Charles "Martel" / "the Hammer", Prince of the Franks (686 - 741) MP 100

Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France

Charles "Martel", Prince of the Franks's Geni Profile

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Nicknames: "Carlos Martel", "Carolus", "Charles", "Karl Martell", "Charles the Hammer", "Charles of the Franks", "Charles Martel", "Major Domus of Neustria & Austrasia", "Martel", "The Hammer", "Charles "the Hammer" Martel", "duc de Antrim", "mayor of the palace"
Place of Burial: Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
Birthplace: Herstal, Liège, Walloon Region, Belgium
Death: Died in Quierzy, Aisne, Picardie, France
Occupation: Mayor of the Palaces of Austrasia & Neustria 714-741, Duke of the Franks 717, Commander of the Franks at the Battle of Tours 732, Duke and Prince of the Franks, fränkischer Hausmeier, Herzog der Franken, Kuningas, Duc des Austrasiens, Frankish King
Managed by: Margaret, (C)
Last Updated:

About Charles "Martel" / "the Hammer", Prince of the Franks

Charles "The Hammer" Martel was the defacto King of the Franks from 737-741 (Officially he was Duke and Prince of the Franks). He was also known as a great general, and is most famous for his victory at the Battle of Tours, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in western Europe.

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Martel was the son of Pepin II and his concubine, Alpaida.

Around 670, Pepin had married Plectrude, who had inherited substantial estates in the Moselle region. She was the mother of Drogo of Champagne and Grimoald, both of whom died before their father. However, Pepin also had a mistress named Alpaida (or Chalpaida) who bore him two more sons: Charles and Childebrand. Charles had gained favor among the Austrasians, primarily for his military prowess and ability to keep them well supplied with booty from his conquests. Despite the efforts of Plectrude to silence her rival's child by imprisoning him, he became the sole mayor of the palace --and de facto ruler of Francia-- after a civil war which lasted for more than three years after Pepin's death.

Martel was also grandfather to Charlemagne.

Charles Martel married twice:

His first wife was Rotrude of Treves, (690-724) (daughter of St. Leutwinus, Bishop of Treves). They had the following children:

  • Hiltrud (d. 754), married Odilo I, Duke of Bavaria
  • Carloman
  • Landrade (Landres), married Sigrand, Count of Hesbania
  • Auda, Aldana, or Alane, married Thierry IV, Count of Autun and Toulouse
  • Pippin the Short

His second wife was Swanhild. They had the following child:

   * Grifo

Charles Martel also had a mistress, Ruodhaid. They had the following children:

   * Bernard (b. before 732-787)
   * Hieronymus
   * Remigius, archbishop of Rouen (d. 771)
   * Ian (d. 783)

notes or source:

The Paternal Ancestry of Homer Beers James

http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/f/o/n/Emmett-W-Fontaine/GENE20-0004.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Martel

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Maire du Palais D'Austrasie, Duc Des Francs

Carlos Martel (*Heristal, Bélgica, 23 de agosto de 686 – 22 de octubre de 741) fue Mayordomo de palacio del reino de Austrasia desde el año 715 hasta su muerte. Era hijo no matrimonial de Pipino de Heristal (llamado el Joven o Pipino II) y de su concubina Alpaïde de Bruyères.

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CHARLES MARTEL

[O.Fr.,=Charles the Hammer], 688?–741, Frankish ruler, illegitimate son of Pepin of Heristal and grandfather of Charlemagne. After the death of his father (714) he seized power in Austrasia from Pepin's widow, who was ruling as regent for her grandsons, and became mayor of the palace. He subsequently subdued the W Frankish kingdom of Neustria and began the reconquest of Burgundy, Aquitaine, and Provence. Charles Martel defeated the Spanish Muslims at the battle of Tours (732–33) and began the military campaigns that reestablished the Franks as the rulers of Gaul. Although he never assumed the title of king, he divided the Frankish lands, like a king, between his sons Pepin the Short and Carloman.

See F. Lot, The End of the Ancient World and the Beginnings of the Middle Ages (1927, tr. 1961); E. James, The Origins of France: Clovis and the Capetians, a.d. 500–1000 (1982).

____________________

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright© 2004, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. All rights reserved.

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Charles "The Hammer" Martel (, ) (ca. 688688

Events...

– 22 October 741741 Summary

Sorry, no overview for this topic

) was proclaimed Mayor of the Palace and ruled the Franks in the name of a titular King. Late in his reign he proclaimed himself Duke of the FranksFacts About Duke of the Franks

The title dux et princeps Francorum, or duke and prince of the Franks, was the title adopted by Pepin of Heristal ...

(the last four years of his reign he did not even bother with the façade of a King) and by any name was de facto ruler of the Frankish Realms. In 739739 

Events...

he was offered an office of Roman consulRoman consul 

Consul was the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic and the Empire....

by the Pope, which he rejected possibly not to conflict with Theodatus Ursus who already occupied the office by appointment of the Byzantine emperor Leo III the IsaurianLeo III the Isaurian 

Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian , was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741....

. He expanded his rule over all three of the FrankishFranks

The Franks or the Frankish people were one of several west Germanic federations....

kingdoms: AustrasiaAustrasia 

Austrasia formed the north-eastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of pr...

, NeustriaNeustria

The territory of Neustria originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating mos...

and BurgundyFacts About Burgundy

Burgundy is a historic region of France, inhabited in turn by Pre-Indo-European people, Celts , Romans , and various German...

. Martel was born in HerstalHerstal

Herstal is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Lige....

, in present-day BelgiumBelgium

The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France and is...

, the illegitimate son of Pippin the MiddlePippin of Herstal

Pippin of Herstal , also known as Pippin the Middle, Pippin the Younger , or Pippin II, was the grandson ...

and his concubine AlpaidaAlpaida 

Alpaida was also known as Chalpaida....

(or Chalpaida). He was described by Louis Gustave and Charles Strauss in their book "Moslem and Frank; or, Charles Martel and the rescue of Europe" as a tall, powerfully built man, who was more agile than his size would lead men to believe.

He is best remembered for winning the Battle of ToursBattle of Tours

The Battle of Tours , often called Battle of Poitiers and also called in Arabic The Court of Martyrs was fought n...

in 732732 

732 is also an area code in the state of New Jersey....

, which has traditionally been characterized as an event that halted the Islamic expansionism in EuropeEurope Overview

Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of the Earth....

that had conquered IberiaIberian Peninsula 

The Iberian Peninsula, or Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe....

. "Charles's victory has often been regarded as decisive for world history, since it preserved western Europe from Muslim conquest and Islamization."

In addition to being the leader of the army that prevailed at Tours, Charles Martel was a truly giant figure of the Middle AgesMiddle Ages

The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three "ages": the clas...

. A brilliant general, he is considered the forefather of western heavy cavalryHeavy cavalry

Heavy cavalry refers to heavily armed and armoured mounted troops, as opposed to light cavalry, in which the riders are rela...

, chivalryChivalry

Chivalry refers to the medieval institution of knighthood and, most especially, the ideals that were associated with it....

, founder of the Carolingian EmpireFacts About Carolingian Empire

The term Carolingian Empire is sometimes used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the dynasty of the Carolingians....

(which was named after him), and a catalyst for the feudal systemFeudalism 

Feudalism refers to a general set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility of Europe during t...

, which would see Europe through the Middle Ages. Although some recent scholars have suggested he was more of a beneficiary of the feudal system than a knowing agent for social change, others continue to see him as the primary catalyst for the feudal systemFeudalism Summary

Feudalism refers to a general set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility of Europe during t...

.

Birth and Youth

The following tale is told of Charles, and the origins of his name: in 686, Pippin II and his wife Plectrude were talking together in a room when they were intruded upon by a messenger, bringing news that the Mayor's mistress, AlpaidaAlpaida

Alpaida was also known as Chalpaida....

, had given birth to a son at Herstal.The messenger, fearful of arousing the wrath of Plectrude, decided not to announce the news directly. Instead, he said: "Long live the king, it is a carl" ('man'). Pippin, equally cautious of his wife, dismissed the messenger as follows: "A carl, is it? Then let him be called that." This was done, and, so legend claims, the child was named "Carl". Alpaida also bore Pippin another son, Childebrand.

Contesting for power

In December 714, Pippin the Middle died. Prior to his death, he had, at his wife PlectrudePlectrude

Plectrude or Plectrudis was the wife of Pepin of Heristal, the mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, from about ...

's urging, designated TheudoaldTheudoald

Theudoald or Theodald was the mayor of the palace, briefly unopposed in 714 until Ragenfrid was acclaimed in Neustria ...

, his grandson by their son Grimoald, his heir in the entire realm. This was immediately opposed by the nobles because Theudoald was a child of only eight years of age. To prevent Charles using this unrest to his own advantage, Plectrude had him gaoled (jailed) in CologneCologne

Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, and is the largest city both in the German Feder...

, the city which was destined to be her capital. This prevented an uprising on his behalf in AustrasiaAustrasia

Austrasia formed the north-eastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of pr...

, but not in NeustriaNeustria

The territory of Neustria originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating mos...

.

Civil war of 715-718

In 715715

Events...

, the Neustrian noblesse proclaimed RagenfridRagenfrid

Ragenfrid was the mayor of the palace of Neustria and Burgundy from 715, when he filled the vacuum in Neustria caused by the...

mayor of their palace on behalf of, and apparently with the support of, Dagobert IIIDagobert III 

Dagobert III was Merovingian king of the Franks....

, the young king, who in theory had the legal authority to select a mayor, though by this time the MerovingianMerovingian

The Merovingians were a dynasty of Frankish kings who ruled a frequently fluctuating area in parts of present-day France and...

dynasty had lost most such powers.

The Austrasians were not to be left supporting a woman and her young son for long. Before the end of the year, Charles Martel had escaped from prison and been acclaimed mayor by the nobles of that kingdom. The Neustrians had been attacking Austrasia and the nobles were waiting for a strong man to lead them against their invading countrymen. That year, Dagobert died and the Neustrians proclaimed Chilperic IIChilperic II

Chilperic II, born Daniel, the youngest son of Childeric II, was king of Neustria from 715 and sole king of the Franks...

king without the support of the rest of the Frankish people.

In 716716

For the area code see Area code 716 ...

, Chilperic and Ragenfrid together led an army into Austrasia. The Neustrians allied with another invading force under Radbod, King of the FrisiansRadbod, King of the Frisians

Radbod was the duke of Frisia from 680 to 719....

and met Charles in battle near Cologne, which was still held by Plectrude. Charles had little time to gather men, or prepare, and the result was his only defeat. According to Strauss and Gustave, Martel fought a brilliant battle, but realized he could not prevail because he was outnumbered so badly, and retreated. In fact, he fled the field as soon as he realized he did not have the time or the men to prevail, retreating to the mountains of the EifelFacts About Eifel

The Eifel is a hilly region in Germany....

to gather men, and train them. The king and his mayor then turned to besiege their other rival in the city and took it and the treasury, and received the recognition of both Chilperic as king and Ragenfrid as mayor. Plectrude surrendered on Theudoald's behalf.

Magnanimous in victory

At this juncture, however, events turned in favour of Charles. Having made the proper preparations, he fell upon the triumphant army near MalmedyMalmedy

Malmedy is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Lige....

as it was returning to its own province, and, in the ensuing Battle of AmblèveBattle of Amblève 

The Battle of Ambl?ve took place in 716 near Amel....

, routed it and it fled. Several things were notable about this battle, in which Charles set the pattern for the remainder of his military career: First, he appeared where his enemies least expected him, while they were marching triumphantly home and far outnumbered him. He also attacked when least expected, at midday, when armies of that era traditionally were resting. Finally, he attacked them how they least expected it, by feigning a retreat to draw his opponents into a trap. The feigned retreat, next to unknown in Western Europe at that time—it was a traditionally eastern tactic—required both extraordinary discipline on the part of the troops and exact timing on the part of their commander. Charles, in this battle, had begun demonstrating the military genius that would mark his rule, in that he never attacked his enemies where, when, or how they expected, and the result was an unbroken victory streak that lasted until his death.

In Spring 717717

Events*March 21 - Battle of Vincy between Charles Martel and Ragenfrid....

, Charles returned to Neustria with an army and confirmed his supremacy with a victory at the Battle of VincyBattle of Vincy

The Battle of Vincy was fought at Vincy, near Cambrai, in the modern dpartement of Aisne....

, near CambraiCambrai

Cambrai also written Cambray is a French town and commune, in the Nord dpartement, of which it is a sous-prfectu...

. He chased the fleeing king and mayor to ParisParis

native_name = Ville de Paris|common_name = Paris...

, before turning back to deal with Plectrude and Cologne. He took her city and dispersed her adherents. However, he allowed both Plectrude and the young Theudoald to live and treated them with kindness—unusual for those Dark AgesDark Ages

In historiography the phrase the Dark Ages is most commonly known in relation to the European Early Middle Ages....

, when mercy to a former jailer, or a potential rival, was rare. On this success, he proclaimed Clotaire IVClotaire IV

Clotaire IV, king of Austrasia, was installed by the mayor of the palace, Charles Martel, as an ally during the civil war th...

king of AustrasiaAustrasia Summary

Austrasia formed the north-eastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of pr...

in opposition to Chilperic and deposed the archbishop of Rheims, Rigobert, replacing him with Milo, a lifelong supporter.

Consolidation of power

After subjugating all Austrasia, he marched against Radbod and pushed him back into his territory, even forcing the concession of West Frisia (later HollandHolland

Holland is a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands....

). He also sent the SaxonsSaxons Summary

The Saxons or Saxon people are part of the German people with its main areas of settlements in the German States of S...

back over the Weser and thus secured his borders—in the name of the new king Clotaire, of course.

In 718718 Summary

Events...

, Chilperic responded to Charles' new ascendancy by making an alliance with Odo the Great (or Eudes, as he is sometimes known), the duke of AquitaineFacts About Duke of Aquitaine

The persons who held the title of Duke of Aquitaine ...

, who had made himself independent during the civil war in 715, but was again defeated, at the Battle of SoissonsBattle of Soissons (718)

The Battle of Soissons of 718 was the last of the great pitched battles of the civil war between the heirs of Pepin of Heris...

, by Charles. The king fled with his ducal ally to the land south of the LoireLoire

See also Loire Valley.Loire is a dpartement in the east-central part of France occupying the Loire River's upper r...

and Ragenfrid fled to AngersAngers Overview

Angers is a city in France in the dpartement of Maine-et-Loire, 191 miles south-west of Paris....

. Soon Clotaire IV died and Odo gave up on Chilperic and, in exchange for recognising his dukedom, surrendered the king to Charles, who recognised his kingship over all the Franks in return for legitimate royal affirmation of his mayoralty, likewise over all the kingdoms (718).

Foreign wars from 718-732

The ensuing years were full of strife. Between 718 and 723, Charles secured his power through a series of victories: he won the loyalty of several important bishops and abbots (by donating lands and money for the foundation of abbeys such as EchternachEchternach

Echternach is a commune with city status in the canton of Echternach, which is part of the district of Grevenmacher, in east...

), he subjugated BavariaBavaria

The Free State of Bavaria , with an area of 70,553 km and 12.4 million inhabitants, forms the southernmost state...

and Alemannia, and he defeated the pagan SaxonsSaxons 

The Saxons or Saxon people are part of the German people with its main areas of settlements in the German States of S...

.

Having unified the Franks under his banner, Charles was determined to punish the Saxons who had invaded Austrasia. Therefore, late in 718, he laid waste their country to the banks of the Weser, the LippeLippe

ame=Lippe|state=North Rhine-Westphalia|...

, and the RuhrFacts About Ruhr

The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany having its source at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet near the to...

. He defeated them in the Teutoburg ForestTeutoburg Forest

The Teutoburg Forest is a range of low, forested mountains in the German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, ...

. In 719719

Events...

, Charles seized West Frisia without any great resistance on the part of the FrisiansFrisians

The Frisians are an ethnic group of northwestern Europe, inhabiting an area known as Frisia. ...

, who had been subjects of the Franks but had seized control upon the death of Pippin. Although Charles did not trust the pagans, their ruler, Aldegisel, accepted Christianity, and Charles sent WillibrordWillibrord

Saint Willibrord was a Northumbrian missionary, known as the Apostle to the Frisians in modern Netherlands....

, bishop of Utrecht, the famous "Apostle to the Frisians" to convert the people. Charles also did much to support Winfrid, later Saint BonifaceFacts About Saint Boniface

Saint Boniface , the Apostle of the Germans, born Winfrid or Wynfrith at Crediton in Devon, England, was a...

, the "Apostle of the Germans."

When Chilperic II died the following year, Charles appointed as his successor the son of Dagobert III, Theuderic IVTheuderic IV

Theuderic IV was the Merovingian King of the Franks from 721 until his death in 737....

, who was still a minor, and who occupied the throne from 720 to 737. Charles was now appointing the kings whom he supposedly served, rois fainéants who were mere puppets in his hands; by the end of his reign they were so useless that he didn't even bother appointing one. At this time, Charles again marched against the Saxons. Then the Neustrians rebelled under Ragenfrid, who had been left the county of Anjou. They were easily defeated, but Ragenfrid gave up his sons as hostages in turn for keeping his county. This ended the civil wars of Charles' reign.

The next six years were devoted in their entirety to assuring Frankish authority over the dependent Germanic tribes. Between 720 and 723723

Events* Saint Boniface fells Thor's Oak near Fritzlar, marking the decisive event in the Christianization of the northern Germani...

, Charles was fighting in Bavaria, where the Agilolfing dukes had gradually evolved into independent rulers, recently in alliance with Liutprand the Lombard. He forced the Alemanni to accompany him, and Duke HugbertHugbert of Bavaria

Hugbert ' of the Agilolfings was 724 - 736 duke of Bavaria....

submitted to Frankish suzerainty. In 725725 

Events...

and 728728 Summary

Events*Liutprand, King of the Lombards occupies all of the exarchate....

, he again entered Bavaria and the ties of lordship seemed strong. From his first campaign, he brought back the Agilolfing princess Swanachild, who apparently became his concubine. In 730730

Events...

, he marched against LantfridLantfrid

Lantfrid was duke of Alamannia under Frankish sovereignty from 709 until his death....

, duke of Alemannia, who had also become independent, and killed him in battle. He forced the Alemanni capitulation to Frankish suzerainty and did not appoint a successor to Lantfrid. Thus, southern Germany once more became part of the Frankish kingdom, as had northern Germany during the first years of the reign.

But by 730, his own realm secure, Charles began to prepare exclusively for the coming storm from the south and west.

In 721721

Events...

, the emir of Córdoba had built up a strong army from MoroccoMorocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country in North Africa....

, YemenYemen

Yemen, officially the Republic of Yemen, is a Middle Eastern country located on the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asi...

, and SyriaSyria

Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in the Middle East....

to conquer Aquitaine, the large duchy in the southwest of Gaul, nominally under Frankish sovereignty, but in practice almost independent in the hands of the Odo the Great, the Duke of Aquitaine, since the Merovingian kings had lost power. The invading Muslims besieged the city of Toulouse, then Aquitaine's most important city, and Odo (also called Eudes, or Eudo) immediately left to find help. He returned three months later just before the city was about to surrender and defeated the Muslim invaders on June 9, 721721 

Events...

, at what is now known as the Battle of ToulouseBattle of Toulouse (721)

The Battle of Tolouse was a victory of a Frankish army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine over an Umayyad army besieging the city ...

. This critical defeat was essentially the result of a classic enveloping movement by Odo's forces. (After Odo originally fled, the Muslims became overconfident and, instead of maintaining strong outer defenses around their siege camp and continuous scouting, they did neither.) Thus, when Odo returned, he was able to launch a near complete surprise attack on the besieging force, scattering it at the first attack, and slaughtering units caught resting or that fled without weapons or armour.

Due to the situation in Iberia, Martel believed he needed a virtually fulltime army --one he could train intensely-- as a core of veteran Franks who would be augmented with the usual conscripts called up in time of war. (During the Early Middle AgesEarly Middle Ages

The Early Middle Ages are a period in the history of Europe following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, spanning roughly...

, troops were only available after the crops had been planted and before harvesting time.) To train the kind of infantry that could withstand the Muslim heavy cavalry, Charles needed them year-round, and he needed to pay them so their families could buy the food they would have otherwise grown. To obtain money he seized church lands and property, and used the funds to pay his soldiers. The same Charles who had secured the support of the ecclesia by donating land, seized some of it back between 724 and 732. Of course, Church officials were enraged, and, for a time, it looked as though Charles might even be excommunicated for his actions. But then came a significant invasion.

Eve of Tours

Historian Paul K. DavisPaul K. Davis

Paul K. Davis is an historian specializing in military history....

said in 100 Decisive Battles "Having defeated Eudes, he turned to the Rhine to strengthen his northeastern borders - but in 725 was diverted south with the activity of the Muslims in Acquitane." Martel then concentrated his attention to the Umayyads, virtually for the remainder of his life. Indeed, 12 years later, when he had thrice rescued Gaul from Umayyad invasions, Antonio SantosuossoAntonio Santosuosso Summary

Antonio Santosuosso is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario....

noted when he destroyed an Umayyad army sent to reinforce the invasion forces of the 735 campaigns, "Charles Martel again came to the rescue". It has been noted that Charles Martel could have pursued the wars against the Saxons—but he was determined to prepare for what he thought was a greater danger.

It is also vital to note that the Muslims were not aware, at that time, of the true strength of the Franks, or the fact that they were building a real army instead of the typical barbarian hordes that had infested Europe after Rome's fall. They considered the Germanic tribes, including the Franks, simply barbarians and were not particularly concerned about them. The Arab Chronicles, the history of that age, show that Arab awareness of the Franks as a growing military power came only after the Battle of Tours when the Caliph expressed shock at his army's catastrophic defeat.

Battle of Tours

Main article Battle of ToursBattle of Tours

The Battle of Tours , often called Battle of Poitiers and also called in Arabic The Court of Martyrs was fought n...

.

Leadup and importance

The CordobaCórdoba, Spain Overview

Crdoba, also called Crdova, is a city in Andaluca, southern Spain, and the capital of the province of Crdoba....

n emirateEmirate

Etymologically an emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any Emir....

had previously invaded GaulGaul 

Gaul was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, B...

and had been stopped in its northward sweep at the Battle of ToulouseBattle of Toulouse (721) 

The Battle of Tolouse was a victory of a Frankish army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine over an Umayyad army besieging the city ...

, in 721. The hero of that less celebrated event had been Odo the Great, Duke of Aquitaine, who was not the progenitor of a race of kings and patron of chroniclers. It has previously been explained how Odo defeated the invading Muslims, but when they returned, things were far different. The arrival in the interim of a new emir of Cordoba, Abdul Rahman Al GhafiqiAbdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi

Abu Said Abdul Rahman ibn Abdullah ibn Bishr ibn Al Sarem Al 'Aki Al Ghafiqi, variously known as Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi'...

, who brought with him a huge force of Arabs and BerberBerber people

The Berbers are an ethnic group indigenous to Northwest Africa, speaking the Berber languages of the Afroasiatic family....

horsemen, triggered a far greater invasion. Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi had been at Toulouse, and the Arab Chronicles make clear he had strongly opposed the Emir's decision not to secure outer defenses against a relief force, which allowed Odo and his relief force to attack with impunity before the Islamic cavalry could assemble or mount. Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi had no intention of permitting such a disaster again. This time the Umayyad horsemen were ready for battle, and the results were horrific for the Aquitanians. Odo, hero of Toulouse, was badly defeated in the Muslim invasion of 732732 

732 is also an area code in the state of New Jersey....

at the battle prior to the Muslim sacking of Bordeaux, and when he gathered a second army, at the Battle of the River GaronneBattle of the River Garonne 

The Battle of the River Garonne was fought in 732 between an Umayyad army led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, governor of Al-And...

—where the western chroniclers state, "God alone knows the number of the slain"— and the city of Bordeaux was sacked and looted. Odo fled to Charles, seeking help. Charles agreed to come to Odo's rescue, provided Odo acknowledged Charles and his house as his Overlords, which Odo did formally at once. Thus, Odo faded into history while Charles marched into it. It is interesting to note that Charles was pragmatic; while most commanders would never use their enemies in battle, Odo and his remaining Aquitanian nobles formed the right flank of Charles' forces at Tours.

The Battle of ToursBattle of Tours

The Battle of Tours , often called Battle of Poitiers and also called in Arabic The Court of Martyrs was fought n...

earned Charles the cognomenCognomen 

The cognomen was originally the third name of a Roman in the Roman naming convention....

"Martel", for the merciless way he hammered his enemies. Many historians, including the great military historian Sir Edward CreasyEdward Shepherd Creasy 

Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy, historian, was educated at Eton College and Cambridge University and called to the Bar in 1837....

, believe that had he failed at Tours, IslamIslam

Islam is a monotheistic religion based upon the Qur'an, which adherents believe was sent by God through Muhammad....

would probably have overrun GaulGaul 

Gaul was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, B...

, and perhaps the remainder of western Christian Europe. GibbonEdward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament....

made clear his belief that the Umayyad armies would have conquered from Rome to the Rhine, and even England, with ease, had Martel not prevailed. Creasy said "the great victory won by Charles Martel ... gave a decisive check to the career of Arab conquest in Western Europe, rescued Christendom from Islam, [and] preserved the relics of ancient and the germs of modern civilization." Gibbon's belief that the fate of Christianity hinged on this battle is echoed by other historians including John B. Bury, and was very popular for most of modern historiography. It fell somewhat out of style in the twentieth century, when historians such as Bernard Lewis contended that Arabs had little intention of occupying northern France. More recently, however, many historians have tended once again to view the Battle of Tours as a very significant event in the history of Europe and Christianity. Equally, many, such as William Watson, still believe this battle was one of macrohistorical world-changing importance, if they do not go so far as Gibbon does rhetorically.

In the modern era, Matthew Bennett and his co-authors of "Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World", published in 2005, argue that "few battles are remembered 1,000 years after they are fought...but the Battle of Poitiers, (Tours) is an exception...Charles Martel turned back a Muslim raid that had it been allowed to continue, might have conquered Gaul." Michael Grant, author of "History of Rome", grants the Battle of Tours such importance that he lists it in the macrohistorical dates of the Roman era.

It is important to note however that modern western historians, military historians, and writers, essentially fall into three camps. The first, those who believe Gibbon was right in his assessment that Martel saved Christianity and western civilization by this Battle are typified by Bennett, Paul Davis, Robert Martin, and educationalist Dexter B. WakefieldDexter B. Wakefield

Dr. Dexter B. Wakefield is an assistant professor and 1st Vice-President at the Southern Illinois University....

who writes in An Islamic Europe

The second camp of contemporary historians believe that a failure by Martel at Tours could have been a disaster, destroying what would become western civilization after the RenaissanceRenaissance

In the traditional view, the Renaissance was understood as a historical age in Europe that followed the Middle Ages and ...

. Certainly all historians agree that no power would have remained in Europe able to halt Islamic expansion had the Franks failed. William E. WatsonWilliam E. Watson

William E. Watson is a historian who works for the nonprofit organization De Re Militari....

, one of the most respected historians of this era, strongly supports Tours as a macrohistorical event, but distances himself from the rhetoric of Gibbon and Drubeck, writing, for example, of the battle's importance in Frankish, and world, history in 1993:

The final camp of western historians believe that Tours was vastly overrated. This view is typified by Alessandro Barbero, who writes, "Today, historians tend to play down the significance of the battle of Poitiers, pointing out that the purpose of the Arab force defeated by Charles Martel was not to conquer the Frankish kingdom, but simply to pillage the wealthy monastery of St-Martin of Tours". Similarly, Tomaž Mastnak writes:

However, it is vital to note, when assessing Charles Martel's life, that even those historians who dispute the significance of this one Battle as the event that saved Christianity, do not dispute that Martel himself had a huge effect on western history. Modern military historian Victor Davis HansonVictor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian, columnist, political essayist and former Classics professor, best known as a s...

acknowledges the debate on this battle, citing historians both for and against its macrohistorical placement:

Battle

The Battle of Tours probably took place somewhere between Tours and PoitiersPoitiers

Poitiers is a town located in west central France....

(hence its other name: Battle of Poitiers). The Frankish army, under Charles Martel, consisted mostly of veteran infantryInfantry 

Infantry is a term for soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organized military units....

, somewhere between 15,000 and 75,000 men. While Charles had some cavalry, they did not have stirrups, so he had them dismount and reinforce his phalanx. Odo and his Aquitanian nobility were also normally cavalry, but they also dismounted at the Battle's onset, to buttress the phalanx. Responding to the Umayyad invasion, the Franks had avoided the old Roman roads, hoping to take the invaders by surprise. Martel believed it was absolutely essential that he not only take the Umayyads by surprise, but that he be allowed to select the ground on which the battle would be fought, ideally a high, wooded plain where the Islamic horsemen, already tired from carrying armour, would be further exhausted charging uphill. Further, the woods would aid the Franks in their defensive square by partially impeding the ability of the Umayyad horsemen to make a clear charge.

From the Muslim accounts of the battle, they were indeed taken by surprise to find a large force opposing their expected sack of Tours, and they waited for six days, scouting the enemy and summoning all their raiding parties so their full strength was present for the battle. Emir Abdul Rahman was an able general who did not like the unknown at all, and he did not like charging uphill against an unknown number of foes who seemed well-disciplined and well-disposed for battle. But the weather was also a factor. The Germanic Franks, in their wolf and bear pelts, were more used to the cold, better dressed for it, and despite not having tents, which the Muslims did, were prepared to wait as long as needed, the autumn only growing colder.

On the seventh day, the Umayyad army, mostly Berber and Arab horsemen and led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, attacked. During the battle, the Franks defeated the Islamic army and the emir was killed. While Western accounts are sketchy, Arab accounts are fairly detailed in describing how the Franks formed a large square and fought a brilliant defensive battle. Rahman had doubts before the battle that his men were ready for such a struggle, and should have had them abandon the loot which hindered them, but instead decided to trust his horsemen, who had never failed him. Indeed, it was thought impossible for infantry of that age to withstand armoured cavalry.

Martel managed to inspire his men to stand firm against a force which must have seemed invincible to them, huge mailed horsemen, who, in addition, probably vastly outnumbered the Franks. In one of the rare instances where medieval infantry stood up against cavalry charges, the disciplined Frankish soldiers withstood the assaults even though, according to Arab sources, the Umayyad cavalry several times broke into the interior of the Frankish square. The scene is described in Bishop Isidore of Beja's Chronicle (translated passage from Fordham University's Internet Medieval Source Book):

"And in the shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts of the foe."

Both accounts agree that the Umayyad forces had broken into the square and were trying to kill Martel, whose liege men had surrounded him and would not be broken, when a trick Charles had planned before the battle bore fruit beyond his wildest dreams. Both Western and Muslim accounts of the battle agree that sometime during the height of the fighting, with the battle still in grave doubt, scouts sent by Martel to the Muslim camp began freeing prisoners. Fearing loss of their plunder, a large portion of the Muslim army abandoned the battle and returned to camp to protect their spoils. In attempting to stop what appeared to be a retreat, Abdul Rahman was surrounded and killed by the Franks, and what started as a ruse ended up a real retreat, as the Umayyad army fled the field that day. The Franks resumed their phalanx, and rested in place through the night, believing the battle would resume at dawn of the following morning.

The next day, when the Umayyad army did not renew the battle, the Franks feared an ambush. Charles at first believed the Muslims were attempting to lure him down the hill and into the open, a tactic he would resist at all costs. Only after extensive reconnaissance by Frankish soldiers of the Umayyad camp—which by both accounts had been so hastily abandoned that even the tents remained, as the Umayyad forces headed back to Iberia with what spoils remained that they could carry—was it discovered that the Muslims had retreated during the night. As the Arab Chronicles would later reveal, the generals from the different parts of the Caliphate, Berbers, Arabs, Persians and many more, had been unable to agree on a leader to take Abd er Rahman's place as Emir, or even to agree on a commander to lead them the following day. Only the Emir, Abd er Rahman, had a FatwaFatwa

Definition A fatwa plural fatawa , is a legal pronouncement in Islam, done by a law specialist on an issue....

from the Caliph, and thus absolute authority over the faithful under arms. With his death, and with the varied nationalities and ethnicities present in an army drawn from all over the Caliphate, politics, racial and ethnic bias, and personalities reared their head. The inability of the bickering generals to select anyone to lead resulted in the wholesale withdrawal of an army that might have been able to resume the battle and defeat the Franks.

Martel's ability to have Abd er Rahman killed through a clever ruse he had carefully planned to cause confusion, at the battle's apex, and his years spent rigorously training his men, combined to do what was thought impossible: Martel's Franks, virtually all heavy infantry, withstood both mailed heavy cavalry with 20 foot lances, and bow-wielding light cavalry, without the aid of bows or firearms. This was a feat of war almost unheard of in medieval history, a feat which even the heavily armored Roman legions proved themselves incapable of against the Parthians, and left Martel a unique place in history as the savior of Europe

and a brilliant general in an age not known for its generalship.

After Tours

In the subsequent decade, Charles led the Frankish army against the eastern duchies, Bavaria and Alemannia, and the southern duchies, AquitaineAquitaine

Aquitaine now forms a rgion in south-western France along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the bo...

and ProvenceProvence 

Provence is a former Roman province and is now a region of southeastern France, located on the Mediterranean Sea adjacent t...

. He dealt with the ongoing conflict with the FrisiaFrisia

Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea....

ns and SaxonsSaxons

The Saxons or Saxon people are part of the German people with its main areas of settlements in the German States of S...

to his northeast with some success, but full conquest of the Saxons and their incorporation into the Frankish empire would wait for his grandson Charlemagne, primarily because Martel concentrated the bulk of his efforts against Muslim expansion.

So instead of concentrating on conquest to his east, he continued expanding Frankish authority in the west, and denying the Emirate of Córdoba a foothold in Europe beyond Al-Andalus. After his victory at Tours, Martel continued on in campaigns in 736736

Events...

and 737737 

Events...

to drive other Muslim armies from bases in Gaul after they again attempted to get a foothold in Europe beyond Al-Andalus.

Wars from 732-737

Between his victory of 732 and 735735

EventsBirths*Alcuin, missionary and bishop...

, Charles reorganized the kingdom of BurgundyBurgundy

Burgundy is a historic region of France, inhabited in turn by Pre-Indo-European people, Celts , Romans , and various German...

, replacing the counts and dukes with his loyal supporters, thus strengthening his hold on power. He was forced, by the ventures of RadbodRadbod, King of the Frisians

Radbod was the duke of Frisia from 680 to 719....

, duke of the FrisiansRulers of Frisia

Of the first historically verifiable rulers of Frisia, whether they are called dukes or kings, the dynasty below is establis...

(719-734), son of the Duke Aldegisel who had accepted the missionariesMissionary Summary

A missionary is traditionally defined as a propagator of religion who works to convert those outside that community; someone...

Willibrord and Boniface, to invade independence-minded Frisia again in 734734 

Events...

. In that year, he slew the duke, who had expelled the Christian missionaries, in the battle of the BoarnBattle of the Boarn

The Battle of the Boarn was an eighth century battle between the Franks and the Frisians near the mouth of the river Boarn ...

and so wholly subjugated the populace (he destroyed every pagan shrine) that the people were peaceful for twenty years after.

The dynamic changed in 735 because of the death of Odo the Great, who had been forced to acknowledge, albeit reservedly, the suzerainty of Charles in 719. Though Charles wished to unite the duchy directly to himself and went there to elicit the proper homage of the Aquitainians, the nobility proclaimed Odo's son, Hunold, whose dukedom Charles recognised when the Umayyads invaded Provence the next year, and who equally was forced to acknowledge Charles as overlord as he had no hope of holding off the Muslims alone.

This naval Arab invasion was headed by Abdul Rahman's son. It landed in NarbonneNarbonne Overview

Narbonne is a town and commune of southwestern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon rgion....

in 736 and moved at once to reinforce ArlesArles 

Arles is a city in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhne dpartement, of which it is a sous-prfecture, in the f...

and move inland. Charles temporarily put the conflict with Hunold on hold, and descended on the Provençal strongholds of the Umayyads. In 736, he retook MontfrinMontfrin 

Montfrin is a village of the Gard dpartement, in southern France....

and AvignonAvignon 

Avignon is a commune in southern France with an estimated mid-2004 population of 89,300 in the city itself and a popul...

, and Arles and Aix-en-ProvenceAix-en-Provence

Aix, or, to distinguish it from other cities built over hot springs, Aix-en-Provence is a city in southern France, som...

with the help of Liutprand, King of the LombardsFacts About Liutprand, King of the Lombards

Liutprand was the king of the Lombards from 712 to 744 and is chiefly remembered for his Donation of Sutri, in 728, and his ...

. NîmesNîmes

Nmes is a city and commune of southern France, prfecture of the Gard dpartement. ...

, AgdeAgde

Agde is a commune of the Hrault dpartement, in southern France....

, and BéziersBéziers

Bziers is a town in Languedoc, in the southwest of France....

, held by Islam since 725725

Events...

, fell to him and their fortresses were destroyed. He crushed one Umayyad army at Arles, as that force sallied out of the city, and then took the city itself by a direct and brutal frontal attack, and burned it to the ground to prevent its use again as a stronghold for Umayyad expansion. He then moved swiftly and defeated a mighty host outside of Narbonnea at the River Berre, but failed to take the city. Military historians believe he could have taken it, had he chosen to tie up all his resources to do so—but he believed his life was coming to a close, and he had much work to do to prepare for his sons to take control of the Frankish realm. A direct frontal assault, such as took Arles, using rope ladders and rams, plus a few catapults, simply was not sufficient to take Narbonne without horrific loss of life for the Franks, troops Martel felt he could not lose. Nor could he spare years to starve the city into submission, years he needed to set up the administration of an empire his heirs would reign over. He left Narbonne therefore, isolated and surrounded, and his son would return to liberate it for Christianity. Provence, however, he successfully rid of its foreign occupiers, and crushed all foreign armies able to advance Islam further.

Notable about these campaigns was Charles' incorporation, for the first time, of heavy cavalry with stirrups to augment his phalanxPhalanx formation

A phalanx is a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, or...

. His ability to coordinate infantry and cavalry veterans was unequaled in that era and enabled him to face superior numbers of invaders, and to decisively defeat them again and again. Some historians believe the Battle against the main Muslim force at the River Berre, near Narbonne, in particular was as important a victory for Christian Europe as Tours. In Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels, Antonio SantosuossoAntonio Santosuosso

Antonio Santosuosso is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario....

, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Western OntarioUniversity of Western Ontario

The University of Western Ontario is a coeducational, non-denominational, research-intensive university located in London, O...

, and considered an expert historian in the era in dispute, puts forth an interesting modern opinion on Martel, Tours, and the subsequent campaigns against Rahman's son in 736-737. Santosuosso presents a compelling case that these later defeats of invading Muslim armies were at least as important as Tours in their defence of Western Christendom and the preservation of Western monasticismChristian monasticism

Monasticism in Christianity is a family of similar traditions that began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, ...

, the monasteries of which were the centers of learning which ultimately led Europe out of her Middle AgesMiddle Ages

The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three "ages": the clas...

. He also makes a compelling argument, after studying the Arab histories of the period, that these were clearly armies of invasion, sent by the Caliph not just to avenge Tours, but to begin the conquest of Christian Europe and bring it into the Caliphate.

Further, unlike his father at Tours, Rahman's son in 736-737 knew that the Franks were a real power, and that Martel personally was a force to be reckoned with. He had no intention of allowing Martel to catch him unawares and dictate the time and place of battle, as his father had, and concentrated instead on seizing a substantial portion of the coastal plains around NarbonneNarbonne

Narbonne is a town and commune of southwestern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon rgion....

in 736 and heavily reinforced ArlesArles 

Arles is a city in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhne dpartement, of which it is a sous-prfecture, in the f...

as he advanced inland. They planned from there to move from city to city, fortifying as they went, and if Martel wished to stop them from making a permanent enclave for expansion of the Caliphate, he would have to come to them, in the open, where, he, unlike his father, would dictate the place of battle. All worked as he had planned, until Martel arrived, albeit more swiftly than the Moors believed he could call up his entire army. Unfortunately for Rahman's son, however, he had overestimated the time it would take Martel to develop heavy cavalry equal to that of the Muslims. The Caliphate believed it would take a generation, but Martel managed it in five short years. Prepared to face the Frankish phalanx, the Muslims were totally unprepared to face a mixed force of heavy cavalry and infantry in a phalanx. Thus, Charles again championed Christianity and halted Muslim expansion into Europe, as the window was closing on Islamic ability to do so. These defeats, plus those at the hands of Leo in Anatolia were the last great attempt at expansion by the Umayyad Caliphate before the destruction of the dynasty at the Battle of the ZabBattle of the Zab 

The Battle of the Zab took place on the banks of the Great Zab river in what is now Iraq on January 25, 750....

, and the rending of the Caliphate forever, especially the utter destruction of the Umayyad army at River Berre near Narbonne in 737.

Interregnum

In 737, at the tail end of his campaigning in Provence and SeptimaniaSeptimania

  • Charlemagne found Septimania and the borderlands so devastated and depopulated by warfare, with the inhabitants hiding among the ...

, the king, Theuderic IV, died. Martel, titling himself maior domus and princeps et dux Francorum, did not appoint a new king and nobody acclaimed one. The throne lay vacant until Martel's death. As the historian Charles OmanCharles Oman

Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman was a notable British military historian of the early 20th century....

says (The Dark Ages, pg 297), "he cared not for name or style so long as the real power was in his hands."

Gibbon has said Martel was "content with the titles of Mayor or Duke of the Franks, but he deserved to become the father of a line of kings," which he did. Gibbon also says of him, "in the public danger, he was summoned by the voice of his country."

The interregnum, the final four years of Charles' life, was more peaceful than most of it had been and much of his time was now spent on administrative and organisational plans to create a more efficient state. Though, in 738Facts About 738

Events...

, he compelled the Saxons of WestphaliaWestphalia Overview

Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Bielefeld, Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Mnster, and Osnabrck a...

to do him homage and pay tribute, and in 739 checked an uprising in Provence, the rebels being under the leadership of Maurontus. Charles set about integrating the outlying realms of his empire into the Frankish church. He erected four dioceses in Bavaria and gave them Boniface as archbishopArchbishop 

In Christianity, an archbishop is an elevated bishop....

and metropolitanMetropolitan bishop 

In hierarchical Christian churches, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan ...

over all Germany east of the Rhine, with his seat at MainzMainz Summary

Mainz is a city in Germany and the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate....

. Boniface had been under his protection from 723 on; indeed the saint himself explained to his old friend, Daniel of Winchester, that without it he could neither administer his church, defend his clergy, nor prevent idolatry. It was Boniface who had defended Charles most stoutly for his deeds in seizing ecclesiastical lands to pay his army in the days leading to Tours, as one doing what he must to defend Christianity. In 739739

Events...

, Pope Gregory IIIPope Gregory III

Pope Gregory III, pope , a Syrian by birth, succeeded Gregory II in March 731....

begged Charles for his aid against Liutprand, but Charles was loathe to fight his onetime ally and ignored the Papal plea. Nonetheless, the Papal applications for Frankish protection showed how far Martel had come from the days he was tottering on excommunication, and set the stage for his son and grandson literally to rearrange Italy to suit the Papacy, and protect it.

Death

Charles Martel died on October 22, 741741

Sorry, no overview for this topic

, at Quierzy-sur-OiseFacts About Quierzy-sur-Oise

Quierzy-sur-Oise is a French commune in the dpartement of Aisne, in the rgion of Picardie, straddling the Oise River...

in what is today the AisneAisne 

Aisne is a dpartement in the northern part of France named after the Aisne River. ...

départementDépartements of France 

The dpartements are administrative units of France and many former French colonies, roughly analogous to English counties....

in the PicardyPicardy

Picardy is an historical province of France, in the north of France....

region of France. He was buried at Saint Denis BasilicaSaint Denis Basilica 

The Basilica of Saint Denis is the famous burial site of the French monarchs, comparable to Westminster Abbey in England....

in ParisParis 

native_name = Ville de Paris|common_name = Paris...

. His territories were divided among his adult sons a year earlier: to CarlomanCarloman, son of Charles Martel

Carloman was the son of Charles Martel, major domo or mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, and his wife Chrotrud....

he gave Austrasia and Alemannia (with Bavaria as a vassal), to Pippin the YoungerPippin the Younger 

Pippin the YoungerPippin's name can be very confusing....

Neustria and Burgundy (with Aquitaine as a vassal), and to GrifoGrifo 

Grifo was the son of the Frankish major domo Charles Martel and his second wife Swanahild....

nothing, though some sources indicate he intended to give him a strip of land between Neustria and Austrasia.

Gibbon called him "the hero of the age" and declared "Christendom ... delivered ... by the genius and good fortune of one man, Charles Martel." A strong argument can be made that Gibbon was correct on both counts.

Legacy

At the beginning of Charles Martel's career, he had many internal opponents and felt the need to appoint his own kingly claimant, Clotaire IV. By his end, however, the dynamics of rulership in Francia had changed, no hallowed Meroving was needed, neither for defence nor legitimacy: Charles divided his realm between his sons without opposition (though he ignored his young son Bernard). In between, he strengthened the Frankish state by consistently defeating, through superior generalship, the host of hostile foreign nations which beset it on all sides, including the heathen Saxons, which his grandson Charlemagne would fully subdue, and Moors, which he halted on a path of continental domination.

Though he never cared about titles, his son PippinPippin the Younger

Pippin the YoungerPippin's name can be very confusing....

did, and finally asked the PopePope Overview

The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, and, as Successor of Saint Peter, is the head of the Catholic Church....

"who should be King, he who has the title, or he who has the power?" The Pope, highly dependent on Frankish armies for his independence from Lombard and ByzantineByzantine Empire 

Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire of the...

power (the Byzantine emperor still considered himself to be the only legitimate "Roman EmperorRoman Emperor 

"Roman Emperor" is the term historians use to refer to rulers of the Roman Empire, after the epoch conventionally named the ...

", and thus, ruler of all of the provinces of the ancient empireRoman Empire Summary

The Roman Empire was a phase of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by an autocratic form of government....

, whether recognised or not), declared for "he who had the power" and immediately crowned Pippin.

Decades later, in 800800

Events...

, Pippin's son CharlemagneCharlemagne

Charlemagne was the King of the Franks who conquered Italy and took the Iron Crown of Lombardy in 774 and, on a visit to ...

was crowned emperor by the Pope, further extending the principle by delegitimising the nominal authority of the Byzantine emperor in the Italian peninsula (which had, by then, shrunk to encompass little more than ApuliaApulia 

Apulia is a region in southeastern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the S...

and CalabriaCalabria 

Calabria , is a region in southern Italy which occupies the "toe" of the Italian peninsula south of Naples....

at best) and ancient Roman Gaul, including the Iberian outposts Charlemagne had established in the Marca HispanicaMarca Hispanica 

The Marca Hispanica was a buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, first set up by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive b...

across the PyreneesPyrenees

[Image:Pic de Bugatet.jpg|thumb|250px|Pic de Bugatet in the Nouvielle Natural Reserve....

, what today forms CataloniaCatalonia

The Autonomous Community of Catalonia , known throughout history simply as Catalonia, is today one of the 17 autonomou...

. In short, though the Byzantine Emperor claimed authority over all the old Roman EmpireRoman Empire

The Roman Empire was a phase of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by an autocratic form of government....

, as the legitimate "Roman" Emperor, it was simply not reality. The bulk of the Western Roman EmpireWestern Roman Empire

The Western Roman Empire is the name given to the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 286....

had come under Carolingian rule, the Byzantine Emperor having had almost no authority in the West since the sixth century, though Charlemagne, a consummate politician, preferred to avoid an open breach with Constantinople. An institution unique in history was being born: the Holy Roman EmpireHoly Roman Empire 

The Holy Roman Empire was a mainly Central European conglomeration of lands in the Middle Ages and the early modern period, ...

. Though the sardonic VoltaireVoltaire

Franois-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, deist and p...

ridiculed its nomenclature, saying that the Holy Roman Empire was "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire," it constituted an enormous political power for a time, especially under the Saxon and Salian dynastiesSalian dynasty 

The Salian dynasty was a dynasty of germanic kings, also known as the Frankish dynasty after the family's origin and r...

and, to a lesser, extent, the Hohenstaufen. It lasted until 1806, by then it was a nonentity. Though his grandson became its first emperor, the "empire" such as it was, was largely born during the reign of Charles Martel.

Charles was that rarest of commodities in the Middle Ages: a brilliant strategic general, who also was a tactical commander par excellence, able in the heat of battle to adapt his plans to his foe's forces and movement — and amazingly, to defeat them repeatedly, especially when, as at Tours, they were far superior in men and weaponry, and at Berre and Narbonne, when they were superior in numbers of fighting men. Charles had the last quality which defines genuine greatness in a military commander: he foresaw the dangers of his foes, and prepared for them with care; he used ground, time, place, and fierce loyalty of his troops to offset his foe's superior weaponry and tactics; third, he adapted, again and again, to the enemy on the battlefield, shifting to compensate for the unforeseen and unforeseeable.

Gibbon, whose tribute to Martel has been noted, was not alone among the great mid era historians in fervently praising Martel; Thomas Arnold ranks the victory of Charles Martel even higher than the victory of ArminiusFacts About Arminius

Arminius was a war chief of the Germanic tribe of the Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Fore...

in the Battle of the Teutoburg ForestBattle of the Teutoburg Forest 

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in the year 9 when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius , the son o...

in its impact on all of modern history:

"Charles Martel's victory at Tours was among those signal deliverances which have affected for centuries the happiness of mankind." [History of the later Roman Commonwealth, vol ii. p. 317.]

German historians are especially ardent in their praise of Martel and in their belief that he saved Europe and Christianity from then all-conquering Islam, praising him also for driving back the ferocious Saxon barbarians on his borders. Schlegel speaks of this " mighty victory " in terms of fervent gratitude, and tells how " the arm of Charles Martel saved and delivered the Christian nations of the West from the deadly grasp of all-destroying Islam", and Ranke points out,

"as one of the most important epochs in the history of the world, the commencement of the eighth century, when on the one side Mohammedanism threatened to overspread Italy and Gaul, and on the other the ancient idolatry of Saxony and Friesland once more forced its way across the Rhine. In this peril of Christian institutions, a youthful prince of Germanic race, Karl Martell, arose as their champion, maintained them with all the energy which the necessity for self-defence calls forth, and finally extended them into new regions."

In 1922 and 1923, Belgian historian Henri PirenneHenri Pirenne

Henri Pirenne was a leading Belgian historian....

published a series of papers, known collectively as the "Pirenne Thesis", which remain influential to this day. Pirenne held that the Roman Empire continued, in the Frankish realms, up until the time of the Arab conquests in the 7th century7th century 

The 7th century is the period from 601 - 700 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era....

. These conquests disrupted Mediterranean trade routes leading to a decline in the European economy. Such continued disruption would have meant complete disaster except for Charles Martel's halting of Islamic expansion into Europe from 732 on. What he managed to preserve led to the Carolingian RenaissanceCarolingian Renaissance Overview

The Carolingian Renaissance was a period of intellectual and cultural revival occurring in the late 8th and 9th century, wit...

, named after him.

Professor Santosuosso perhaps sums up Martel best when he talks about his coming to the rescue of his Christian allies in Provence, and driving the Muslims back into the Iberian Peninsula forever in the mid and late 730's

"After assembling forces at Saragossa the Muslims entered French territory in 735, crossed the River Rhone and captured and looted Arles. From there they struck into the heart of Provence, ending with the capture of Avignon, despite strong resistance. Islamic forces remained in French territory for about four years, carrying raids to Lyon, Burgundy, and Piedmont. Again Charles Martel came to the rescue, reconquering most of the lost territories in two campaigns in 736 and 739, except for the city of Narbonne, which finally fell in 759. The second (Muslim) expedition was probably more dangerous than the first to Poiters. Yet its failure (at Martel's hands) put an end to any serious Muslim expedition across the Pyrenees (forever)."

In the Netherlands, a vital part of the Carolingian Empire, and in the low countries, he is considered a hero. In France and Germany, he is revered as a hero of epic proportions.

Skilled as an administrator and ruler, Martel organized what would become the medieval European government: a system of fiefdoms, loyal to barons, counts, dukes and ultimately the King, or in his case, simply maior domus and princeps et dux Francorum. ("First or Dominant Mayor and Prince of the Franks") His close coordination of church with state began the medieval pattern for such government. He created what would become the first western standing army since the fall of Rome by his maintaining a core of loyal veterans around which he organized the normal feudal levies. In essence, he changed Europe from a horde of barbarians fighting with one another, to an organized state.

Beginning of the Reconquista

Although it took another two generations for the Franks to drive all the Arab garrisons out of SeptimaniaSeptimania

  • Charlemagne found Septimania and the borderlands so devastated and depopulated by warfare, with the inhabitants hiding among the ...
and across the PyreneesPyrenees 

[Image:Pic de Bugatet.jpg|thumb|250px|Pic de Bugatet in the Nouvielle Natural Reserve....

, Charles Martel's halt of the invasion of French soil turned the tide of Islamic advances, and the unification of the Frankish kingdoms under Martel, his son Pippin the Younger, and his grandson Charlemagne created a western power which prevented the Emirate of Córdoba from expanding over the Pyrenees. Martel, who in 732 was on the verge of excommunication, instead was recognised by the Church as its paramount defender. Pope Gregory IIFacts About Pope Gregory II

Pope Gregory II, pope from 715 or 716 to February 11, 731, succeeded Pope Constantine, his election being variously dated Ma...

wrote him more than once, asking his protection and aid, and he remained, till his death, fixated on stopping the Muslims. Martel's son Pippin the YoungerPippin the Younger 

Pippin the YoungerPippin's name can be very confusing....

kept his father's promise and returned and took Narbonne by siege in 759759 

Events...

, and his grandson, CharlemagneCharlemagne

Charlemagne was the King of the Franks who conquered Italy and took the Iron Crown of Lombardy in 774 and, on a visit to ...

, actually established the Marca Hispanica across the Pyrenees in part of what today is Catalonia, reconquering Girona in 785785

Events*Widukind and many other Saxons are baptized....

and Barcelona in 801801 Overview

Sorry, no overview for this topic

. This sector of what is now Spain was then called "The Moorish Marches" by the Carolingians, who saw it as not just a check on the Muslims in Hispania, but the beginning of taking the entire country back. This formed a permanent buffer zone against Islam, which became the basis, along with the King of Asturias, named Pelayo (718-737, who started his fight against the Moors in the mountains of CovadongaCovadonga

Covadonga, from Latin Cova dominica, "Cavern of the Lady", is a village in Asturias, northwestern Spain, among the Picos...

, 722) and his descendants, for the Reconquista until all of the Muslims were eradicated from the Iberian Peninsula.

Military legacy

Heavy infantry and permanent army

Victor Davis Hanson argues that Charles Martel launched "the thousand year struggle" between European heavy infantry, and Muslim cavalry. Of course, Martel is also the father of heavy cavalry in Europe, as he integrated heavy armoured cavalry into his forces. This creation of a real army would continue all through his reign, and that of his son, Pepin the Short, until his Grandson, Charlemagne, would possess the world's largest and finest army since the peak of Rome. Equally, the Muslims used infantry - indeed, at the Battle of Toulouse most of their forces were light infantry. It was not till Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi brought a huge force of Arab and Berber cavalry with him when he assumed the emirite of Al-Andulus that the Muslim forces became primarily cavalry.

Martel's army was known primarily for being the first standing permanent army since Rome's fall in 476, and for the core of tough, seasoned heavy infantry who stood so stoutly at Tours. The Frankish infantry wore as much as 70 pounds of armour, including their heavy wooden shields with an iron boss. Standing close together, and well disciplined, they were unbreakable at Tours. Martel had taken the money and property he had seized from the church and paid local nobles to supply trained ready infantry year round. This was the core of veterans who served with him on a permanent basis, and as Hanson says, "provided a steady supply of dependable troops year around." This was the first permanent army since Rome. " While other Germanic cultures, such as the Visigoths or Vandals, had a proud martial tradition, and the Franks themselves had an annual muster of military aged men, such tribes were only able to field armies around planting and harvest. It was Martel's creation of a system whereby he could call on troops year round that gave the Carolingians the first standing and permanent army since Rome's fall in the west.

And, first and foremost, Charles Martel will always be remembered for his victory at Tours. Creasy argues that the Martel victory "preserved the relics of ancient and the germs of modern civilizations." Gibbon called those eight days in 732, the week leading up to Tours, and the battle itself, "the events that rescued our ancestors of Britain, and our neighbors of Gaul [France], from the civil and religious yoke of the Koran." Paul Akers, in his editorial on Charles Martel, says for those who value Christianity "you might spare a minute sometime today, and every October, to say a silent 'thank you' to a gang of half-savage Germans and especially to their leader, Charles 'The Hammer' Martel."

In his vision of what would be necessary for him to withstand a larger force and superior technology (the Muslim horsemen had adopted the armour and accutraments of heavy cavalry from the Sassanid Warrior Class, which made the first knights possible), he, daring not to send his few horsemen against the Islamic cavalry, used his army to fight in a formation used by the ancient GreeksAncient Greece

Ancient Greece is the period in Greek history which lasted for around one thousand years and ended with the rise of Christia...

to withstand superior numbers and weapons by discipline, courage, and a willingness to die for their cause: a phalanx. He had trained a core of his men year round, using mostly Church funds, and some had literally been with him since his earliest days after his father's death. It was this hard core of disciplined veterans that won the day for him at Tours. Hanson emphasizes that Martel's greatest accomplishment as a General may have been his ability to keep his troops under control. This absolute iron discipline saved his infantry from the fate of so many infantrymen - such as the Saxons at Hastings - who broke formation and were slaughtered piecemeal. After using this infantry force by itself at Tours, he studied the foe's forces and further adapted to them, initially using stirrups and saddles recovered from the foe's dead horses, and armour from the dead horsemen.

Development of heavy cavalry

After 732, he began the integration into his army of heavy cavalry, using the armour and accoutrements of heavy armoured horsemen, training his infantry to fight in conjunction with cavalry, a tactic which stood him in good stead during his campaigns of 736-737, especially at the Battle of Narbonne. His incorporation of heavy armoured cavalry into the western forces created the first "knights" in the west.

Brilliant generalship

Martel earned his reputation for brilliant generalship, in an age generally bereft of same, by his ability to use what he had and by integrating new ideas and technology. As a consequence, he was undefeated from 716 to his death against a wide range of opponents, including the Muslim cavalry (at that time, the world's best) and the fierce barbarian Saxons on his own borders -- and all this in spite of virtually always being outnumbered. He was the only general in the Middle Ages in Europe to use the eastern battle technique of feigned retreat. His ability to attack where he was least expected and when he was least expected was legendary. The process of the development of the famous chivalry of France continued in the Edict of PistresEdict of Pistres

The Edict of Pistres is often held up as one of the few examples, if not the sole example, of good government from Charles t...

of his great-great-grandson and namesake Charles the BaldCharles the Bald 

Charles the Bald , Holy Roman Emperor and king of West Francia , was the youngest son of Emperor Louis the Pious, by his ...

.

The defeats Martel inflicted on the Muslims were vital in that the split in the Islamic world left the CaliphateCaliphate

A caliphate, , is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world....

unable to mount an all out attack on Europe via its Iberian stronghold after 750750 

Events...

. His ability to meet this challenge, until the Muslims self-destructed, is considered by most historians to be of macrohistorical importance, and is why DanteDANTE

DANTE is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the var...

writes of him in Heaven as one of the "Defenders of the Faith." After 750, the door to western Europe, the Iberian emirate, was in the hands of the Umayyads, while most of the remainder of the Muslim world came under the control of the Abbasids, making an invasion of Europe a logistical impossibility while the two Muslim empires battled. This put off Islamic invasion of Europe until the TurkishOttoman Empire 

The Ottoman Empire , is also sometimes known in the West as the Turkish Empire....

conquest of the BalkansBalkans 

The Balkans is the historic and geographic name used to describe a region of southeastern Europe....

half a millennium later.

H. G. WellsH. G. Wells

Herbert George Wells was a British writer best known for his science fiction novels such as The Time Machine, The War...

says of Charles Martel's decisive defeat of the Muslims in his "Short History of the World:

"The Moslim when they crossed the Pyrenees in 720 found this Frankish kingdom under the practical rule of Charles Martel, the Mayor of the Palace of a degenerate descendant of Clovis, and experienced the decisive defeat of Poitiers (732) at his hands. This Charles Martel was practically overlord of Europe north of the Alps from the Pyrenees to Hungary."

John H. Haaren says in “Famous Men of the Middle Ages”

”The battle of Tours, or Poitiers, as it should be called, is regarded as one of the decisive battles of the world. It decided that Christians, and not Moslems, should be the ruling power in Europe. Charles Martel is especially celebrated as the hero of this battle.”

Just as his grandson, Charlemagne, would become famous for his swift and unexpected movements in his campaigns, Charles was legendary for never doing what his enemies forecast he would do. It was this ability to do the unforeseen, and move far faster than his opponents believed he could, that characterized the military career of Charles Martel.

It is notable that the Northmen did not begin their European raids until after the death of Martel's grandson, Charlemagne. They had the naval capacity to begin those raids at least three generations earlier, but chose not to challenge Martel, his son Pippin, or his grandson, Charlemagne. This was probably fortunate for Martel, who despite his enormous gifts, would probably not have been able to repel the Vikings in addition to the Muslims, Saxons, and everyone else he defeated. However, it is notable that again, despite the ability to do so, (the Danes had constructed defenses to defend from counterattacks by land, and had the ability to launch their wholesale sea raids as early as Martel's reign), they chose not to challenge Charles Martel.

Conclusion

J.M. Roberts says of Charles Martel in his note on the Carolingians on page 315 of his 1993 History of the World:

It (the Carolingian line) produced Charles Martel, the soldier who turned the Arabs back at Tours, and the supporter of Saint Boniface, the Evangelizer of Germany. This is a considerable double mark to have left on the history of Europe."

Gibbon perhaps summarized Charles Martel's legacy most eloquently: "in a laborious administration of 24 years he had restored and supported the dignity of the throne..by the activity of a warrior who in the same campaign could display his banner on the Elbe, the Rhone, and shores of the ocean."

Family and children

Charles Martel married twice:

His first wife was Rotrude of Treves, (daughter of St. Leutwinus, Bishop of Treves). They had the following children:

HiltrudHiltrud

Hiltrud is a daughter of Charles Martel and Rotrude of Treves....

(d. 754), married Odilo IOdilo of Bavaria 

Odilo, of the house of Agilolfing, ruled Bavaria from 736 until his death in 748, succeeding Duke Hugbert of Bavaria....

, Duke of Bavaria

CarlomanCarloman, son of Charles Martel

Carloman was the son of Charles Martel, major domo or mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, and his wife Chrotrud....

Landrade (Landres), married Sigrand, Count of Hesbania

Auda, Aldana, or Alane, married Thierry IV, Count of Autun and Toulouse

Pippin the Short

His second wife was SwanhildSwanachild

Swanachild was the second wife of Charles Martel, who brought her back from his first campaign in Bavaria in 725, along with...

. They had the following child:

GrifoGrifo

Grifo was the son of the Frankish major domo Charles Martel and his second wife Swanahild....

Charles Martel also had a mistress, RuodhaidRuodhaid

Ruodhaid was a concubine or mistress of Charles Martel with whom she had the following children:...

. They had the following children:

Bernard (b. before 732-787)

Hieronymus

RemigiusRemigius of Rouen

Remigius or Remedius was the illegitimate son of Charles Martel and probably Ruodhaid....

, archbishop of RouenArchbishop of Rouen

The Archbishop of Rouen is Primate of Normandy and one of the fifteen Archbishops of France....

(d. 771)

IanIan

"Ian" is the Scottish Gaelic version of John....

(d. 783)

Ancestors

External links

Ian Meadows, 'The Arabs in Occitania': A sketch giving the context of the conflict from the Arab point of view.

http://www.standin.se/fifteen07a.htm Poke's edition of Creasy's "15 Most Important Battles Ever Fought According to Edward Shepherd Creasy" Chapter VII. The Battle of Tours, A.D. 732.

Richard Hooker, 'Civil War and the Umayyads'

The Battle of Tours 732, from the "Jewish Virtual LibraryJewish Virtual Library

The Jewish Virtual Library is an online encyclopedia published by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise....

" website: A division of the American-Israeli Cooperative.

Tours,Poiters, from "Leaders and Battles Database" online.

Robert W. Martin, 'The Battle of Tours is still felt today', from about.comAbout.com

About.com is a network of sites on about 540 topics that relies on paid human "Guides" to cover a specific topic by providin...

Medieval Sourcebook: Arabs, Franks, and the Battle of Tours, 732

Arabs, Franks, and the Battle of Tours, 732: Three Accounts from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Medieval Sourcebook: Gregory II to Charles Martel, 739

Foundation for Medieval Genealogy

--------------------

Charles Martel (Latin: Carolus Martellus) (ca. 688 – 22 October 741),

Martel was born in Herstal, in present-day Belgium, the illegitimate son of the mayor and duke Pippin II and his concubine Alpaida.

Family and children

Charles Martel married twice:

His first wife was Rotrude of Treves, (690-724) (daughter of St. Leutwinus, Bishop of Treves). They had the following children:

   * Hiltrud (d. 754), married Odilo I, Duke of Bavaria
   * Carloman
   * Landrade (Landres), married Sigrand, Count of Hesbania
   * Auda, Aldana, or Alane, married Thierry IV, Count of Autun and Toulouse
   * Pippin the Short

His second wife was Swanhild. They had the following child:

   * Grifo

Charles Martel also had a mistress, Ruodhaid. They had the following children:

   * Bernard (b. before 732-787)
   * Hieronymus
   * Remigius, archbishop of Rouen (d. 771)
   * Ian (d. 783)

Called Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum (737–43) at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks.

In 739 he was offered the title of Consul by the Pope, but he refused.[6] He is perhaps best remembered for winning the Battle of Tours in 732, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in western Europe.

A brilliant general—he lost only one battle in his career (the Battle of Cologne)

Painting:

Charles Martel is primarily famous for his victory at the Battle of Tours, his stopping the Umayyad invasions of Europe during the Muslim Expansion Era, and his laying the foundation for the Carolingian Empire. (oil on canvas, painted by Charles de Steuben from 1834 till 1837)

--------------------

Charles Martel (Latin: Carolus Martellus)

(ca. 688 – 22 October 741), called Charles the Hammer,

was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum (737–43)

at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks.

In 739 he was offered the title of Consul by the Pope, but he refused.

He is perhaps best remembered for winning the Battle of Tours in 732, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in western Europe.

A brilliant general—he lost only one battle in his career (the Battle of Cologne)—he is a founding figure of the Middle Ages, often credited with a seminal role

in the development of feudalism and knighthood, and laying the groundwork for the Carolingian Empire.

He was also the grandfather of Charlemagne.

BIRTH AND YOUTH

Martel was born in Herstal, in present-day Belgium,

the illegitimate son of the mayor and duke Pippin II and his concubine Alpaida.

The following tale is told of Charles and of the origins of his name: in 676, Pepin of Herstal and his wife

Plectrude were talking together in a room when they were intruded upon by a messenger, bringing news

that the Mayor's mistress, Alpaida,had given birth to a son at Herstal.

The messenger, fearful of arousing the wrath of Plectrude,

decided not to announce the news directly.

Instead, he said: "Long live the king, it is a carl" ('man').

Pepin, equally cautious of his wife, dismissed the messenger as follows: "A carl, is it? Then let him be called that."

This was done, and, so legend claims, the child was named "Carl". In German-speaking countries he is known as Karl Martell.

Alpaida also bore Pepin another son, Childebrand.

CONTESTING FOR POWER

THE FRANKISH KINGDOMS

At the time of the death of Pepin of Heristal.

Note that Aquitaine (yellow) was outside of Arnulfing authority and Neustria and Burgundy (pink)

were united in opposition to further

Arnulfing dominance of the highest offices.

Only Austrasia (green) supported an Arnulfing mayor,

first Theudoald then Charles.

Note that the German duchies to the east of the Rhine

were de facto outside of Frankish suzerainty at this time.

In December 714, Pepin of Heristal died.

Prior to his death, he had, at his wife Plectrude's urging,

designated Theudoald, his grandson by their son Grimoald, his heir in the entire realm.

This was immediately opposed by the nobles because Theudoald was a child of only eight years of age.

To prevent Charles using this unrest to his own advantage, Plectrude had him gaoled in Cologne,

the city which was destined to be her capital.

This prevented an uprising on his behalf in Austrasia, but not in Neustria.Civil war of 715-718

In 715, the Neustrian noblesse proclaimed Ragenfrid mayor of their palace on behalf of, and apparently with the support of Dagobert III, the young king, who in theory had the legal authority to select a mayor, though by this time the Merovingian dynasty had lost most such powers.

The Austrasians were not to be left supporting a woman and her young son for long.

Before the end of the year, Charles Martel had escaped from prison and been acclaimed mayor by the nobles of that kingdom.

The Neustrians had been attacking Austrasia and the nobles were waiting for a strong man to lead them against their invading countrymen.

That year, Dagobert died and the Neustrians proclaimed Chilperic II king without the support of the rest of the Frankish people.

In 717, Chilperic and Ragenfrid together led an army into Austrasia.

The Neustrians allied with another invading force under Radbod, King of the Frisians and met Charles in battle

near Cologne, which was still held by Plectrude.

Charles had little time to gather men, or prepare, and the result was the only defeat of his life.

According to Strauss and Gustave, Martel fought a brilliant battle, but realized he could not prevail because he was outnumbered so badly, and retreated. In fact, he fled the field as soon as he realized he did not have the time or the men to prevail, retreating to the mountains

of the Eifel to gather men, and train them.

The king and his mayor then turned to besiege their other rival in the city and took it and the treasury,

and received the recognition of both Chilperic as king and Ragenfrid as mayor.

Plectrude surrendered on Theudoald's behalf.

Magnanimous in victory

At this juncture, however, events turned in favour of Charles.

Having made the proper preparations, he fell upon the triumphant army near Malmedy as it was returning to its own province, and, in the ensuing Battle of Amblève,

routed it and the few troops who were not killed or surrendered, fled.

Several things were notable about this battle, in which Charles set the pattern for the remainder of his military career:

First, he appeared where his enemies least expected him, while they were marching triumphantly home and far outnumbered him.

He also attacked when least expected, at midday, when armies of that era traditionally were resting.

Finally, he attacked them how they least expected it, by feigning a retreat to draw his opponents into a trap.

The feigned retreat, next to unknown in Western Europe at that time—it was a traditionally eastern tactic—required both extraordinary discipline on the part of the troops and exact timing on the part of their commander.

Charles, in this battle, had begun demonstrating the military genius that would mark his rule, in that he never attacked his enemies where, when, or how they expected, and the result was an unbroken victory streak

that lasted until his death.

In Spring 717, Charles returned to Neustria with an army and confirmed his supremacy with a victory at the Battle of Vincy, near Cambrai.

He chased the fleeing king and mayor to Paris, before turning back to deal with Plectrude and Cologne.

He took her city and dispersed her adherents.

However, he allowed both Plectrude and the young Theudoald to live and treated them with kindness

—unusual for those Dark Ages, when mercy to a former jailer, or a potential rival, was rare.

On this success, he proclaimed Clotaire IV king of Austrasia in opposition to Chilperic and deposed the archbishop of Rheims, Rigobert, replacing him with Milo,

a lifelong supporter.

CONSOLIDATION OF POWER

After subjugating all Austrasia, he marched against Radbod and pushed him back into his territory,

even forcing the concession of West Frisia (later Holland).

He also sent the Saxons back over the Weser and thus secured his borders—in the name of the new king Clotaire, of course.

In 718, Chilperic responded to Charles' new ascendancy by making an alliance with Odo the Great (or Eudes, as he is sometimes known), the duke of Aquitaine, who had made himself independent during the civil war in 715,

but was again defeated, at the Battle of Soissons, by Charles.

The king fled with his ducal ally to the land south of the Loire and Ragenfrid fled to Angers.

Soon Clotaire IV died and Odo gave up on Chilperic and, in exchange for recognising his dukedom, surrendered the king to Charles, who recognised his kingship over all the Franks in return for legitimate royal affirmation of his mayoralty, likewise over all the kingdoms (718).

The Saracen Army outside Paris, 730-32 AD

Foreign wars from 718-732

The ensuing years were full of strife. between 718 and 723, Charles secured his power through a series of victories: he won the loyalty of several important bishops

and abbots (by donating lands and money for the foundation of abbeys such as Echternach),he subjugated Bavaria and Alemannia, and he defeated the pagan Saxons.

Having unified the Franks under his banner, Charles was determined to punish the Saxons who had invaded Austrasia.

Therefore, late in 718, he laid waste their country to the banks of the Weser, the Lippe, and the Ruhr.

He defeated them in the Teutoburg Forest.

In 719, Charles seized West Frisia without any great resistance on the part of the Frisians, who had been subjects of the Franks but had seized control upon the death of Pippin.

Although Charles did not trust the pagans, their ruler, Aldegisel, accepted Christianity, and Charles sent Willibrord, bishop of Utrecht, the famous "Apostle to the Frisians" to convert the people.

Charles also did much to support Winfrid, later Saint Boniface, the "Apostle of the Germans."

When Chilperic II died the following year (720),

Charles appointed as his successor the son of Dagobert III, Theuderic IV, who was still a minor, and who occupied the throne from 720 to 737.

Charles was now appointing the kings whom he supposedly served, rois fainéants who were mere puppets in his hands; by the end of his reign they were so useless

that he didn't even bother appointing one.

At this time, Charles again marched against the Saxons. Then the Neustrians rebelled under Ragenfrid, who had left the county of Anjou.

They were easily defeated (724), but Ragenfrid gave up his sons as hostages in turn for keeping his county.

This ended the civil wars of Charles' reign.

The next six years were devoted in their entirety to assuring Frankish authority over the dependent Germanic tribes.

Between 720 and 723, Charles was fighting in Bavaria,

where the Agilolfing dukes had gradually evolved into independent rulers, recently in alliance with Liutprand the Lombard.

He forced the Alemanni to accompany him, and Duke Hugbert submitted to Frankish suzerainty.

In 725 and 728, he again entered Bavaria and the ties of lordship seemed strong.

From his first campaign, he brought back the Agilolfing princess Swanachild, who apparently became his concubine.

In 730, he marched against Lantfrid, duke of Alemannia,

who had also become independent, and killed him in battle.

He forced the Alemanni capitulation to Frankish suzerainty and did not appoint a successor to Lantfrid.

Thus, southern Germany once more became part of the Frankish kingdom, as had northern Germany during the first years of the reign.

But by 730, his own realm secure, Charles began to prepare exclusively for the coming storm from the south and west.

In 721, the emir of Córdoba had built up a strong army from Morocco, Yemen, and Syria to conquer Aquitaine,

the large duchy in the southwest of Gaul, nominally under Frankish sovereignty, but in practice almost independent

in the hands of the Odo the Great, the Duke of Aquitaine,

since the Merovingian kings had lost power.

The invading Muslims besieged the city of Toulouse,

then Aquitaine's most important city, and Odo (also called Eudes, or Eudo) immediately left to find help.

He returned three months later just before the city was about to surrender and defeated the Muslim invaders on June 9, 721, at what is now known as the Battle of Toulouse.

This critical defeat was essentially the result of a classic enveloping movement by Odo's forces.

(After Odo originally fled, the Muslims became overconfident and, instead of maintaining strong outer defenses around their siege camp and continuous scouting, they did neither.)

Thus, when Odo returned, he was able to launch a near complete surprise attack on the besieging force,

scattering it at the first attack, and slaughtering units caught resting or that fled without weapons or armour.

Due to the situation in Iberia, Martel believed he needed a virtually fulltime army—one he could train intensely

—as a core of veteran Franks who would be augmented with the usual conscripts called up in time of war.

(During the Early Middle Ages, troops were only available after the crops had been planted and before harvesting time.)

To train the kind of infantry that could withstand the Muslim heavy cavalry, Charles needed them year-round,

and he needed to pay them so their families could buy the food they would have otherwise grown.

To obtain money he seized church lands and property, and used the funds to pay his soldiers.

The same Charles who had secured the support of the ecclesia by donating land, seized some of it back between 724 and 732.

Of course, Church officials were enraged, and, for a time, it looked as though Charles might even be excommunicated for his actions.

But then came a significant invasion.

EVE OF TOURS

Historian Paul K. Davis said in 100 Decisive Battles "Having defeated Eudes, he turned to the Rhine to strengthen his northeastern borders - but in 725 was diverted south with the activity of the Muslims in Acquitane."

Martel then concentrated his attention to the Umayyads, virtually for the remainder of his life.

Indeed, 12 years later, when he had thrice rescued Gaul from Umayyad invasions, Antonio Santosuosso noted

when he destroyed an Umayyad army sent to reinforce the invasion forces of the 735 campaigns, "Charles Martel

again came to the rescue".

It has been noted that Charles Martel could have pursued the wars against the Saxons—but he was determined to prepare for what he thought was a greater danger.

It is also vital to note that the Muslims were not aware,

at that time, of the true strength of the Franks,or the fact that they were building a real army instead of the typical barbarian hordes that had dominated Europe after Rome's fall.

They considered the Germanic tribes, including the Franks, simply barbarians and were not particularly concerned about them.

The Arab Chronicles, the history of that age, show that Arab awareness of the Franks as a growing military power came only after the Battle of Tours when the Caliph expressed shock at his army's catastrophic defeat.

BATTLE OF TOURS

Leadup and importance"It was under one of their ablest

and most renowned commanders, with a veteran army,

and with every apparent advantage of time, place,

and circumstance, that the Arabs made their great effort

at the conquest of Europe north of the Pyrenees."

—Edward Shepherd Creasy , The Fifteen Decisive 

BATTLES OF THE WORLD

The Cordoban emirate had previously invaded Gaul

and had been stopped in its northward sweep at the Battle of Toulouse, in 721.

The hero of that less celebrated event had been Odo the Great, Duke of Aquitaine, who was not the progenitor of a race of kings and patron of chroniclers.

It has previously been explained how Odo defeated the invading Muslims, but when they returned,

things were far different.

The arrival in the interim of a new emir of Cordoba, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, who brought with him a huge force

of Arabs and Berber horsemen, triggered a far greater invasion.

Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi had been at Toulouse, and the Arab Chronicles make clear he had strongly opposed

the Emir's decision not to secure outer defenses against a relief force, which allowed Odo and his relief force to attack with impunity before the Islamic cavalry could assemble or mount.

Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi had no intention of permitting such a disaster again.

This time the Umayyad horsemen were ready for battle,

and the results were horrific for the Aquitanians.

Odo the hero of Toulouse was badly defeated in the Muslim invasion of 732 at the battle prior to the Muslim sacking of Bordeaux, and when he gathered a second army, at the Battle of the River Garonne

—Western chroniclers state, "God alone knows the number of the slain"— and the city of Bordeaux was sacked and looted.

Odo fled to Charles, seeking help.

Charles agreed to come to Odo's rescue, provided Odo acknowledged Charles and his house as his overlords,

which Odo did formally at once.

Charles was pragmatic; while most commanders

would never use their enemies in battle, Odo and his remaining Aquitanian nobles formed the right flank of Charles's forces at Tours.

The Battle of Tours earned Charles the cognomen "Martel" ('Hammer'), for the merciless way he hammered his enemies.

After Tours in the subsequent decade, Charles led the Frankish army against the eastern duchies, Bavaria and Alemannia, and the southern duchies, Aquitaine and Provence.

He dealt with the ongoing conflict with the Frisians and Saxons to his northeast with some success, but full conquest of the Saxons and their incorporation into the Frankish empire would wait for his grandson Charlemagne, primarily because Martel concentrated

the bulk of his efforts against Muslim expansion.

So instead of concentrating on conquest to his east, he continued expanding Frankish authority in the west, and denying the Emirate of Córdoba a foothold in Europe beyond Al-Andalus.

After his victory at Tours, Martel continued on in campaigns in 736 and 737 to drive other Muslim armies

from bases in Gaul after they again attempted to get a foothold in Europe beyond Al-Andalus.

WARS FROM 732-737

Between his victory of 732 and 735, Charles reorganized the kingdom of Burgundy, replacing the counts and dukes

with his loyal supporters, thus strengthening his hold on power.

He was forced, by the ventures of Radbod, duke of the Frisians (719-734), son of the Duke Aldegisel who had accepted the missionaries Willibrord and Boniface, to invade independence-minded Frisia again in 734.

In that year, he slew the duke, who had expelled the Christian missionaries, in the battle of the Boarn and so wholly subjugated the populace (he destroyed every agan shrine) that the people were peaceful for twenty years after.

The dynamic changed in 735 because of the death of Odo the Great, who had been forced to acknowledge, albeit reservedly, the suzerainty of Charles in 719.

Though Charles wished to unite the duchy directly to himself and went there to elicit the proper homage of the Aquitainians, the nobility proclaimed Odo's son, Hunold, whose dukedom Charles recognised when the Umayyads invaded Provence the next year, and who equally was forced to acknowledge Charles as overlord as he had no hope of holding off the Muslims alone.

This naval Arab invasion was headed by Abdul Rahman's son.

It landed in Narbonne I

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Charles "Martel", Prince of the Franks's Timeline

676
676
Heristal Austria
680
680
France
686
August 23, 686
Herstal, Liège, Walloon Region, Belgium

This place is now Belgium. The book, 'The Dark Ages', states that Charles was 26 yrs. old at the time of his father's death.

693
December 17, 693
Age 7
France

Feast September 6 and December 17

713
713
Age 26
France
713
Age 26
Moselle, Austrasia
714
714
Age 27
Jupille-sur-Meuse (Liège), Wallonia, Belgium

Jupille, close to the city of Liege, in what is today Belgium.

714
Age 27
714
Age 27
714
Age 27
Austrasia (Karl Martel - Karl of the Hammer)