We owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Charles ‘the Hammer’ Martel. If not for him, Western culture may very well have been wiped out by the Muslim hordes that tried to take over Europe – Burkasrugly
In 632 A.D. Mohammed died, leaving Islam as the sole religion in the Arabian Peninsula. Less than 100 years later Islam had implanted itself on 3 continents, Asia, Africa and Europe. This ferocious religion stretched eastward to the very borders of China and India. To the north it extended into what is southern Russia today. Palestine, Syria, Persia and Asia Minor fell before the marauding Muslims hordes. These countries at the time were overwhelmingly Christian. The devotees of the psychotic Prophet next turned their attention to Northern Africa. This area was over 90% Christian. After the Islamic conquest of North Africa there were within two generations almost no Christians alive. The vast majority had been killed or forcefully converted.
In 711 A.D. Muslims crossed the 10 mile wide Straits of Gibraltar. By 718 A.D. they had conquered both Spain and Portugal. Next they went after southern France. By 732 A.D. they were almost knocking on the doors (gates) of Paris. But an unlikely defender of the West appeared. He was Charles Martel.
Charles Martel (Martel means the Hammer) was a leader far in advance of his day and age. Although he was the leader of the Franks (the French) he did not let anyone address him by the title of King. He always showed mercy to his European enemies, often incorporating them into the leadership and ranks of his army. Hearing about Muslim atrocities in the kingdoms to the south he prepared to meet the Muslims in battle. His army of Franks consisted of about 98% infantry, while the Muslims largely had a calvary force. Near the village of Tours Charles seized the high ground. To his front was a long sloping hillside designed to wear out the Islamic horses as they charged uphill. But even more importantly at the crest of the hill was a thick band of trees that could not be flanked. Into this thick cover Charles planted his Frankish infantry. The trees broke up the Muslim calvary charge into small isolated units of horsemen that were quickly cut down by the Franks armed with swords, spears, axes and maces.
For six days the two armies camped a mile apart separated by a narrow river. The Franks had about 30,000 men under arms, while the Muslims realistically had somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 calvary. On the seventh day the Muslims who were growing short of food for the men and fodder for the horses decided to attack. As the calvary charge hit the forest it quickly broke apart and the Franks began their methodical work of hacking down the small parties of horsemen.
The turning point of the battle was when Charles sent a relatively small force of Frankish warriors upstream to attack the lightly guarded Muslim camp. The Franks quickly routed the Muslim rear guard. To their astonishment they found mounds of gold, silver and other treasures which the Muslims had looted in southern France. When word reached the main Muslim army that the Franks had stolen their looted treasure the army disintegrated rapidly. Their General was left exposed and he was quickly killed. Now it was the turn of the Franks to charge on foot into the Muslim camp. Hordes of Muslims were cut down while trying to save their remaining treasure. The retreat quickly turned into panic driven rout.
To his credit Charles did his best to return the gold and silver crosses and ornamentation to the churches and individuals from which they were stolen. Unclaimed treasure was used to buy new armaments for his army. Eager to learn even from his enemy Charles bought horses to field a calvary element to his army. He kept none of the treasure that had been stolen by the Muslims.
Charles the Hammer continued over the next years to hammer the Muslims until they were driven south of the Pyrenees Mountains. But it took the Spaniards another 700 years to completely drive the Muslims out of Spain. The Battle of Tours is usually considered one of the ten most decisive battles of world history. Tours marks the high water mark of Muslim expansion. Because of Charles’ courageous stand Europe was saved for Christianity and denied to Islam. What a different world we live in because of Charles Martel.
An often stated (though often ignored) axiom states that ” those who do not learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.”
In hoc signo vinces,