Charles Martel 732 Battle of Tours – Franks *Gauls

Battle of Tours

The Battle of Tours was a battle fought between the Burgundian and Frankish forces under the leadership of Charles Martel against the Umayyad Caliphate on 10th October 732.

It was a crucial victory for Frankish and Burgundian forces over the Umayyad Caliphate.

This war is also known as the Battle of Poitiers because it was fought between the cities of Tours and Poitiers, Aquitaine.

The Muslim Governor-General of al-Andalus Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi was killed in this battle.

The authority of Charles was extended to the south.

This battle assisted in laying the foundation of the Carolingian Empire and the domination of Franks in Europe for the next century.

Who was Charles Martel?

Charles Martel was a Frank who ruled France as a de facto leader of Frankia from 718 to his death in October 741.

He took the throne after his father died and played a crucial role in the restoration of a centralized government in Frankia.

He also led many military campaigns and was an extraordinary warrior.

He was one of the most critical figures in Frankish history who re-established Franks as the undisputed master of all Gaul.

Martel is known mostly for his success in defeating Arabs at the battle of Tours.

He is also known as an important figure that played an essential role in the development of the Frankish system of Feudalism.


The Saracen armies prepare for the battle of Tours

Rise of the Franks

A civil war ranged in Frankia from 715 to 718 in Frankia.

The reason for this war was a conflict after the death of Pepin Herstal, father of Charles.

There was a conflict between the heirs of Pepin and the Neustrian nobles who wanted independence from Austrasian control.

Once Charles came in power, he sought to consolidate his hold on the power.

He immediately gathered up Frankish nobles and warriors in the hills of Eifel and started training them.

Once he had a loyal group of warriors, he was able to defeat other claimants to Frankish leadership.

From 718 to 723, Charles unified Franks under the same banner and won many battles. The power of Franks grew as they conquered neighboring areas.

Martel and the Battle of Tours

The Battle of Tours was followed by two decades of Muslim Conquests in Europe, which began in 711 by the invasion of Visigoths Christian Kingdoms of Peninsula by Tariq ibn Ziyad’s Muslim forces.

The Battle of Tours effectively halted the advance which had begun in 711.

The victory of Martel in this battle is significant because it stopped the northward advance of Umayyads in Europe.

The victory helped in the preservation of Christianity in Europe during a time when Muslims had already defeated Persian and Byzantine Empires.

It may be called that the Battle of Tours changed the history of Europe.

Military Successes of Martel

Charles Martel saw many military successes in his lifetime.

From the civil wars in Frankia to the Battle of Tours and beyond, he was regarded as one of the best conquerors of the first imperial power of Europe, the Franks.

The Frankish Army under his rule took part in the Battle of Cologne, Battle of Ambleve, Battle of Vinchy, and won all of them after defeating Umayyads.

Consequently, Martel was well respected in the Christian community of all Europe.

After the death of Charles in 741, his kingdom was divided among his sons.

Martel and Feudalism

When Spain was captured by Muslims in 711, there was a significant threat faced by the people of Frankia.

When Charles Martel came to power, he was successful in persuading many free Frankish tribes to give up their tribal freedoms and become a part of a central army.

Martel claimed that this army was the only thing standing between them and the Umayyads Forces, which persuaded Franks to rally to his banner.

This giving up of freedom laid the basis of feudalism in Europe.

The peasants of the tribes worked hard for mounting the resources for the knights and armored soldiers.

These soldiers would provide them protection from Islamic invaders.

Some historians are of the view that without a Muslim threat, feudalism in Europe would not have started in the 8th century.

Establishment of the Carolingian Dynasty

The son of Charles Carloman got Thuringia, Alemannia, and Austrasia.

Pippin the Younger got Provence, Trier, Burgundy, Metz, and Neustria.

It was a convention in Franks to divide the territory into sons. The son of Pippin, Charlemagne, laid the foundation of the Carolingian Empire.

Charlemagne was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800 as Emperor.

This was the peak of the might and glory of the Carolingian Dynasty. The financial and cultural position of the Empire was powerful.

Carolingian Empire and Government

In the decades around the year 800, the organization, government, and administration were forged in Charlemagne’s court.

When he became a crowned emperor in the same year, he urged his royal administration to come to the level of the expectations of his new title.

The reforms, especially political reforms, had a significant influence on the politics of Western Europe in the Middle Ages.

Carolingian Governance and Administration

The basis of Carolingian governance was a Merovingian mechanism, which yielded the best results in accountability, central control, bureaucracy, and culture.

The Bannum was exercised by the Carolingian emperor, giving him the right to rule on his all territories.

He led the army, made legislation, and was the protector of the Church and the poor.

There were no specific capitals of the Carolingian Empire. The Comes, The Missi Dominici, and the Vassi Dominici were three chief officials.

Rise and fall of the Carolingian Empire

The Carolingian Empire was forged in the valor, fame and repute of Charles Martel.

Among his descendants, Charlemagne was the one who took the Empire to its zenith of power and greatness.

Charlemagne’s position as emperor and his consolidation of the territories as an empire left a permanent mark on the politics, geography and history of Central Europe.

After the death of Charlemagne, the dynasty saw a downfall. The kingdom was divided into three parts which continued to be ruled by his sons and grandsons.

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