Today in the Middle Ages: April 29, 1429

On April 29, 1429, Joan of Arc attacked the besieging English at Orleans. So remarkable was her victory that she was afterwards called "the Maid of Orleans".

Pope Pius II, a contemporary, wrote that after much discussion among the King's counselors,

...they entrusted the matter of Orleans to the Maid. A woman was put in command of war. Arms were brought, horses led up. The girl mounted the most spirited steed; then in her gleaming armor brandishing her spear like Camilla in the tale she made him leap, run, and curvet. When the nobles saw this, none of the them scorned to be commanded by a woman. All the noblest took arms and eagerly followed the Maid, who, when all was ready, set out on the march.

Joan of Arc's military campaign turned the tide of the Hundred Years War, beginning the process of driving the English from France. Her life inspired many works of art, including George Bernard Shaw's dramatic masterpiece St. Joan and films starring Ingrid Bergman and Milla Jovovich.