Charles “The Hammer” Martel: Defender of Christianity

By: Jefferson P. Webb

Although Charles Martel ( d. 741)is one of the most noted heroes in Christianity when studying one of the many violent encounters between Christian and Muslim forces, Charles “The Hammer” Martel was no marionette of the Church. He was quite an independent and practical thinker as a military leader and as a politician.

Charles’ military abilities were already well know when he was confronted with perhaps his greatest military threat, a large invasion of Muslim Moors into Frankish
territory. The Muslim invasion would reach its climax as Muslim forces under the command of Abd ar-Raham2 faced off in a pitched battle against Charles’ Christian forces at the Battle of Tours in October of 732.3 In the period building up to this battle through its outcome, Charles would prove himself a wise and knowledgeable leader. One of the greatest assets to a successful military leader is to have good knowledge of the enemy and this is something that Charles possessed. While Charles was already on campaign in a region along the Danube, the Duke of Aquitaine who had already seen defeat against the Moors found and warned Charles of the situation.4 Though Charles was urged fervently to move immediately against the Muslim forces, his knowledge of the Muslim Armies’ habits played key in Charles’ plan of dealing with the invasion.

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