Dr Helen Castor explores the life - and death - of Joan of Arc. Joan was an extraordinary figure - a female warrior in an age that believed women couldn't fight, let alone lead an army. But Joan was driven by faith, and today more than ever we are acutely aware of the power of faith to drive actions for good or ill. Since her death, Joan has become an icon for almost everyone - the left and the right, Catholics and Protestants, traditionalists and feminists. But where in all of this is the real Joan - the experiences of a teenage peasant girl who achieved the seemingly impossible? Through an astonishing manuscript, we can hear Joan's own words at her trial, and as Helen unpicks Joan's story and places her back in the world that she inhabited, the real human Joan emerges.
Over 100 years ago an unidentified mummy was found lying alongside some of the most famous pharaohs in Egyptian history but his face is locked in an eternal scream. In 1881, a bizarre mummy was unwrapped by a team of Victorian Egyptologists. Known today as the Screaming Man or Man E, he was very different from previously discovered royal mummies. What caused this mans haunting expression? Why wasn't he mummified according to custom? Find out what makes him different: Unknown Man E is nameless and, according to Egyptian beliefs, unable to move on to the afterlife because his body, wrapping, and coffin were left completely unmarked.
Both the Allies and the Nazis were always looking for a single knock-out blow to end the war. Britain's Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris thought the answer might lie in "strategic bombing." The idea was to blow the belt out of Germany's infrastructure and cities. This, he argued, would cripple the Nazis ability to wage a war and the ordinary people would soon lose the will to fight. But it led directly to the tragedy of Dresden, when Allied planes firebombed tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. The Germans believed that the decisive stranglehold would come from their submarines. If they could only cut American supply lines to Britain across the Atlantic, then the Allied effort would collapse. So begun a long game of cat and mouse between U-Boats and British and American convoys.
The French army stops the German advance at the battle of the Marne, while the Germans halt the Russians at Tannenberg on the eastern front. In France, the warring parties dig themselves in for 4 years in the trenches. Soldiers from the colonies come lend a hand to their colonizers and the war becomes global.
In the Andes, the Spanish open up the largest silver mine in the world – and mint millions of pesos de ocho (pieces of eight). These coins transform the global economy. They fill the treasure chests of pirates. They fuel a stock market boom. They help pay for the Taj Mahal. As trade booms, millions of people come to the New World as slaves. But a handful of Pilgrims come as pioneers – looking for freedom.