•  
  •  
 

Abstract

This paper examines the Battle of Tours/Poitiers in 732 between the Merovingian Mayor of the Palace, Charles Martel, and the Umayyad governor-general of al-Andalus in modern-day Spain, Abdul Rahman Al-Ghafiqi. Since the pivotal works of Sir Edward Gibbons were published in 1776, the battle has been seen as keeping Europe from falling completely to Islam. More recent scholarship highlights the battle as pivotal in Charles's quest to consolidate power in his ultimately successful bid to create a new power in western Europe, the Carolingian dynasty, which would eventually be created in the crowning as the Holy Roman Empire his grandson, Charlemagne. The historical view of the battle tends to fall into three great phases or categories. First, beginning contemporary chroniclers, observed in their writings and eyewitness accounts that the battle literally saved Christianity and Europe. More modern scholars tend to focus on two distinct interpretations: Some that agree with the chroniclers and others that tend to argue that the battle has been massively overstated in its importance. The battle tended to be little more than an organized and yearly Muslim raid into northern Gaul from an established position on the west side of the Pyrenees and southern Gaul, mainly Septimania. This coupled with internal problems that shifted the attention of the Umayyad Caliphate away from Europe, resulted in the battle being forgotten by Islamic chroniclers quickly after the middle of the eighth century AD. Regardless, what is clear is that the battle marked a time in which the borders of western Europe changed little and Charles Martel went on to continue to expand Frankish power and influence back into territory that had previously been occupied by Islam.

Share

COinS