Wednesday, February 12, 2014


(Modern reconstruction of Treveran dwellings at Altburg. Primitive huts of Belgium)
When Julius Caesar arrived in the region, as recorded in his De Bello Gallico, the inhabitants of Belgium, northwestern France, and the German Rhineland were known as the Belgae (after whom modern Belgium is named), and they were considered to be the northern part of Gaul. (The region of Luxembourg, including the Belgian province of Luxembourg, was inhabited by the Treveri, who were probably not strictly considered to be Belgae.) The distinction between the Belgae to the North and the Celts to the south, and the Germani across the Rhine, is disputed.
Christianity was also first introduced to Belgium during the late-Roman period, and the first known bishop in the region Servatius taught in the middle of the Fourth century in Tongeren..

(Saint Servatius, bishop of Tongeren and one of the first known Christian figures in the region. 16th century Reliquary)
Through the early Middle Ages, the northern part of present-day Belgium (now commonly referred to as Flanders) was a Germanic language-speaking area, whereas in the southern part people had continued to be Romanized and spoke derivatives of Vulgar Latin.
As the Holy Roman Emperors and French Kings lost effective control of their domains in the 11th and 12th centuries, the territory more or less corresponding to the present Belgium was divided into relatively independent feudal states, including.
Joan of Arc
(Painting, c. 1485. An artist's interpretation, since the only known direct portrait has not survived. (Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris, AE II 2490)
Joan of Arc ( 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (FrenchLa Pucelle d'Orléans), is a folk heroineof France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to a peasantfamily in north-east France. Joan said she had received visions from God instructing her to supportCharles VII and recover France from English domination late in theHundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims. On 23 May 1430 she was captured at Compiegne by the English-alliedBurgundian faction and transferred to the English, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges,and was burned at the stake forheresy when she was about 19 years old.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus IIIexamined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her amartyr. Joan of Arc was beatifiedin 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is one of the patron saints of France, along with St. DenisSt. Martin of ToursSt. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux.
Joan of Arc has been a popular figure in cultural history since the time of her death and many famous writers, filmmakers and composers have created works about her. Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc have continued in film, theatre, television, video games, music, and performances to this day.