Thursday, April 17, 2014

Charles Martel

Martel – The Hammer 

Charles Martel 1
Charles Martel, a Frankish statesman and a military leader, as a Duke and Prince of the Franks as well as the Mayor of the Palace was considered the de facto ruler of Francia from 718 till his death. His byname, Martel means `the hammer’ and Martel was the illegitimate son of the Frankish statesman Pepin of Herstal and a noblewomen, Alpaida, he asserted his claim to power as the successor to his father’s power behind the throne in Frankish politics and restored centralizing the government continuing and building on his father’s work with a series of military campaigns and re-established the Franks as the undisputed master of all Gaul. He subjugated Bavaria, Frisia and Alemannia, in foreign wars and vanquished the pagan Saxona, halting the Islamic advance in Western Europe at the Battle of Tours. This battle also known as the battle of Poitiers is known as one of the most decisive battle since it decided that Christians and not the Moslems in Europe should be the ruling power at that time and Charles Martel was considered the hero of this battle.

Great Champion of Christianity 

Charles Martel 2
The name Martel was given to him due to his bravery during the fight and Marteau is the French word for hammer and according to a French historian, it says that as a hammer breaks and crushes iron and steel, so as Charles crushed and broken all the power of his enemies in the battle of Tour. Though the Saracens fled from the battlefield of Tours they had not vacated the land of the Franks and Charles had to fight other battles with them before they were finally defeated. He managed to drive them across the Pyrenees after which they never made any more attempts to invade Frankland. After the defeat of the Saracens, Martel gained the admiration as the great champion of Christianity and till his death; he was in reality though not in name a king of the Franks.

Patron of Saint Boniface

Charles Martel 3
He was skilled as an administrator as well as a warrior and considered to be the founding figure of the European Middle Ages. He was also credited with a seminal role in the development of feudalism and knighthood. Being a great patron of Saint Boniface, it was he who made the first attempt to reconcile the Papacy and the Franks and the Pope desired him to be the defender of the Holy See offering him the Roman consulship which Martel refused. Martel had never assumed the title of a king, but he divided Francia like a king between his sons Pepin and Carloman. Pepin became the first of the Carolingians, who became king belonging to the family of Charles Martel. His grandson, Charlemagne, further extended the Frankish realms to include much of the West region, becoming the first Emperor after the fall of Rome and on the basis of his achievements Martel is considered as laying the foundation for the Carolingian Empire and Gibbon has summed up this personality as the hero of the age while Gyerard considers him as being the `champion of the Cross against the Crescent’.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.