Talk:Charles Martel

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Dreadfully confused article[edit]

Just 2 examples:

(1) The last para. of "Lead-up" doesn't tell us WHAT happened in 730 where "the results were horrific for the Aquitanians", nor is it explained anywhere earlier in this section.

(2) In "Contemporary historians", the author contrasts "The first, those who believe Gibbon was right in his assessment that Martel saved Christianity and Western civilization by this battle" with "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 Renaissance". These two statements are identical.


Why is he more quoted than anyone else? Surely by now you all know that Gibbons was one of the least objective historians who wrote about Karel Martel? The man was a politician not a real historian. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:41, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Why? Simple. Because this is Wikipedia, hardly a source of objective record. This piece is -er- somewhat one-sided, giving undue weight to the orthodox view and skirting somewhat over the view expressed here in the "...finally..." paragraph. But then, as we all know, history is written by the victors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Who is 'Gibbons'? If you want to criticise historical writings, perhaps you could start by not misspelling important (or any) names. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Early discussions[edit]

The number of 400,000 Moors slain is based on the accounts of a contemprary monk, and as far as I know not taken seriously by modern historians. Any comments? --Mzzl 09:25, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

The best would be to quote the monkish chronicler and quote the Arab historians and state that the figures are doubtless inflated. --Wetman 21:03, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Didn't the battle where Martel beat the Arabs, popularly remembered as the salvation of Europe, take place at Tours? No.

I think it should be mentioned, though -- there's the whole Roland/Tours thing that has been mixed up with Charles Martel and Poitiers...JHK

Charles Martel defeated the Arabs at Poitiers, in year 732.

Just my 2 cents...

Valery Beaud

Valery -- you're absolutely right, and it's the same battle -- for some reason, in English we usually call it the Battle of Tours

--- Charles Martel was probably born in Herstal close to Liege and Aix la Chapelle as his father and many other franks. Not in Heristal. Anyone to comment this ?

JMT-Belgium --- Heristal is an Anglification. It's the same place. Also, When talking about Carolingians, Aix-la-Chapelle is most often called Aachen. JHK

I don't think, despite modern historians attempts to revise history, that there can be much denying the significance of Martel's feat of arms. Without his victory, the Muslims would surely have smashed north. (old bear) --- "But it's also claimed that Arabs had little intention to occupy northern France." This was's only change, and it seems rather vague, so I removed it. Does anybody have any sources on this? --Dd42 19:10, 13 December 2005 (UTC) OLDWINDYBEAR answers: you were correct to remove it. The Arabs own histories make very clear they had every intention of occupying Gaul, all the way to the Rhine.

Only once in history...[edit]

"Only once in history did infantry without bows and arrows or firearms withstand mounted and armoured cavalry."

I think this claim is a little overzealous. I can think of several better known examples off-hand, for example the battle of stirling bridge.

Also, even if the statement were true, it is not what people remember the battle for.

Finally, the above sentence, as it is written, does not belong in an encyclopedia article.

Hence I am removing it. --Henrybaker 02:06, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

i am restoring it, in part, because it does belong in an encyclopedia article. Sterling Bridge did not involve unarmoured infantry holding off heavily mailed horsemen, a feat of arms virtually unheard of, without bows or firearms. Yes, this is accurate, according to accepted histories, (see Gibbons or Sir Edward Creasy, Arnold, Poke -- to name a few historians! -- and it has a place in this encyclopedia. However, i am rewording it, in deference to your feelings that it is improperly worded. OLDWINDYBEAR --- It's based on pretty old information if you're looking at Creasy and Gibbon -- suggest B. Bachrach on Carolingian Warfare, although some of his conclusions are under debate. Changed Most to many because there is plenty of debate on whether the B. of Tours was really that central after all. RESPONSE FROM OLDWINDYBEAR See the new sources I posted at the Battle of Tours site on wikepedia. There is little debate among reputable historians -- with the sole exception of Bernard Lewis -- that Tours was not one of the great turning points in history. It was the last time the united Caliphate had the opportunity to launch an invasion of Europe. According to all Arab histories up until the Ottoman revision of history began, the defeat at Tours was devastating to the Caliphate. The struggle between the desparte Umayyads, the Abbasids, which came to a head during this period, (from the defeat of the Muslim at Tours in 732 to the fall of the Umayyads in 750 -- except in Al-Andulus!) was only 18 years and the aftermath left the Arabs unable to mount another massive invasion before they lost the base they needed to do it from. The door to 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. Bluntly, there was no unified Caliphate to mount an invasion, and no foothold to launch such an invasion from -- instead, Al-Andalus, the Umayyad Emirate was busy fighting off challanges from the Abbasids in Bagdad to think of invading Europe, and the Abbasids, needed the foothold in Iberia which they lacked, could not think of expansion into Europe. Simply put,there was no militarily easy route for an invasion of Europe! It would be centuries later, during the Ottoman Empire, that Islam again threatened Europe -- and they did so by way of the Balkins.

It is stated in article that every Frankish infantry soldier at the Battle of Poitiers wore about 70 pounds of armour. Yet it's ridiculously claimed above that 'unarmored infantry holded off heavıly maıled horseman'. The infantry wore a little less than a man's half weight of armour and still claimed to be unarmoured. what is the criteria for beeing armoured. (talk) 23:50, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


This article must be divided into sections, it is too long. Srnec 20:19, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Srnec I agree, as the Battle of Tours just was. I will divide it tomorrow, and if you check back monday night, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.old windy bear 20:19, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Very well done. The article could still use a little more attention, though, and the campaigns of Martel could be fleshed out a little more (in their own articles now that we have a campaign box). I started the job of subdividing it a while ago, but it wasn't complete. Thanks (and for the section on modern scholarly opinion). Srnec 23:25, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Srnec THANK YOU very much. I have worked very hard on this article - and you are right, it does need further fleshing out. I have sent for an outstanding work on the Carolingians, which contains extensive material on Charles Martel, and combined with what I already have (I own a set of Gibbons original "Decline and Fall" and works by Bernard Lewis, Runican, and the triology on Bzyantium (which delved into the Carolingians, especially Martel and Charlamagne, in their influence in diverting Caliphate resources away from the attacks on the Eastern Empire), plus 2,000 more history books. ANYWAY, using Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels by Antonio Santosuosso, which was published in 2004, and another excellent source just released in the US in 2006, Fighting Tehniques of the Medieval World, by Bennett, Bradsbury, Devries, Dickie and Jestice, (another really good source for Tours -- examining the incredible feat of arms in the Franks withstanding the mailed and mounted Muslim Cavalry, with their lances, while on foot with virtually no armour at all, and only swords and short spears! I am going to further update the modern scholar section. I believe you will be very pleased when the article is finalized. (when I think it is ready, if you would not find, I will leave you a message to come examine it, and see what you think!) Thanks again, old windy bear 01:45, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

More information[edit]

Several people have been making silly changes to this article, I have attempted to change them back as far as I can see. The IP is, which is also the one I was fixing from (it is a school address). Zionyx

This article could use more info on his career after 718 and before 732 and after 732 until his death. It does an excellent job divulging his consolidation of power and the leadup to and battle and legacy of Tours, but not many specific acts of Charles' outside of these are mentioned. What about his confiscation of church property and wars against Aquitainians and Saxons and relations with Lombardy? I'll add what I can when I can. Finally, should "pope" be capitalised when following "the"? I would have said not. Srnec 21:12, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Srnec I am in the process of adding a section of his confiscation of Church property to pay his army, and his wars with the Aquitainians and Saxons. Of course, the Moors took care of the former, when they destroyed Eudes army, and he was forced to seek refuge, and give allegiance, to Martel, and the later, Martel was smart enough to do just enough to hold them at bay -- he knew the greater danger lay in the east, with the gathering storm from the Islamic invasions. Reading the Arab chronicles of the time, they were definate that the defeat at Tours was regarded as catestrophic. (which from their point of view it certainly was, to paraphrase Creasy, at a point and time of their chosing, with an immense host better armed and armoured, they made their great try at invading Europe, and not only lost to an inferior foe -- Martel's men were brave enough, and superbly disciplined, but they simply were not as well armed - no armoured horsemen! And they were probably outnumbered. Yet they defeated a first rate general in Abd er Rahman!) In short, I will address the issues you have brought up, today and tomorrow, (I am picking up a book on the Carolingians tomorrow which gives more specific dates on these very subjects!) old windy bear 20:25, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

It is interesting that, at the beginning of his career, Charles Martel had to raise on Clotaire IV as king, but by 737 there was no need to appoint a successor to Theuderic IV. Clearly, his reign completely changed the dynamics of rulership in Francia, the hallowed Merovingian line was necessary to legitimise his authority early on, but his fighting on behalf of the nation and Christendom apparently changed this, he had legitimised his own rule himself and no king was needed. His sons may have feared that they had not yet proved themselves when they appointed Childeric III in 742. Pepin's assumption of the title of king in 751 was probably an attempt to make the power won by he and his ancestors perminent for his descendants. Srnec 21:36, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Srnec You are absolutely 100% right -- early on, he needed a king, later, he made them, as his but his fighting on behalf of the nation and Christendom apparently changed this, he had legitimized his own rule himself -- and is remembered 1300 years later as Christiandom's champion! old windy bear 23:39, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Srnec Thank you to you also! We have worked together well, and produced an article that is already sufficient to mark as good! I had hoped to add an additional quote from Gibbons, and another from the Arab Chronicles of the time. I will look for another image. Seriously, wasn't he an incredible man? His military achievements alone merit the title of greatness, but they were not the total of the man. He was able to resist the urge to conquer to the east, while the threat lay in the west, even if it meant less immediate reward. He cared naught for titles, as you so eloquently pointed out, yet used his power for enormous good. I am not seeking to say he was perfect - history says he tolerated fools poorly, and the burdens of defending christianity cut his life short with the stress. But if the measure of greatness is seeing a larger goal than personal enrichment, Martel earned the title "great," because history, western and eastern, says that he saw a clear danger to his children and their children, and chose to meet it, and defeat it, when the odds said he could simply not do it. And then he stole their weapons and armour, and (as you well know!) Then by his grandson's day, the basis of his army was his legendary paladins, knights, with weapons and armour taken straight from the Arabs and improved on with the addition of the buckler! Then he was the man who set the political and economic institutions in place that kept the Carolingian Empire running another century and a half! Srnec, I will try and find my quotes, but instead of just inserting them, will run them by you, and see how they fit in the total article you basically rewrote. And a fine job you did! Thanks! old windy bear 03:04, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

charles martel[edit]

Srnec I moved that paragraph which you so rightly observed needed to be in a different location. I moved it to legacy -- please check it, I think it fits there, but if you do not, i will move it again. But I believe you will find it appropriately there. old windy bear 03:23, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Went through the article last night and tonight and added links to everything important. If there were multiple mentions of the same thing in each paragraph then I linked them all, under the mentality that not everyone is going to read the article from start to finish, but rather just jump in when they find the relevant section and passage, so I didn't want them to miss a link if they didn't read the first sentence it was in. Corrected various spelling and grammatical errors. Some of them weren't errors per se, but I changed some awkward wording around so it sounds a bit better now. user:KnowledgePirate 19:17, 2 march 2006

user:KnowledgePirate Welcome. We are really trying to make this a model article, so anyone who wants to help is appreciated!old windy bear 13:32, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

You most certainly have. This is one of the best Wikipedia articles I've seen. Charles Martel led a fascinating life and you've done a great job chronicling it. A.V. 20:38, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

A.V. Thank you very much! User:Srnec and myself have worked probably the past six months on this article, and we are very proud of it - I honestly believe it is the best, most comprehensive, fairest, look at the most fascinating figure of the middle ages. Despite his grandson getting more press, Charles Martel is the true father of the Holy Roman Empire, and feudal Europe. While that was not a great system, it prevented Islamic takeover of Europe, and ultimately made possible the Renascence. A lot of people helped, and we are grateful to all of them. Charles sure was a fascinating figure, wasn't he? The very real master of virtually all of modern europe at his life's end, he never cared about titles, or riches, or a court, or any of the trappings of power! old windy bear 02:12, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Issue of titling Europe "Catholic"[edit]

I prefer to simply say christian europe, when we are defining what Martel was defending, because at that point, there were no Protestants, and the only christians in Europe were catholic,(even the schism between Roman and Greek had not occurred! Does anyone feel this is incorrect? If we say only Roman Catholic Europe we imply that some form of christianity would have been spared a complete Muslim triumph. While, assuming they honored the Pact of Umar, they would have allowed some freedom of religion, as they did in Al-Andulus, there would most likely not have been a reformation, etc. Opinions, anyone?old windy bear 21:03, 3 March 2006 (UTC)\

christian or catholic church?[edit]

User:Srnec Om the issue of historical accuracy, technically, "Catholic" means universal in latin, (or as close a translation as is possible, but it carries connotations that modern users could misconstrue. At that point, in 734a.d. the split between the Greek and Roman wings of the church had not taken place, and there was only ONE christian church. For that reason, I would suggest that christian is more historically correct, since there was no christian church except that of Rome and Constandinople, which at that point, were feuding, but not broken. Feelings? Srnec, my worry is that people would misunderstand, and think there were more than one church, when at that point in christian history, it was not true. It would be hundreds of years before the two wings of the catholic church split, and hundreds more after that before there were christians who were not "catholic." therefore, historically, for accuracy, I believe the word christian is most approrpriate. Thoughts? (rememeber many of our users are students who assume, and would assume from the word catholic there was more than one church to defend, when in fact, there was only one at that point in history.(unless we are talking about the Copts, a relatively minor sect, which has no bearing on this issue! old windy bear 03:39, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

User:Srnec I think you are right, and "western europe" including Italy and Rome, a more accurate description. Gibbons certainly believed the fate of all christianity hinged on this one battle, didn't he? I think a mid view is more realistic, as you point out, Orthadox Christians were already out on the russian steppes, and the Eastern Empire had survived the onslaught of Islamic expansion at it's height. It was in the west, and Rome (certainly the Popes knew how valuable the franks were as they began becoming essentially their protectors with Pippin! (Martel was too busy using the Lombards to aid him at Narbonne to risk a war with them!) old windy bear 11:47, 6 March 2006 (UTC)


Someone changed the article to say that Martel got his name for hammering the arabs. With respect, this is incorrect. Although it was Tours, and the smashing of the Muslim army, that earned him that cognomen, the army was Berbers, Persians, Greeks, and a plethoria of nationalities fighting under the Caliphate banner. Therefore I changed it back to the original wording, as it is incorrect to say that the army was "Arab."old windy bear 00:45, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

OWB, I was going to post on this very issue. See my comments on the Battle of Tour article re: the same. Nomenclature in both articles concerning Muslims/Arabs/Moors/etc. is inconsistent at best. The whole article can be reworked. Thoughts?--Jonashart 20:50, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

reverting the article pending discussion of major changes[edit]

Baber khairi A complete rewrite of the article, which is what you did, requires discussion, and consensus to make the changes. I understand if you wish to present a differing viewpoint - though I dispute it is a unitary Islamic viewpoint, (certainly you repeatedly impugn the name of Emir Abd er Rahman, who is described in the history of the time, the Islamic history, as the best of the governors of Al-Andulas. Also Arab histories written during that period and for the next seven centuries make clear that Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi Abd al Rahman’s defeat and death was regarded, and MUSLIM scholars believe, as a catastrophe of major proportions. As to your repeatedly heaping blame on him for the disaster at Toulouse (where he not was not in command, but had protested the failure to defend against a relief force!) and Tours, (where his failure to scout certainly is an enormous factor, but his choice to give battle was not altogether a bad one - he had no way of imagining the tactics and tricks Charles would play on him - a good general lost to a great one and a second rate army beat a first rate one thereby). Islamic history refutes your slanders best: (translated from Arabic) "This deadly defeat of the Moslems, and the loss of the great leader and good cavalier, Abderrahman, took place in the hundred and fifteenth year." (Islamic Calendar) This, from the portion of the history of the Umayyad Caliphate, and the great Arab period of expansion. You simply cannot rewrite the entire article without discussion, that violates the 27 rules of editing, which require that:

  • you post facts in disputes;
  • await reply;
  • seek agreement
  • if facts remain in dispute seek a peer review;
This article had been extensively reviewed by both Islamic and western writers, and received the 4th highest ranking that a history article can be given. You simply cannot rewrite it without following the rules. Certainly we can discuss changes to the Islamic presentation, but you cannot simply rewrite the entire article without discussion. It will automatically be reverted until you comply with the 27 rules of engagement, enumerated at .
I stress I am certainly willing to discuss changes, and facts in dispute, but I cannot, and will not let you unilaterally rewrite history. Furthermore, with all respect, you have not even studied the Islamic histories of the times, The Arab Chornicles, which present Tours as a disaster of catestrophic proportions for the Caliphate - and yes, I read Arabic so I have read them in their original form. Further, as earlier noted, no serious Muslim historian rates the defeat at Toulouse, where the Muslims were lax in securing against an attack from a relief army, which Eudes used to essentially flank and infiltrate the Muslims before they could mount and engage his army in open battle, with Tours, where Emir Abd er Rahman, a rightous man and great commander, was killed in a battle he clearly should have won. (Indeed, the Emir's utter destruction of Eudes at the River Garonne and Bordeaux, Bordeaux's sack and the horrific slaughter of Christians at the River Garonne answered that question for all time!)
And while you claim "recent studies" - what recent studies? Who wrote them? Are you talking about Norwich, the most widely read authority on the Eastern Roman Empire, who says (AND RECENTLY) the Franks halting Muslim Expansion at Tours literally preserved Christianity as we know it. A more modern, in 2004, viewpoint may be found in Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels by Antonio Santosuosso, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Western Ontario, and considered an expert historian in the era in dispute in this article. It was published in 2004, and has quite an interesting modern expert opinion on Charles Martel, Tours, and the subsequent campaigns against Rahman's son and successor in 736-737. Santosuosso makes a compelling case that these defeats of invading Muslim Armies, were at least as important as Tours in their defense of western Christianity, and the preservation of those Christian monastaries and centers of learning which ultimately led Europe out of the dark ages. He also makes a compelling case that while Tours was unquestionably of macrohistorical importance, the later battles were at least equally so. So what historians are you quoting, so we may read them?
Your points that Rahman need not have scouted Europe in advance ignored the Islamic conquest period in toto, for instance, the Caliph Umar scouted the Sassanid Empire extensively before having Walid lead his armies in, just as he did the Bzyantine Empire before seizing it's themes in the mid-east and Africa! Scouting a potential rival before conquest is the most basic of military actions, and key to most of the conquests the Caliphate won. You are ignoring the fact that 4 separate Emirs of al-Andalus, over a 25 year period used a Fatwa from the Caliph to levy troops from all provinces of Africa, Syria, and even Turkomens who were beginning conversion, to raise 4 huge invading armies, well supplied and equipped, with the intention of permanent expansion across the Pyrenees into Europe. Muslim history of the period makes the army led by Emir Abd er Rahman the one the Caliph expected to end his border problems and expand into the remainder of the old Roman Empire. Every point you made is disputed not by western historians alone, as you presented, but by ISLAMIC historians of that era. Again, should you wish to rewrite the article, you must post facts in dispute, source those facts - your version might be partially appropriate for the contemporary Muslim section, but you would have to submit factual sourcing, including the modern histories, et al.. and await reply, discuss and seek agreement, otherwise your edits will be reverted.
Your arguments against indirect attack, where you claim giving battle to Odo was paramount, are simply without any basis in reality, and ignores the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia from 1219 to 1221, which absolutely used those tactics to destroy the largest Islamic Empire since Alp Arslan's, and the second largest since the unified Caliphate, using precisely those tactics of indirect attack you disparage. Indeed, the Mongols demonstrated by circumventing weaker forces to destroy your paramount enemy first, you destabilize a stronger opponent and destroy him piecemeal. Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad commanded twice the number of troops, and good ones, which invaded his realm - and was utterly destroyed by indirect attack. Respectfully, this is ISLAMIC history you are ignoring.
As is, you are not even citing the Caliphate histories of the era correctly, let alone contemporary Islamic historians. Contemporary Arab and Muslim historians and chroniclers are much more interested in the second Umayyad siege Arab defeat at Constantinople in 718, which ended in an utterly disastrous defeat, with much of the army literally starving. After the first Arab siege of Constantinople (674-678) ended in complete failure, the Umayyad Caliphate attempted a second attack on the city to finish the Bzyantine Greeks once and for all time. An 80,000 strong army led by the Caliph Umar II's brother Maslama, crossed the Bosporus from Anatolia to besiege Constantinople by land, while a gigantic fleet of Arab war galleys, somewhere between 1,800 and 2,000, sailed into the Sea of Marmara to the south of the city. Nonetheless,Greek Fire, Bulgar assistance by land to intercept resupply, and the Land Walls of the city resulted in a horrific defeat. In Europe, the defeat of the naval invasion, primarily the Battle at the River Berre is discussed. The later era "invasions" you cite were nothing of the kind, they were simply raids by horsemen for loot. Your revision of history is simply wrong. In any event, it has to be disputed here, wait for reply, discussed, citing sources, and if agreement cannot be reached, referred to a peer review. You cannot simply disregard history both Muslim and western writers worked on, and rewrite unilaterally, for POV. old windy bear 21:59, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

change to civil war section[edit]

User: good observation on Martel's legendary ability to move with incredible speed, and to do the unexpected. I hope you don't mind, but I moved that comment to his military legacy, which is where it really belongs, but again, good observation. old windy bear 19:45, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Norwich sources?[edit]

old windy bear,

I was curious what book you are using to cite Norwich. I am interested in reading the book you quoted. Thanks in advance!

He is quoted in several places on the Franks, but I would recommend his Bzyantium series. All of them are worth reading, but if you want that specific volume, let me know, so I can cite it precisely for you - but I would advise reading them all, because they will give you a wonderful perspective on the Eastern Roman Empire that is greatly misunderstood, especially given Gibbons preoccupation with how "bad" the Eastern Empire was, and the struggle between Christianity, Islam, and the Crusades. (not knocking Gibbons, but in this case, I think Norwich is superior to the original volume of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire "Mohammad and the Arabs.") old windy bear 09:59, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

(I hope I am doing this correclty -> editing the entry to post a reply [sorry if I am not])

Anyway, the specific quotes I am looking for are:

" John Julius Norwich, the most widely-read authority on the Byzantine Empire, says the Franks halting Muslim Expansion at Tours literally preserved Christianity as we know it."

That are right there ^... which volume of his Byzantine history series does that come from?

Thank you in advance!

No, you are doing fine, and I will get you the volume and page number, and if you wish, where you can purchase the book. old windy bear 03:23, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Oldwindybear -

Did you find the sources?

Hello OldWindyBear,

Which Norwich books did the quote about CHarles Martel come from? Just tellin me the title is fine and I'll look for it on and the library, thank you!

Because the conclusions were paraphrased, they were removed and replaced with exact quotes, since it was obvious where you were going with this. And in any case where language has become an issue, it is best to use EXACT quotations. EVERY quote in the article is now a precise copy from a readily accessible source.old windy bear 19:09, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Second invasion[edit]

This is text moved out of the Battle of Tours article as it pertains to the later campaigns. Some already exists in this article, the rest can be added in as desired.

"This naval Arab invasion was headed by Abdul Rahman's son. It landed in Narbonne in 736 and moved at once to reinforce Arles and move inland. Charles temporarily put the conflict with Hunold on hold, and descended on the Provençal strongholds of the Muslims. In 736, he retook Montfrin and Avignon, and Arles and Aix-en-Provence with the help of Liutprand, King of the Lombards. Nîmes, Agde, and Béziers, held by Islam since 725, fell to him and their fortresses were destroyed. He crushed one Muslim 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 it's use again as a stronghold for Muslim expansion. He then moved swiftly and defeated a mighty host outside of Narbonnea at the River Berre, utterly destroying the primary Muslim invasion force, 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. 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.

The defeated Muslim Armies were faced at the River Berre, for the first time, by heavy cavalry of the Franks, which Martel used in coordination with his phalanx. He crushed the Muslim army, though outnumbered. Having freed the remainder of Provence, and successfully rid of its foreign occupiers, he contained the Muslims to the city of Narbonne, and left them without sufficient forces to do anything but hide within those walls.Notable about these campaigns was Charles' incorporation, for the first time, of heavy cavalry with stirrups to augment his phalanx. His ability to coordinate infantry and cavalry veterans was unequalled in that era and enabled him to face superior numbers of invaders, and decisively defeat them again and again. Some historians believe Narbonne in particular was as imporant a victory for Christian Europe as Tours. Charles was that rarest of commodities in the dark ages: a brilliant strategic general, who also was a tactical commander par excellence, able in the crush and heat of battle to adapt his plans to his foes forces and movement -- and amazingly, defeated 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 brave 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 foes superior weaponry and tactics; third, he adapted, again and again, to the enemy on the battlefield, cooly shifting to compensate for the foreseen and unforeseeable." Kaisershatner 18:26, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Kaisershatner I have supported your edits and will continue to do so. I have a habit of providing more information that probably the article needed. This article is undoubtedly the place for the information you moved out of the Battle of Tours In any event, your work is superior, and I support it. old windy bear 23:46, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Gibbon -> where did this quote come from?[edit]

[Gibbon called him "the paramount prince of his age" and a strong argument can be made that Gibbon was absolutely correct.]

Where does Gibbon call Charles Martel "the paramount prince of his age" -- is this in his history of the Roman Empire series? Thanks. Urbana

Urbana Actually, he called Charles Martel, in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," word for word, "the hero of the age," (which is far stronger language - we were trying to avoid POV, but your non-stop attempts to find fault simply force the use of more foreful language!), and "Christiandom...delivered... by the genius and good fortune of one man, Charles Martel." Don't bother with your phoniness. We know what you are doing. You will catch a cold on this - do you want the exact page? Actually, you should go find it, unless you file a language challange. I personally like "hero of the age" and "Christiandom...delivered... by the genius and good fortune of one man, Charles Martel," better than what was there, but tried to use less powerful language to avoid looking like we were advocating a position, but since you want exactitude, fine with me. I am also adding Gibbon's comment on the Islamic invasions and Charles Martel "in the public danger, he was summoned by the voice of his country." Gibbon also 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. Want anymore quotes? old windy bear 11:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

old windy bear Hey bear, this is genuinely funny. I could not help but notice this person trying to challange you the other day when I asked about Flavius Aetius, now he is trying to challange you on Gibbon, and each time he ends up with a stronger quote in place than was present previously. That is exactly what happened with B & C, you tried to tone down the quotes by paraphrasing, to avoid accusations of point of view, and ended up with far stronger language as someone tried to accuse you of weasel words. This is humorous. You were trying to tone down the language with "paramount prince of the age," and ended up using the precise quote, "hero of the age," which is far more powerful. You would think people would learn - beating you on the quote game is not going to happen. Stillstudying Max 13:00, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

That's not what I am doing at ALL!! Oh my gosh I'm sorry if thats the perception this is taking. I'm a HUGE fan of Charles Martel and what I'm doing is going through all the sources to find out more about him for a class discussion. In this discussion I have to list the references where I found my information. I'm not doing this to grill you, to pigeon hole facts in this article, I'm not an a-hole like that. I'm not here to destroy this article. When I discuss Charles Martel in class though I will need the sources. I am very thankful for all the help I have been receiving from you Oldwindybear... again I'm not here to destroy this article I understand that is the perception it is taking. Urbana 18:19, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Urbana I prefer to believe you, and assume wikipedia good faith, so in that event, do you need any other references, if so, let me know? I am also a huge fan of Martel's, who dominated his age as thoroughly as any man ever did, especially considering he was harnessed to a second rate military against the world's best. To aid you, here are the Gibbon quotes and the pages, and I can do the same on any other quotes. Many are online, but for the hardback 3 volume full version of Gibbon's orginal work:

Christiandom...delivered... by the genius and good fortune of one man, Charles MartelPAGE 1859 Decline and Fall...
content with the titles of Mayor or Duke of the Franks, but he deserved to become the father of a line of kingsPAGE 1859
in the public danger, he was summoned by the voice of his countryPAGE 1859
"hero of the age"PAGE 1685 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. old windy bear 18:35, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the assistance, however, as long as I had the EXACT quote I can locate it in Gibbon's Decling and Fall of the Roman Empire. I've located all the phrases and even more that are of use. Thank you though for asking. I've gone through most of the quotes on the page as well as the references listed and found them a tremendous help. At this time though, there's nothing that I need help with. Thank you though! Urbana 22:04, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Urbana You are more than welcome -- on any of the articles I have helped write, I do keep a list of the quotes, and even paraphrasing, (from original materials), so sources can be named. If you need any assistance, you need merely ask. You are right that Gibbon has a horde of really good quotes on Martel, (one that comes to mind that I did not use was that "in a laborious administration of 24 years he had restored and supported the dignity of the the activity of a warrior who in the same campaign coud display his banner on the Elbe, the Rhone, and shores of the ocean.") Another I liked, about Tours, was "Yet the victory of the Franks was complete and final...the Arabs never resumed the conquest of Gaul, and they were soon driven beyond the Pryenees by Charles Martel and his valient race." And much more! I do have all the books cited in the article, so if you do come to need any specific citation, just email me. You will do well in the class. (I do have to say, you, myself, Stillstudying, anyone who wades their way through all the entire original books of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire are either genuinely interested in history, or gluttons for punishment!)old windy bear 23:40, 6 July 2006 (UTC)


Saying that "[t]here were no further Muslim invasions of Frankish territory" and citing a tertiary source like the EB doesn't make it true. The raids from Fraxinetum in the 9th and 10th centuries were Muslim invasions, from a base in "Frankish territory" which was Muslim-controlled for nearly a century, and the seaborne raids from the Maghreb would likely qualify. Angus McLellan (Talk) 13:52, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Historically, Raids were not Invasions[edit]

Angus McLellan I am certainly not trying to belittle your historical knowledge, but, first, respectfully, you must understand, (which I am sure you do), the historical and military difference between raids, which have no ability or intent for long term occupation for conquest, and invasions, which have every intent of doing both. Secondly, the sources which provide the historical and military perspectve that the raids which you refer to were not invasions are Sir Edward Creasy - considered the greatest military historian of western history - and Gibbons, to name two, not EB. (I know you are familiar with the Gibbon quote, which you fail to address, which remains the prevailing historial view, or Sir Edward Creasy's legandary analysis of the Islamic invasion of Europe) Both of them, and Watson, to name three, consider that Tours was the last great invasion of the Islamic expansion era. That view is somewhat disputed by Antonio Santosuosso, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Western Ontario, and considered an expert historian in the era in dispute in this article. He published a very interesting book in 2004, and has quite an interesting modern expert opinion on Charles Martel, Tours, and stresses the subsequent campaigns against Rahman's son and successor in 736-737, as the last great gasp of expansion prior to the Battle of the Zab ending any ability of the Caliphate to mount a sustained invasion into Europe.

You are certainly knowledgable enough that you know that the accepted historical view is that the Islamic expansion era ended with the Battle of the Zab, in 751, and that the last significant Islamic base in Carolingian territory was Narbonne, which Peppin the Short retook in 759. Gibbon's view that Tours ended the Islamic invasion of Europe is generally still accepted, though Santosuosso's arguments that the campaigns of 736-7 were of macrohistorical importance because they also represented a serious effort at conquest has merit. I know of no major historian that views Fraxinet as a serious effort at conquest, or the other raids that occurred from Islamic territories, such as the seaborne raids you cite from the Maghreb. (20 corsairs landing and pillaging up and down considered an "invasion?" No historian I know of maintains that could possibly qualify as an invasion! And again, not to quibble over semantics, it does not matter what you or I think qualifies as an invasion, original research is strictly prohibited on wikipedia - so what matters is what historians think)

EB simply provided a good quote. I refer you also to the history of the Umayyad Emirite of Al-Andalus and the Abbasid Caliphate, and the conflict during the periods you reference between the two, and those histories show neither establishing permanent bases for subsequent conquest in or of Carolingian territories. Those incursions you referred to were merely for loot, and had no permanence. Yes, Fraxinetum (or Fraxinet if we are using the Islamic name) was a base for raids, but historically it is not regarded as a base for conquest, merely a base from which raiders could carry out their activities in the weakened Carolingian territory. The rendering of the Caliphate into warring factions left the Islamic world without the ability to mount a sustained invasion after 751. (There is a very good reason the Islamic expansion era historically is pegged as ending after the Battle of the Zab in 751) I am not trying to do a Rex on you, but explain that the raids you refer to simply were not efforts at conquest - they were attacks for loot during the period that the Carolingians were in decline, the Caliphate splintered, and the Vikings terrorizing all of Europe. The Andulusians at Fraxinet were essentially brigands. If you have historical sources which will sustain an argument that those raids intended permanent conquest and Islamization of the affected territories, please name them, because that view is certainly not in the mainstream of either western or eastern history. I know of no historian that regards Fraxinetum as anything other than a base for raids. Again, I respect your knowledge those incursions happened, but you certainly are well read enough to know that they were not invasions in the military or historical sense of the word. old windy bear 00:23, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Feigned retreat question[edit]

To the best of my knowledge, Charles Martel was the only european general to use the feigned retreat regularly during the dark ages. If anyone has any reputable sourcing indicating otherwise, it would be appreciated. Otherwise, the statement stays as it is. As everyone knows, the feigned retreat was primarily an eastern tactic, perfected by the Mongols, though Roman legions at their zenith were well disciplined enough to use it. But I know of no dark age EUROPEAN army which did, other than Martel's. old windy bear 00:24, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

No idea, but I will have a think. What's the origin of the claim anyway ? Angus McLellan (Talk) 01:14, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Angus McLellan Hi Angus, how are you? changed the article to say "the first" european general to use the feigned retreat in the dark ages, when to the best of my knowledge, he was the ONLY western general to use it during the dark ages. (Certainly eastern generals used it, as you are as well aware as i am at least, Flavius Belisarius, for instance, certainly used it, as did Sassanid commanders), but again, to the best of my knowledge, Martel was the only western commander to use it during the dark age period. He used it first at the Battle of Amblève, and several times thereafter. I changed the article back until someone comes up with a source showing another western commander using it during the dark age period. Good to "talk" to you by the way! Any help you can give on this, if there is a source I am unaware of, would be greatly appreciated. old windy bear 01:38, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks . I had a look through the Life of Pepin the Old and Pseudo-Fredegar, and I didn't find much information at all on Amblève, so my question is more "where does the info in the Battle of Amblève article come from ?" The Annales Mettenses (you can download MGH volume I from Gallica, just search for the title "Monumenta Germaniae historica") don't have much information on the battle. Sub anno 717 they have "... sed in loco qui dicatur Ambleva, Karolo in eos [the Austrasian army] inruente, maximum dispendum perpessi sunt." So my question relates to the primary source for the battle and feigned retreat, as the Annals of Metz version appears to read like an ambush or surprise. If Halsall or Bacharach are the source, they'll surely provide a ref. By the way, there's an article by Bacharach on Charlemagne's Rhine-Danube canal project in John Lynn's Feeding Mars if that would be of interest. Thanks again. Angus McLellan (Talk) 13:25, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Oops. Paying attention, I see that the annal I quoted from is the short Annal of Metz. The Annales Mettenses proper on dMGH have a much longer account. Angus McLellan (Talk) 16:34, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Angus McLellan Hey Angus! THANKS for the help. Most accounts do have it as more of a classic ambush, but he evidently drew them out, (because as with most battles he fought), they outnumbered him. The Annales do describe it (I think, please correct me if I am in error!) as a classic ambush and surprise attack, (also classic to Martel, he appeared where his foes least expected him, when they least expected him - who else during that period would attack at noon?) with movement to draw them out. That required a degree of discipline and generalship generally unknown in the west during the dark age period, as you are, again, at least as well aware as I am. I also believe I recall a description of this battle as using feigned retreat in Early Carolingian Warfare: Prelude to Empire by Bachrach. Any assistance you can give is gratefully appreciated on the whole issue. old windy bear 19:36, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Gibbon and Watson[edit]

I must reissue here my concern that Watson specifically disagrees with Gibbon and said about him he "exaggerated the significance" of this battle. Watson also says the battle was not part of a larger scheme of Muslims to conquer Europe, nor that this battle was decissive for the outcome of the conflict between Christians and Muslims in southern Gaul. Watson infers the macrohistorical significance of the battle in a different way: the control for a part of the territory of the later Carolingian Empire, and perhaps even the success of Carolingian dynasty itself. Therefore I find the section on the outcome of the battle a POV and a mispresentation of even the quoted sources. I won't tag the section for the time being because I believe a relatively simple edit can fix the things. Let me know if you have any objections/comments and then let's modify the article accordingly. Cheers. Daizus 11:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Daizus Greetings my friend! I agree with you, and am in the process of writing the needed edits, which I will have begun posting, since I wrote most of this. Let me know whether you think they are sufficient - i think you will be pleased. old windy bear 20:13, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Charles Martel and the Church[edit]

I find a bit overlooked the issues between Martel and the Frankish Church.

  • the Frankish Church was in a crisis since mid 7th century. That must be one of the causes for why Martel replaced many of the existing clerics with his favorites. The other being obviously the installing of his own men.
  • the seizing of ecclesiastical properities was not only in the eve of the Muslim invasions. Right after his victories over Neustrians he started to hunt the bishops of Rheims, Orléans, Auxerre and replaced them with his men. Grimo, the abbot installed at Corbie was part of the Carolingian family! At the same time, some of the ecclesiastical properties were simply confiscated.
  • the seizing accusations come also mostly from ecclesiastical chronicles - but this is quite a common phenomenon in the era (P. Riché uses the reference E. Lesne - Histoire de la proprieté ecclésiastique, 1992)
  • as the ecclesiastical properties were excepted from some taxes and has some other priviledges (i.e. the royal agents were forbidden to enter those properties to judge people or to call them to army), there was also a tendency of the aristocrats to grab them
  • the "contracts" between Martel and various individuals are ultimately binding the latter to Martel. This perhaps also was influential in gathering an army to fight in Southern Gaul, but I don't think this was the only cause as it is currently pictured in the article. Daizus 11:43, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Daizus Hanson wrote a fascinating article on charles use of church property to assure a steady supply of reliable troops, mostly the heavy infantry which campaigned with him all over Europe. I think there is sufficient evidence that he saw the Umayyads as the primary threat, (his use of bribes, for instance, to secure his eastern borders, as he began to shift his primary strength to the west, after Toulouse, his ferocious attacks on them after Tours in his last campaigns, his complete abandonment of expansion in the east to concentrate on preventing expansion of the Caliphate into Gaul) though he certainly did not fight them alone! Some rewording is in order - I will take care of it, and I believe you will be pleased.old windy bear 20:15, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
As we have discussed elsewhere, Hanson promotes a certain thesis: the history of mankind is related to the history of aggresivity, warfare and technological progress and some specific values, which in the end brought the success of Western civilization. These being said we must be cautious on his proposed causalities.
Riché, dedicating a much larger space to Frankish Church, doesn't relate at all Martel's early conflicts with various bishops to his campaigns in south. On contrary, it includes it in quite a large practice of the time (strenghtening own position), augmented by the crisis of the Frankish Church in late 7th century.
As the royal power faded and many monasteries started to exist without proper authorization, the dioceses faded themselves. Clerics started to use armed force to seize properties, for example, Savaric/Savary, bishop in Auxerre, with the help of a small army subdued Orléans, Nevers, Troyes and even made an attempt against Lyon. His succesor, Ainmar/Aymard, subdued almost the entire Burgundy. Many bishop seats were held by members of the aristocratic families. The nephew of Pippin II, Hugo, was bishop in Rouen, Paris, Bayeux. The Widonides claimed the seats from Trier and Reims.
Martel after pushing Neustrians had to struggle against these local centres of power, but also against Saxons, Frisians and also the German territories (Bavaria, Alemannia) escaping his control. So at this time I can't see him following Ummeyad advance in the remote territories from south outside his interest. Let's also remember Charles started his adventure south on the call of Odo.
Anyway, let's note that after his victory upon Neustrians he hunted the ecclesiastical seats and lands described above. According to Riché and Lesne, these phenomena are not isolated cases for Martel. He strenghtened gradually his position as many before and after him. When finally he directed his attention to Aquitania and the southern lands, he had already a long practice in doing it. Daizus 22:47, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I've read the paragraph you've added from Hanson and it basically says the same thing until it goes on the awareness of Ummayad's power and their imminent advancement northwards. I don't know what it supports it and I don't understand how a campaign in Germany is preparing for a confrontation with Ummayads. Daizus 23:05, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, and those camps. What is the essential difference between camp #1 and camp #2? And there's another camp, where historians like the aforementioned Riché sign in, saying that Tours-Poitiers perhaps was just checking a raid, but its great importance was in making a name and a reputation for Martel and consequently opening the gates for the Carolingian dynasty. A significant battle, but for a different reason. Daizus 23:13, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Daizus Greetings again my friend! As I noted, his conversions of church property began long before Tours, as he found the necessity to secure the loyalty of landowners, and enable them to provide him with dependable troops. But he was definitely looking eastward as far back as Toulouse - he would have been mad not to! In the century since Muhammad's death, the Caliphate had overrun most of the old Roman Empire in the East, ALL of the Sassanid Empire, Iberia in ONE DAY, and was preparing to come into Gaul. He would have been a moron not to see what was coming, and a moron he was not. First, Tours was not the sum of Charle's efforts against the Umayyds. With minor exceptions, he spent the nine years left in his life after Tours securing the west against the invasions of the Muslims. According to Antonio Santosuosso (one of our best historians today) the new governor of Al-Andalus after Rahman's death, "'Uqba b. Al-Hajjaj, again moved into France to avenge the defeat at Poitiers and to spread Islam." Santosuosso notes that "Uqba b. Al-Hajjaj converted about 2,000 Christians he captured over his career. In the last major attempt at forcible invasion of Gaul through Iberia, a sizable invasion force was assembled at Saragossa and entered what is now French territory in 735, crossed the River Rhone and captured and looted Arles. From there he struck into the heart of Provence, ending with the capture of Avignon, despite strong resistance. Uqba b. Al-Hajjaj's forces remained in French territory for about four years, carrying raids to Lyons, 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. Alessandro Santosuosso strongly argues that the second (Umayyad) expedition was probably more dangerous than the first. The second expedition's failure put an end to any serious Muslim expedition across the Pyrenees although raids continued. Plans for further large scale attempts were hindered by internal turmoil in the Umayyad lands which often made enemies out of their own kind.[1] Further, Santosuosso does not shortchange the efforts Charles made to prepare for Tours - he just details, with very good research considering the general lack of records from the era - how Charles campaigns circa 735-739 were more important, and were strictly devoted to the Umayyads. I am working on the article piece by piece, and will ask Ewulp to help as he can -he always edits my edits! This is not done. But do you see that Martel most definitely was looking east, and he was entirely correct to do so! That was why it was his grandson, not him, that conquered the Saxons. Charles Martel could have - had he not had to secure the east, well, more tomorrow, i am going to have to take my heart meds, and lay down. old windy bear 00:06, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
    • This is what I mean about politically correct. Practically every historian admits that Charles Martel kept the Muslims out of Europe. He built an army for years to do so. Hanson certainly talks in great detail how he got ready for the Arabs with an army specifically designed to stop their so-called invincible cavalry, that proved not so invincible when the Franks got done with them. oldwindybear, why don't you stand up for what you know is right, instead of trying to placate these people? Finishedwithschool 18:51, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Finishedwithschool Not that I think it will do any good, but let me try and explain. First, you are very wrong on Daizus wanting to do anything but make the article HISTORICALLY correct, which is a far cry from politically correct. Please READ the exchanges, and then go READ the cited sources. We are working on a consensus solution which we have done in the past, will do this time, and will do in the future. This is not cowardise on my part, but first, respect for an editor who is very intelligent and well read, and following wikipedia policy second, which says seek consensus. He is right that Martel began his policy of using church funds to tie local people to him, giving them sufficient resources to maintain little troops which could, in an emergency, be called to him quickly, long before Tours. While he kept a core of seasoned veterans year-round, he could not afford to do that for his entire Army - certainly not one large enough to hold off the huge invasion forces he faced in 732 and in his later campaigns! Please afford myself and Daizus an assumption fo basic good faith, and understand that wikipedia is a place where all viewpoints are considered, and a sound consensus based on good history is reached. That is NOT political correctness. old windy bear 20:22, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, Oldwindybear. Daizus 08:15, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Addressing the invasion of 711, the Iberian peninsula wasn't conquered in one day (only metaphorically if you wish). The battle of Guadalete was in July 711, in the southern Iberian peninsula. In August same year Tariq reached Cordoba and in November he reached Toledo, the capital. In 712, Mousa occupied Sevilla and Merida. Around 714, the peninsula was occupied except the northwestern corner - Galicia and Asturias where the Visigothic resistence formed. It was a fast conquest but nevertheless it took more than one day.
This success surely moralized the Muslim troops to cross Pyrenees to seize the last territories of the ex-Visigothic kingdom and once there they probably realized the potential for expansion and raids in the lands stretching northwards of them. But let's notice they lost the momentum here (comparing with the fast conquest of the vast Iberian space): Narbonne in 717, Nîmes and Carcassone in 725 and they were repelled by Odo, the duke of Aquitania, at Toulouse in 721. They also raided Autun which if you look on a map it's about the same latitude as Tours-Poitiers. Also even after Martel defeated them, they were still raiding as Santosuosso points out.
So, in this context, I can't see them purchasing a goal to conquer Europe, nor Tours-Poitiers a special moment. My arguments lead us to conclude, among others, Martel was not the only one to defeat them (Odo at Toulouse in 721), Tours-Poitiers was not especially far north (they succesfully raided Autun), they raided even after Martel defeated them (Arles, Avignon).
As for plans, I have yet to see evidence that Martel while he was struggling in 717 with the Neustrians he planned campaigns against the Ummayads (which probably weren't yet estabilished north of Pyrenees). He might had known of the fast fall of the Visigothic kingdom, but I'm not sure we can know how that affected him and his plans. Daizus 08:15, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Can any of you read Hanson? He explains in great detail how Martel built an army of heavy infantry which was specifically designed to meet and defeat the Arab cavalry, whose tactics basically were "charge!" Hanson says that Martel had no intention of allowing the Caliphate to establish itself on this side of the Pyrenees Mountains. Also read Santosuosso's writing "Again Charles Martel came to the rescue, reconquering most of the lost territories in two campaigns in 736 and 739." Doesn't this seem clear enough to you two? Martel came to the rescue AGAIN as he had at Tours! It is clear from Hanson, Santosuosso and Davis, just to name three, that he was determined to stop Islamic Expansion into Gaul. George Bruce in his updates of Harbottle's Military History Dictionary of Battles maintains that "Charles Martel defeated the Moslem army effectively ending Moslem attempts to conquer western Europe." How much more do you need? He stopped expanding east so he could defend against the Muslims, period. Finishedwithschool 15:03, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
A real question would be (no offense), do you read what we write? You're talking about events surrounding 732 and post 732. While we were talking about Martel's expansion since 717 onwards and his general policy to bond people to him giving them properties (ecclesiastical or from the territories he subdued) or to push the people already faithful to him in important positions. If you or Hanson (though I think he's rather misused as reference) choose to believe it all started because of the Muslim presence, you certainly can do so. But you have to justify events like when in 717 the bishop Rigobert of Reims was banished and replaced by Milo, one of Martel's men. Where were the Muslims then and how was Martel aware of their threat? Daizus 15:56, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Hanson is very clear that Martel built his army knowing he would be facing a cavalry force, and built just the kind of army to do it - heavy infantry, massed together, picking their own ground. You and oldwindybear might be right about 717, but after Toulouse there is no question Martel was looking east. Finishedwithschool 16:22, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
In 721, at Toulouse, the Muslims were repelled by duke Odo and his victory had some echo in the era (probably reaching Martel, too). Why would have Martel started to prepare an army to engage the Muslim forces? When actually do you claim he started to prepare for a confrontation with the Muslims and why? Daizus 16:34, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
I echo Daizus questions. I certainly think it logical that he (Martel) began to prepare for the Umayyads after Toulouse, but contrary to what you say, there is no definitive proof that he was until shortly before Tours, and some rewording is therefore in order, which I am doing. For instance, the Muslim conquest of Spain took 8 years, though certainly the loss of virtually the entire Visogothic army with Roderick was the effective end of that Kingdom. Further, read Hanson carefully - yes, Martel had an army which was perfect for defense in the right place, but it was constructed long before the Muslims became Charles obsession. From 732 on it is certainly safe to say that keeping them out of Gaul was his #1 priority, and he did it well. old windy bear 17:34, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Well then, do you think he was ignoring the world's strongest military power, right over the mountains from country he considered the Franks? Do you think it was by accident he built the only disciplined army the West had seen since Rome's height about 500 years earlier? Of course not! He was, as Gibbon said, the only reason the Muslims did not sail up the Thames and put an end to the beginnings of recovery in the West! Finishedwithschool 11:45, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I think that what we can think, as opposed to what we can prove are two different things. Do I believe Martel, the foremost general of his age, took steps to prepare for invasions any moron could have seen coming? Of course! But what I think, or Daizus does not matter, which is what both of us have been trying to tell you. YOu have to have PROOF, otherwise it is original research. What I have been able to find is Paul K. Davis in 100 Decisive Battles saying "After defeating Eudes, Charles turned his attention toward the Rhine River to secure his northeastern flank. He made war against the Saxons, Germans and Swabians until 725 when Moslem successes in southern Gaul diverted his attention." This is the first definitive proof from a major scholar that Charles began preparing from 725 on to face the Umayyads. old windy bear 16:42, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Of course Martel looked south and prepared for the Muslims or did you think the kind of heavy infantry with that kind of fanatic discipline just sprang up out of the earth before the battle of Tours? Anyone with a brain can figure this out! Finishedwithschool 18:20, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
"world's strongest military power", "the only disciplined army the West had seen since Rome's height about 500 years earlier", "fanatic discipline" are not statements which I have the patience to discuss anymore. It's just enough to note that to sail on Thames, you can simply surround Spain and France through the Atlantic and not fight hardly and unsuccesfully in foreign lands to reach Normandy and estabilish a harbor there. Let's not indulge our selves in such rhetoric and deal with facts. I asked for evidences of Martel's awareness and I have received none. Daizus 22:58, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Daizus Greetings my friend. Respected military historian Paul K. Davis does have a note in his book "100 Decisive Battles" on Charles Martel's turning his attention east around 725 to the Muslim threat after securing his borders in the north. Both he and Hanson talk of his having the first genuine "army" in the west since the fall of Rome, and Hanson especially does address the issue of his building his infantry, and why. I will be adding that shortly, and doing further rewording that will reflect what we have in the way of solid evidence. I believe you will be satisified, and if you feel it needs further changes, we will make them. i will have the Davis quote and rewording done by monday. old windy bear 14:36, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
There is a difference between the fall of Rome (traditionally 476) and "Rome's height about 500 years earlier" (which would point to a moment during 3rd century). I don't know much about military discipline in Merovingian, Visigothic or Ostrogothic time and space and I'd like to see a fair review of those eras before dismissing them all together (I believe works like Vegetius' were available to a degree in that era, still I'm not sure on their impact upon the barbarian kings and aristocracy). However during Constantine I, to give an example, I believe we can speak of disciplined armies. Therefore 500 years on indiscipline seems an outstretch. Daizus 14:50, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Daizus Greetings my friend! Oh goodness, I agree with you! The wording is not going to say that he had the first DISCIPLINED army in the west since the fall of Rome in 476, but rather that he had the first year round standing organized army since the fall in 476. None of the Visigothic or Ostrogothic militaries, or any of the Germanic tribes, for that matter, had what modern historians would define as a standing army until Martel created the first one since Rome's fall. Again, this is why it is taking time to rewrite, because I am being extremely careful to word it so that it falls within the parameters of what we can prove. I know that Finishedwithschool believes this makes me a cowardly and cowering writer, but I prefer to think you, Ewulp, Smerc, and myself, to name those I know are working on this, are working towards a HISTORICALLY ACCURATE article. It is important to note that Martel created what was essentially the feudal system in order to gain year round reliable troops - for the 241 years from the fall till he gained power, the tribes used a system of calling up levies based around planting and harvest. He saw the necessity to have a steady and reliable army that he could depend on YEAR ROUND which could be augmented by seasonal levies. (This in addition to the household troops any great Lord had year-round!) This is obviously important to note. But the wording is crucial, because both the Visigothic or Ostrogothic militaries, just to name two, had battle records showing good discipline. What the wording needs to say - and again, you will check and help me reword, I hope, and I have asked Ewulp too, (he always is kind enough to help edit my research!) - is that he created the first standing army, and how, without implying other militaries were without discipline,et al.
The same is true for the wording on the turn to the west, (I miswrote last posting, sorry!) that Paul K. Davis refers to. Again, I have been accused of ignoring that Martel doubtless looked and begin planning for the Umayyads after the dramatic defeat of the Visogothic kingdoms, and I certainly think it logical that he (Martel) began to plan how he would deal with the Umayyads (his military record shows an unmatched brilliance during his era) but contrary to what Finishedwithschool believes , there is nothing from a historian of note till Paul K. Davis notes that he began preparing about 725. Finishedwithschool does not seem to be able to understand you are asking for sourcing, not original research, which is what conjecture - no matter how logical - is. So again, I am sourcing that exhaustively, and wording with extreme care. I believe you will be pleased - and thank you for letting me have time to research this carefully, and rewrite so that the article has historical accuracy as much as we can make it so. old windy bear 16:07, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, permanent army is a whole different issue. I hope I'm not too moody (especially given my English is not my native language), but I believe we should try to keep some terms well defined if we want to get a common understanding and make progresses in improving the content.
Even so, I'm not very sure it is that way. The Germanic society it was a society which valued mainly three types of education: military, religious and moral. In many Germanic societies, from early childhood, the youngsters were under heavy physical and moral (I'm addressing here the warfare-related morality) training. Theodoric the Great warned his people, their children could earn a status rather through military virtues than by law. In many courts (the only exception I can think of, for 5-6th centuries, is the Vandal one - and compare the Byzantine reconquest of North Africa with the Byzantine reconquest of Italy!) permament groups of warriors were trained and followed the local princes. The Merovingian king has also a personal guard, formed of antrustiones. In the Merovingian kingdom all free men had mandatory military service and they were summoned every year on Champ de Mars and they were fined with a large amount of money if they failed to show up. Also, in the Merovingian society, there's this category of leudes, which are rewarded with large estates for their service (but they also be quickly dismissed, having their property confiscated) - this is the category Martel is rewarding with lands, also! What I am trying to show through these factoids is that a) some Germanic societies (particularly Frankish) were very military oriented and virtually had a permanent army due to their intense military education and training (some bodies were truly permanent, while others were under permanent training, summoned periodically and virtually any time ready to wage war) b) the phenomenon we witness in Martel's era echoed long practices in the Merovingian lands.
I wrote many of the above from memory, I hope I'm not terribly wrong about details. In case this discussion will develop further, I'll try to provide scholarship and further details. Daizus 16:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Daizus Greetings again, my friend! First, your information is absolutely correct, and extremely impressive to reel off from memory, in a second language! Yes, you are absolutely right on the requirement for military service in the tribes, (and the martial tradition!) especially the Germanic ones - the key here is that Charles was the first leader in 241 years to create a system where he had a regular permanent standing army he could summon at once, year round, OTHER THAN HIS HOUSEHOLD TROOPS. ALL the princes had household troops, and all the societies you named had varying requirements for annual mustering for men of a certain age for war. The crucial difference, and you hit the nail on the head, is in the wording and in this case, the keywords "permanent," and standing." I am being extremely careful to rewrite a whole section and explain the difference between what the annual muster under the Merovingian kingdom, the Vandals, Visogoths, Ostrogoths, Saxons, and what Charles created. I welcome any research you have - just send it on, I welcome the help! What Finishedwithschool did not understand is that the current wording is way too vague, unsupported by sourcing, and has to be rewritten to reflect historical sourcing. Again, i will have the section ready monday, and I really believe you will be pleased, as it reflects EVERYTHING you wrote in your last posting, and explained the differences between the militaries of Theodoric the Great, for instance, and that of Charles, and why. The Bzyantine's, of course, had maintained a permanent army this entire period - but we are talking about the old western Roman Empire, which folded in 476. Anyway, your help is, and has been, appreciated, and I believe you will be pleased wtih what you see monday. (and if not, we will change it!) old windy bear 17:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Daizus Before I laid down, I wanted to run my solution by you, then as soon as I get my Davis book back tomorrow, I will post it, (need the EXACT quotes and page numbers) The issue of when Martel began to prepare for the Umayyads will be titled "Storm from Iberia" and put after the section of "Leadup and Importance." It relies primarily on Paul K. Davis and his quotes on Martel's securing his borders in the north and east so he would be able to turn his attention south from 725 on. His creation of the first permanent army will be put in the "military legacy" section and is painstakingly worded so that the reader is aware that the difference was that for the first time in the west in 241 years a power developed a standing, permanent army. I will delete some current ambiguous language. old windy bear 21:09, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
old windy bear I am going to try to help with this, let me know if it is acceptable! I got the books by Davis and Hanson, and several of the others, and reorganized this article along the lines discussed here. Stillstudying 15:02, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Stillstudying I am grateful, and impressed, though some work remains to be done. But the general format, of emphasizing the creation fo the first "permanent" army in the west, is a good one. We need to add more on the means used - the church funds and land seized to give to local "nobility" and the strong emphasis on plain old infantry. While by Charlemagne's time the core of the army was the armoured knights his grandfather had started, they still had the permanent infrantry as well. I am impressed, thank you, and I will work on it also, and hope Ewulp will help. old windy bear 21:05, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Brilliant Generalship[edit]

It says 'Martel earned his reputation for brilliant generalship, in an age generally bereft of same...'. Is there a source to support this, or is it (Gods Forbid!) POV? Kai Su?My Talk Page 18:42, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Concerning the birthdate and birthplace of Charles Martel[edit]

Similar to the article of his son Pepin the Short where there was a fictitious birthplace, this article can "boast" a fictitious birthdate of Charles Martel, August 23. This information was added in March 2003 by an IP without mentioning any sources and even with a wrong year, 676. The year was corrected soon to 688 but the wrong date has remained until today. However, all the serious reference books (like Encyclopaedia Britannica, Lexikon des Mittelalters) do not give an exact birthdate of Charles Martel because we don’t know it. Therefore, I've just removed the birthdate from this article.

It’s amazing that these fictitious dates sometimes remain so long in the wikipedia (which is of course very bad, because now most of the other-language wikipedia articles are infected with this wrong birthdate, too). I guess the psychological mechanism behind this long endurance is that it is usually assumed that the more precise information is the better one, so "born August 23, 688" seems to be better and more correct than "born ca. 688". But unfortunately, especially regarding the early Carolingians, the more precise birthdates tend to be unproven suppositions (sometimes originating from doubtful genealogical websites). Another example is a wrong precise birthdate that popped up twice in the English wikipedia article for Louis the Pious.

Besides, it should be reflected here if we really need the chapter "Birth and youth" in this article – it does not contain any actual information about Charles Martel, but only a late and more or less irrelevant legend or anecdote. Moreover, Herstal, mentioned there as birthplace of Charles Martel, is in fact not supported by any sources, no one knows where Alpaida was when she gave birth to Charles Martel. --Kliojünger 14:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

End of 'Eve of Tours' section excessively speculative?[edit]

This seems like a pretty good article overall. But the 'Eve of Tours' section cites no source and has 1+ paragraphs of nearly pure speculation at the end on what might have happened if an Ummayid general did this or that. Of particular concern is a rather confusing sentence stating that, with hindsight, not a single member of the invading forces would have been lost at this or that prior battle. Perhaps the language is just confusing. Sorry, I'm new around here, but I'd kind of like to help. Seems like the last paragraph in particular could be deleted without any impact on the article overall. I guess I'd also be a little more okay with it if this were cited as some particular historian's speculation, rather than the original speculation of a contributor here. Fooburger (talk) 06:07, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

After no responses for a month, went ahead and removed massively speculative text in 'Eve of Tours' section. I think this left all factual information intact. Such speculation definitely should have a citation, in case someone is hoping to revert. Fooburger (talk) 06:36, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Ethnocentric views if some historians[edit]

Much of the article features quotes from western historians with ethnocentric views and tendencies to exaggerate western accompishments. While the praises for Charles Martel are understandable, as his historical importance is undisputed, there are some presumptuous claims. Specifically I mean the funny statement "Charlemagne, would possess the world's largest and finest army since the peak of Rome". The author should have forgotten the Tang China in his agitation. Tang's army was larger several times than that of Charlemagne's, it is obvious by comparing Western European and Chinese population. I think that sentence should be removed from article as an example of sharp ethnocentrism. (talk) 00:25, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

I would go farther than just suggesting a single sentence be removed. The whole article is rife with POV crystal-ballism and "aren't we lucky we all aren't Muslims" quotations. The heavy weight given Gibbon, who was writing at in a very Eurocentric, even Anglocentric mindset, make the article sound like Martel's major accomplishment was in making the world safe for White Anglo Saxon Protestants. Isn't there a single modern historian writing in English we could quote who has expressed the distinct possibility that the success of this particular forray may not have ended the world as we know it? That using a 1200 year crystal ball like the Akers quote does is perhaps not entirely valid, or that Islam in not inherently evil? Many of the other quotes follow this line of Martel saving Europe from the all-consuming evil of Islam, and how civilization, freedom, and sliced bread would not have been possible without his victory. Heck, rather than allowing civilization to develop, an argument could be made that Martel delayed it. Muslim Cordoba was, in its time, a greater center of science, learning, culture and religious freedom than anything in the lands 'saved' by Chrales Martel. The article, as it stands, is overweighted with 19th-century cultural closed-mindedness and modern anti-Islam polemic. Agricolae (talk) 18:02, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Agricolae's "crystal ball" argument is a straw man in this context. Of course Martel "saved" Europe; how is this not a factual word choice for referring to the repelling of would-be conquerors? In any case, Agricolea's own alternate-history crystal ball is both hypocritical and less defensible, being based on the canard of the "Golden Age" of Moorish Spain. That the religious tolerance of Muslim Cordoba exceeded Christian religious tolerance is an argument that can only be made by comparing the atypical best to the atypical worst. Darryl.harb (talk) 06:38, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
A single military campaign does not necessarily lead to conquest, even when victorious. Yes, it is possible that they would have gone all the way to the Arctic Circle had they just won this one battle, but it is also possible that they had reached the limit of their ability to project force, and would not have advanced anyhow. Yes, of course my 'crystal ball' is based on a selective choice of outcomes - all such crystal balls are. You prefer one set of selective outcomes, my so-called 'straw man' suggests an alternative. Neither have any factual basis, because since Charles won we cannot know the consequences of a loss. That is why crystal ball predictions of what would have happened had an outcome been different than it was are so problematic. Rather than anything resembling reality, they just turn into opportunities to project the sensibilities of the person looking into the ball. While you choose to dismiss Cordoba as an outlier, it still puts lie to the false dichotomy of civilization or Islam but never both, implied by several of the quotes here. Agricolae (talk) 22:30, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Actually, this article is just portraying history accurately, not "exaggerating" Western accomplishments. Don't like it? Don't read it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 4 August 2014 (UTC)


It is mentioned that he had a winning streak that lasted until his death, but then it is mentioned that he lost only one battle.

Could we say never lost a battle, save one... or something like that?

Anyway, great article btw.Esk3 (talk) 23:59, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


For some of the quote in this article, there are these great quote images that really look nice. Later in the article, these "large" quotes stop being used. Could we use them all throughout the article? It would really give it a nice, (even more) polished look.

Btw, amazing amazing amazing article. I love it. So helpful.Esk3 (talk) 21:33, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

his actual name[edit]

It seems evident that Charles Martel is a more modern version of the man's name. Shouldn't the article somewhere discuss his actual name, transcribed as it would have been spoken in his time and place? Even a list of his name as called by some modern european languages other than english. Yeah, this is english wikipedia, but a person's name doesn't change based on what language you happen to be speaking. (talk) 03:16, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

just a reminder[edit]

give it up to the man who stopped the first great crusade dead in it's tracks.the man who saved europe form becoming an islamic slave state.without this man all the progress made in science,technology and medicine might never have taken place as the great minds of europe,despite it's own taliban way of believing in god,would have been subjugated and mentally locked down by a malignant and retarded way of governing it's people.the dark ages would have been much darker and might still continue into today like in certain countries.and don't talk about how much more enlightened the muslims were than the european christians because that argument definitely doesn't hold water when it's reversed.n'aaahhhh mean! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Time for a tidy up?[edit]

The article contains too many references to modern commentators which should be references, or discussed here. What we need is a balance position supported by data: contentions should be reported if undecided, but not as overtly as here. If you're not capable of giving a NPOV, do not post, however firmly an acolyte of a particular historian you may be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:05, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I believe the references are valid - check some if you doubt it, as I did Santosuosso's quotes, which are certainly as presented - and what is there to discuss? The article attempts a balanced approach in saying that essentially most western historians believe the battle of Tours, was of macrohistorical importance, while most eastern historians do not. While there has been some movement with modern historians to downgrade the importance of Tours, for instance, virtually all westeran historians still see the Battle, along with the Berber Revolt and the failure of the Seige of Copnstandinople, as major factors in the regime change which occurred in the Caliphate. It seems to me that you are in fact attempting to propose to change the article to avoid NPOV. ~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pwhy1950 (talkcontribs) 12:31, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

I would add that if you are familiar with how Martel, and the Battle of Tours, is presented in German (and especially) French histories, this article is definitely NPOV. Inclusion of quotes from those histories, which see him as a national hero who saved Europe, might have unduly slanted this article. I think the article, as is, is well balanced and NPOV. If you feel any of the quotes you have marked are in error, please identify which. Pwhy1950 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:49, 6 July 2012 (UTC)


In the Life of Sturmius, the first abbot of Fulda, the name Karlomannus is used of Charles Martel, who granted the land in Fulda on which the monastery was subsequently built (locum aptum servis Dei inhabitandum) to Boniface, the English 'Apostle of the Germans'.

In the assessments of the Battle of Tours, the first two opinions are presented as if they were in opposition to each other, whereas in fact they are merely two ways of saying more or less the same thing: the demise of Christianity or a Europe that would never have developed into Western Christendom. Pamour (talk) 15:06, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Santosuosso, 2004, p. 126