into the open countryside to the north of Europe’s most populous and richest city. The death of Charles IV led to a crisis of succession that for the next four generations would embroil France and England in a war of unimaginable savagery. At the time of his

From persecuted to persecutors: the story of early Christianity

Dante travels through the circles of Hell, guided by Virgil. At the summit of the mountain of Purgatory, Virgil abandons him, leaving him with Beatrice, the woman Dante loved. With Beatrice’s smile, Dante is transported to Paradise, experiencing astral bliss as he soars through the cosmos. But Beatrice must leave him at the approach to the Eternal Fountain: for him to glimpse her smile further would be to incinerate him with its divinity. The relationship between humanity and divinity lies at the heart of this new history of the Middle Ages. Mark Gregory Pegg’s vignettes of martyrs, theologians, scholastics and secular figures illustrate the development of Christianity in the West

Rhapsodic banalities: I, Joan, at the Globe, reviewed

‘Trans people are sacred. We are divine.’ The first line of I, Joan at the Globe establishes the tone of the play as a public rally for non-binary folk. The writer, Charlie Josephine, seems wary of bringing divinity into the story too much, and he gives Joan a get-out clause to appease the agnostics. ‘Setting aside religiosity we’ll settle for more of a street god, a god for the queers and drunks… a god for the godless.’ What can ‘a god for the godless’ mean? No idea. Joan throws in a few more hipster platitudes about ‘elevating our humanity, finding the unity hidden inside community, remembering our collective connectivity fuels