Siege of Nîmes

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The Siege of Nîmes took place shortly after the capture and destruction of Avignon in 736. Charles Martel failed to capture the Umayyad city of Narbonne but devastated most of the other principal settlements of Septimania, including Nîmes, Agde, Béziers and Maguelonne, which he viewed as potential strongholds of the Saracens.[1]

The city of Nîmes (Chronicle of Fredegar)[2] and the Roman amphitheatre (turned into a fortress by the Visigoths)[3] were destroyed under the orders of Charles Martel.

Charles probably may have taken Narbonne had he been willing to commit his army and full resources for an indefinite siege, but he was not willing to do so. He had accomplished his primary goals by destroying the Arab armies. The Arabs were temporarily contained to the city of Narbonne, though a second expedition was needed later that year to regain control of Provence after Arab forces returned. According to Paul the Deacon's Historia Langobardorum the Arabs retreated when they learned that Martel had formed an alliance with the Lombards.[4] Martel's remaining years - he had only four to live - were spent setting up and strengthening the administrative structure that became the Carolingian Empire, and the feudal state that would persist through the Dark Ages. His son would return in 759 and finish his father's work by taking Narbonne and driving the Emirate of Cordova back over the Pyrenees.


  1. ^ Riche, Pierre (1993). The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0-8122-1342-4, p. 45.
  2. ^ Lewis, Archibald R. (1965). The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 24. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Bomgardner, David L. (2000). The Story of the Roman Amphitheatre. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-18798-9, p. 119.
  4. ^ Fouracre, Paul (2000). The Age of Charles Martel. Pearson Education. ISBN 0-582-06476-7, p. 97.

Coordinates: 43°50′12″N 4°21′36″E / 43.836699°N 4.360054°E / 43.836699; 4.360054