Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Life of Charles Martel

  Lesson 30 Essay

       Charles Martel was born the son of Pepin of Heristal, the Mayor of the Palace of France. This position of “mayor” serves as the active ruler, while the “king” is more of a figurehead. Pepin was a very cruel mayor and he abused his power. When he died in 714, Pepin's wife tried to take the position of mayor for herself, even going so far as to hide away Pepin's illegitimate heir son, Charles.
        Charles escaped from his mother and began organizing support from the nobles of the kingdom. Charles was called to be the army's leader when a rogue band of Franks attacked the kingdom. 
      However, even though Charles led a magnificent battle, his army was outnumbered and Charles wisely withdrew the army. This loss turned out to be the only defeat of his military career. Charles retaliated on his enemies later on at the Battle of Amblive.
        He won the Battle of Amblive by using three tactics that would become his trademarks:
 -Appearing where his enemies least expected

 -Attacking where his enemies least expected

  -Attacking how his enemies least expected
        After winning this battle, Charles took over government of France. He never claimed the title of king, but instead served in the position of mayor of the palace for the rest of his life. Charles showed mercy to the people who imprisoned him. From the years 718 to 728, Charles had many victories, gained the loyalty of surrounding nations, and conquered part of Southern Germany. In 731 he began preparing to battle the Muslims who
invaded Iberia and conquered the Visigoths there.
        The Battle of Tours: The Muslims had already taken Iberia, and so they invaded France. In 732, Charles staged a surprise attack on the Muslims. The Battle of Tours lasted seven days of skirmishing, before the Muslims were eventually beaten back by the well trained and equipped Frankish army. It was this hammering of the Muslims and repelling them, that gave Charles the name “Martel”, or Charles the Hammer. This battle is credited as saving Christendom from Arab/Muslim conquest. Although the Muslims had been previously conquering unchecked, this defeat kept them from expanding.
        Charles Martel died in 741, leaving behind a legacy that grew in his son, Pepin the Short and his grandson, Charlemagne.