Charles Martel was born between 688 and October 22, 741. As Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, he was a Frankish political and military leader who, from 718 until his passing, served as Francia’s de facto ruler.
Charles split Francia between his sons Carloman and Pepin at the end of his rule. Later on, he was crowned the first ruler of the Carolingian dynasty. The first Western ruler since the fall of Rome was Pepin’s son Charlemagne, who expanded the Frankish domains.
To take control of the Pippinid wealth in Cologne, Chilperic and Ragenfrid led an army into Austrasia in 716. The Neustrians engaged Charles in combat close to Cologne, which was still held by Plectrude, as part of an invasion force led by Redbad, King of the Frisians. Because Charles had little time to prepare or assemble men, the outcome was unavoidable.
After this victory, Charles ousted Rigobert as archbishop of Reims and installed Milo, a loyal ally, in his place. He also proclaimed Chlothar IV king of Austrasia in opposition to Chilperic.
Charles Martel was well known for his military exploits among early mediaeval writers. For example, Paul the Deacon credited Charles with a victory over the Saracens that Odo of Aquitaine achieved. However, he also quickly gained a bad reputation for allegedly abusing church property. The Visio Eucherii, a document from the ninth century allegedly produced by Hincmar of Reims, depicted Martel going through torment. This was “the single most crucial book in developing Charles Martel’s reputation as a secularizer or despoiler of church territories,” according to British mediaeval historian Paul Fouracre.
The Frankish Kingdom’s de facto ruler during the Middle Ages was Charles Martel, commonly known as Charles the Hammer, a military commander. Charles, born to the Duke of Pepin and disinherited by his stepmother after his father’s passing, was seen as an illegitimate child. She had him put in prison to stop him from claiming the crown. However, Charles was well-liked by the populace and, after breaking out of jail, was appointed mayor of the palace of Austrasia. Despite widespread support, he was forced to retreat after the Battle of Cologne. He assembled his forces for the Battle of Vincy, where he triumphed and won the right to serve as administrator.
Charles Martel Career
Since seizing control, Charles has been devoted only to expanding Frankish dominance over other tribes in Europe. His most tremendous success was winning the Battle of Tours, which stopped the spread of Islam’s hegemony in Europe and preserved Christian authority. His military strategies set him apart from other administrators and were emulated for many years by later kings. He took control of the government for the rest of his life after conquering Tours and becoming the ruler of other countries. Many historians regard him as one of the most influential individuals of the Middle Ages.
Charles was becoming more concerned about the force the Emir of Cordoba had assembled to conquer Aquitaine. The Emir, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, increased his defences and relentlessly attacked Aquitaine in 730. Charles’s focus was frequently taken away from his other duties by it.
Charles earned the Bishops’ ill will by reclaiming the territory he had given them to raise money. He was rumoured to be excommunicated for this, but the war came before.
In the end, he created a powerful and well-trained army.
Following the Battle of Tours, Charles expanded the power of Frankish rule throughout Europe. By forming alliances and growing his army, he repeatedly repelled the Islamic assault. He eventually conquered the Arab-held towns and began to rule them.
Charles had attained the serenity and harmony that a good ruler needs after his reign. He spent his final years in charge of a kingdom that was trouble-free.
Charles is also recognized for creating new vigour and innovative military strategies by introducing cavalry, which has been used effectively for hundreds of years.
Charles Martel’s Personal Life
As Charles was not born to his father’s first wife, Plectrude, it has been suggested in several reports that he was an illegitimate child. Many historians have countered that he is genuine because polygamy was prevalent and accepted during the Middle Ages.
When Charles Martel’s stepfather passed away in 714, she wanted her son Theudoald to assume complete control. She imprisoned Charles in Cologne to accomplish this without causing a commotion. This sparked the Civil War during 715-718, a revolt in some kingdom regions.
Bishop Pepo and Willibrord, the creator of Echternach’s Abbey, supported Charles. Charles entered the Battle of Vincy in March 717 and won thanks to the assistance and adequate planning. He deposed Theudoald, took control of Cologne, and exiled Plectrude to a convent.
In the opinion of renowned historian Edward Gibbons, the Battle of Tours was Charles Martel’s most significant engagement. He gives him credit for maintaining and defending Christianity throughout Europe. Many other historians contend that Charles had no charitable intentions and only wanted to keep the wealth of Tours to himself.
When King Theuderic IV passed away in 737, Charles assumed his responsibilities but did not install a new monarch. During this time, he concentrated more on management. Nobody took the throne while the king’s post was vacant.
Records show that Charles Martel married twice throughout his lifetime. Rotrude of Treves, a count’s daughter, was his first wife. Hiltrud, Carloman, Landrace/Landres, Auda/Aldana/Alane, and Pepin the Short/Pippin were their five offspring.
Swanhild, a princess from Bavaria, was his second wife, whom he wed in 725. Grifo was the only child the couple had together.
He passed away in Quierzy-sur-Oise on October 22, 741, and was laid to rest in Paris’ Saint Denis Basilica. He reportedly passed away calmly while sleeping. There were no territorial disputes following his death because he had already divided his holdings among his sons.
The Hammer, a Pet Name
Age 55 When Deceased
Family: Swanhild, Rotrude of Trier’s ex-spouse
Pepin Of Herstal, the Father
Alpaida, the Mother
Children: Ian, Pepin The Short, Remigius Of Rouen, Son Of Charles Martel, Hieronymus, Hiltrude, Bernard, Carloman, Grifo, and Auda Of France.