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Charles Martel Aid Us!

“A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar in Spain to the banks of the Loire in France; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian Fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the River Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Qur’an would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Muhammed.”

Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

(In light of the attacks in Paris this evening I am re-running this post.  Charles Martel has never been canonized, but surely saving Europe from Islam must have counted much in his favor when he stood before God for his judgment.  In any case, we will need much of his spirit to survive the coming years and much less of the pacifist bilge that has turned the Church Militant too often into the Church Delusional.)

The slogan Je Suis Charles Martel is beginning to make its way around Saint Blogs.  Here is some information on the grandfather of Charlemagne who stopped the advance of Islam into what became France in 732 at the battle of Tours.

Charles Martel, “The Hammer”, led a life of conflict.  An illegitimate son of Pepin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace and the true power behind the Merovingian puppet kings, after the death of his father he had to fight his father’s legitimate offspring who sought to deprive him of any share in his father’s inheritance.  Fortunately for Charles a streak of military genius ran through him, and he won battles against the odds, using force multiplying stratagems, including feigned retreats, and attacking in the middle of the day when armies of his time normally took a siesta.  By 717 he was in control of Neustria, showing mercy unusual for his day in letting his defeated adversaries live and treating them with kindness.

The 28 year old ruler now entered a round of endless wars with neighboring kingdoms, gradually extending his power, and building up a professional force of infantry to supplement the peasant levies that made up the vast bulk of most Frankish armies.

A friend and patron of Saint Boniface, he also began the alliance between the rulers of the Franks and the Popes.  He contributed much land to the Church, but roused ecclesiastical ire when he took some back to support his troops.  He might have been excommunicated if both Church and State had not suddenly confronted a common foe.

In 711 the forces of Islam began the conquest of Spain, helped along by Christian traitors.  Within a decade almost all of Spain had fallen, with small proto-kingdoms of Spaniards clinging to a precarious independence in the mountains of northern Spain.  Mohammed had died less than a century before in 632, and in that intervening period Islam had conquered the Middle East, northern Africa and seemed poised to do the same in Europe against the petty Christian kingdoms that specialized in ceaseless internecine war, seemingly weakening themselves before  their Islamic foes lifted a finger.

With Spain subdued, Muslim raids into what is now France became common.  In 732 Abd-al-Raḥmân, governor of Muslim Spain, led a predominantly cavalry army of 25,000 men north on a great raid beyond the Pyrenees, perhaps the prelude to a war of  conquest.

Charles Martel rallied together an infantry army of 15,000, and in early October 732 his army and that of Abd-al-Raḥmân confronted each other for seven days outside of Tours, Martel making certain to occupy the high ground.   Martel had his army drawn up in a huge phalanx.  Tiring of the stalemate, on October 10, 732 Abd-al-Raḥmân launched cavalry charge after cavalry charge against the Franks.  A Muslim chronicler tells us what happened next:

And in the shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts [of the foe].

Martel launched an attack on the enemy camp, causing Abd-al-Raḥmân to order a retreat to his camp.  The retreat became a rout after Abd-al-Raḥmân  was killed in the fighting.

A Christian chronicle sums up the outcome of Tours:

Prince Charles boldly drew up his battle lines against them [the Arabs] and the warrior rushed in against them. With Christ’s help he overturned their tents, and hastened to battle to grind them small in slaughter. The king Abdirama having been killed, he destroyed [them], driving forth the army, he fought and won. Thus did the victor triumph over his enemies.

After Tours, Charles spent the rest of his life fighting off Islamic invasions from Spain.  Much hard fighting remained ahead, but Tours was the turning point.  The Franks would remain Christians and they ensured that Europe would remain Christian, thanks to God and the hard fighting Charles Martel and his Frankish infantry.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

23 Comments

  1. Coming soon to a city near you.
    .
    But [sputter], in 2012 Dear Leader and Hillary told us they’d defeated terrorism!

    What did France do to merit such treatment? Is it seen as a soft target?
    .
    Dante places Robert Guiscard in Il Paradiso – Mars – because of his wars against these same, filthy pagans in Sicily and southern Italy. Otherwise, Guiscard (a Norman freebooter) was a vile and murderous pirate who would reside in Il Inferno.
    .
    I’m exhausted with post-modern militancy and politically correct warfare. I seriously apologize in advance. In order for M. Hollande and the needed tens of thousands of Frenchmen to act as did The Hammer/Martel, they will need to ask their gynecologists to write prescriptions for two each testicles.
    .
    Forget about Hollande, Merkel, Hillary, Trump, Carson or whomever. How many more killed are needed before the West hates? Then (in America, anyway), the murderers will meet a rifle behind every blade of grass.

  2. Charles Martel and his army stemmed the tide of the Moors. Martel’s army slammed the door in their faces. Martel understood, 1300 years ago, that the Muslims understood only one thing – force. The Moors would go no further and retreated to Spain. Damn straight Martel saved Europe.

    Pelayo escaped to Asturias, which never surrendered to the Muslims and it was from his tinly little kingdom that Spain would be liberated.

    My oldest son is named John. Guess why. My youngest son is named Charles. Guess why.

  3. Earlier yesterday I happened to be reading up about the Crusades. We really are in the first 1400 years of a war that could last much longer.

    One of my favorite saints is Hugh of Lincoln – not a crusader, but if Richard the Lionhearted made it to heaven, it was St. Hugh who led him there. St. Hugh was also known as a defender of the Jews. In something right out of Ecclesiastes, a hundred years later there was a child who died in a well who became known as Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, whose death began a slew of anti-Semitic slurs. The worst in human nature comes back every generation, doesn’t it?

  4. Our current president said, “Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong,” but just what are the values we of the West stand for? We have discarded the values upon which Western Civilization was built. Where among our leaders is a Charles Martel? Who among our people would follow him?

  5. Again, the Pope gets it wrong. He called this is a third world war. Wrong! This desultory war with Muhammedanism predates 1914 and 1939 by, what, 1,200 years.

  6. A weak Pope and a weak President – both liberal progressives – cannot lead us to victory. We must do it ourselves.

  7. And the European leaders let more Muslims in all the time. Will “closed” French borders mean anything? Must America await a new president for a leader against the menace?

  8. I cannot say it better than the Holy Spirit:
    Psalm 82Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
    82 A canticle of a psalm for Asaph.
    2 O God, who shall be like to thee? hold not thy peace, neither be thou still, O God.
    3 For lo, thy enemies have made a noise: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
    4 They have taken a malicious counsel against thy people, and have consulted against thy saints.
    5 They have said: Come and let us destroy them, so that they be not a nation: and let the name of Israel be remembered no more.
    6 For they have contrived with one consent: they have made a covenant together against thee,
    7 The tabernacles of the Edomites, and the Ismahelites: Moab, and the Agarens,
    8 Gebal, and Ammon and Amalec: the Philistines, with the inhabitants of Tyre.
    9 Yea, and the Assyrian also is joined with them: they are come to the aid of the sons of Lot.
    10 Do to them as thou didst to Madian and to Sisara: as to Jabin at the brook of Cisson.
    11 Who perished at Endor: and became as dung for the earth.
    12 Make their princes like Oreb, and Zeb, and Zebee, and Salmana. All their princes,
    13 Who have said: Let us possess the sanctuary of God for an inheritance.
    14 O my God, make them like a wheel; and as stubble before the wind.
    15 As fire which burneth the wood: and as a flame burning mountains:
    16 So shalt thou pursue them with thy tempest: and shalt trouble them in thy wrath.
    17 Fill their faces with shame; and they shall seek thy name, O Lord.
    18 Let them be ashamed and troubled for ever and ever: and let them be confounded and perish.
    19 And let them know that the Lord is thy name: thou alone art the most High over all the earth.

  9. I always loved that song and had no clue what it was talking about until now…of course that was many years ago.

    As for Obama, he clearly is still refusing to name the enemy, calling this an attack on all humanity. It was an attack on the Christian west by the Islamic east and it is time to call it what it is.

  10. First question upon hearing the news was, “What are the French gun laws like?”. The simple answer is there is no equivalent to our 2nd Amendment. The leaders of France, Germany and Sweden are ruining their countries. Then there’s our president who earlier referred to ISIS as junior varsity.

  11. Paris is a “Gun Free Zone”. The more bereft a place is of belief, the more it denies the human right to self-defense. If we are nothing but animals, what rights have we at all?
    Hillary wants to confiscate our firearms a la Australia. Bad advice from an architect of our feckless foreign policy, Obama’s failed former Secretary of State. Here, she dishes out her toxic domestic agenda. The foreign and domestic policy of her party is of the same cloth, a shroud to cover our civilization in its grave.

  12. HaHa LOL- “Well, that schedules our history lesson for this week….. my eldest thought the Blonde parody was a love song. >.<" Trust a child to provide some humor. Actually that's a logical…… conclusion…… attractive woman wearing a crown. Could be she's his consort singing about her absent husband.

  13. Bet every time HIllary opens her mouth to say that she won’t wage war on ISIS, gun and ammo sales will go up in the US. Oh wait…latest sound bite she’s back tracking again. She only believes in herself.

  14. Is that laugh a nervous one or a calculated cackle? I do not judge her but I do not envy her and I will not vote for her. I pray for her.

  15. Or perhaps channeled the late Phyliss Diller, as I don’t know if Eleanor Roosevelt was exactly a barrel of laughs.

  16. God provided Charles Martel, Urban II, Andrea Doria, Don Juan Of Austria, Jan Sobieski and finally, General Allenby. In all theses instances, the victors were unable to follow up their victories for one reason or another and today we in the west are still beset with the same problem. I am wondering if God will provide us with yet another champion; this time to complete the task.

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