Note: Victor over the Saracens at Tours, Poitiers. Carolingian ruler of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia (in present northeastern France and southwestern Germany). Charles, whose surname means the hammer, was the son of Pepin of Herstal and the grandfather of Charlemagne. Pepin was mayor of the palace under the last kings of the Merovingian dynasty. When he died in 714, Charles, an illegitimate son, was imprisoned by his father's widow, but he escaped in 715 and was proclaimed mayor of the palace by the Austrasians. A war between Austrasia and the Frankish kingdom of Neustria (now part of France) followed, and at the end of it Charles became the undisputed ruler of all the Franks. Although he was engaged in wars against the Alamanni, Bavarians, and Saxons, his greatest achievements were against the Muslims from Spain, who invaded France in 732. Charles defeated them near Poitiers in a great battle in which the Muslim leader, Abd-ar-Rahman, the emir of Spain, was killed. The progress of Islam, which had filled all Christendom with alarm, was thus checked for a time. Charles drove the Muslims out of the Rhone valley in 739, when they had again advanced into France as far as Lyon, leaving them nothing of their possessions north of the Pyrenees beyond the Aude River. Charles died in Quierzy, on the Oise River, leaving the kingdom divided between his two sons, Carloman (circa 715-54) and Pepin the Short. SOURCES: Charles Martel (Andre Roux: Scrolls, 191.) (Paul, Nouveau Larousse Universel.) (Rosamond, Frankish kingdom under Carolingians.) (Stuart, Royalty for Commoners, Page 129, Line 171-43.) (Andre Castelot, Histoire de La France, Tome 1, Pages 271 - 273, 369). Born: in 686 in Chateau de Franchemont, Belgium, son of Pepin II d'Heristal and Aupais=Alpaide N? , The Chateau de Franchemont is near Spa and also Verviers, which may have encompassed Heristal. During World War II, the resistance used the tunnels under the castle to hide people and supplies from the German hordes. Married before 715: Rotrude=Chrotrud, Duchesse d'Austrasie , daughter of Saint Lievin=Leutwinus, Bishop de Treves and N. d'Istrie. Note - between 715 and 741: Toward the end of 715, Charles escaped from the prison his step-grandmother had locked him in, and rallies the Austrasians. In March, 716, however, in his first conflict with the Frisons who were edging their way up the Rhine, Charles is routed. A few weeks later, he is able to beat the Neustrians on the Ambeve River, near Malmedy. on 21 March 717, he is victorious over the Neustrians again, this time at Vincy, near Cambrai and he forces Chilperic II and his Mayor of the Palace, Rainfroi to flee to Paris. In 714, Charles takes the title Mayor of the Palace of Neustria, and gives the Neustrians a new King, Clotaire IV, son of Thierry III [who had died in 691] . The same year, his armies ravage Saxe all the way to the Weser River. In early 719, Clotaire IV died, and Rainfroi and Chilperic II obtain the assistance of Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine in a campaign against Charles. Charles defeats both armies; however, since Clotaire IV is dead, Charles recognizes Chilperic, but he becomes the Major Domus of both Neustria and Austrasia. When Chilperic II died in 721, Charles pulled Thierry IV, young adolescent son of Dagobert III, out of the Monastery of Chelles. from 722 to 724, the arabs mount successful offensives and pillage Autun. Charles, worried about maintaining the Franc authority, Charles Martel mounts a frightfully succesful campaign in Bavaria against the Allemanians and the Frisons, and he destroys their temples. Theutbald, Duke of the Allemanians is essentially powerless. In Gaule, toward the end of the decade, Charles turns his attention to Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine, who had maintained too independent an attitude. Aquitaine is ravaged in the process. In 730, Eudes allies himself with an Emir of northern Spain, Othmann ben Abi-Nessa and the arabs agin a foothold in southern France. By 732, a new emir, Adb-el-Rahman invades from Pampelona, cross the Pyrenees near Roncevaux, take and pillage Bordeaux, burning all the churches. In the Summer, they take Poitiers and destroy the basilica of Saint-Hilaire-hors-les-murs. On Saturday 17 October 732, Charles Martel's armies take the great Roman way linking Chatellerault to Poitiers and at 20 km North of Poitiers, at Moussais-la-Bataille, it encounters the arabs. They would observe each other for 7 days before the Battle of Poitiers would take place. The Battle of Poitiers: One Chronicler, Fredegaire described the action as follows: "Duke Eudes, being viewed with derision throughout his lands, called against Prince Charles and the nation of the Francs, that most perfidious race of the Sarrasins [that is not accurate as Eudes had first allied himself with an Emir, but then called upon Charles for aid when events turned on him] . The Sarrasins, led by their King, Abd-el-Rahman cross Gerona [another error as they set out from Pampelona and crossed the pyrenees at Roncevaux] . After having burned the churches, and crushed the population, they arrive in Poitiers. When they burn the Basilica and destroy the residence of Saint Martin, Prince Charles put into action an audacious plan and the order of Battle is given. With the aid of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our valorous Prince destroys their tents and flies into combat to crush them..." A less glorious account is given by a monk of the Abbey of Moissac: "The King of Spain, Abd-el-Rahman, having crossed the Pyrenees with his large army from Pampelona, laid siege to Bordeaux. Then Eudes, Prince of Aquitaine, leading his large assembled army fought against the Sarrasins on the banks of the Garonne. But, from the beginning, the Sarrasins were victorious. Eudes, having to flee, recruited the assistance of Charles, Prince of the Francs. Then Charles led his armies and combat ensued in the suburbs of Poitiers [the actual battle took place 20 km North of Poitiers] . The Sarrasins having been beaten by the Francs, and their King, Abd-el-Rahman killed, fled in a most disorderly manner back to Spain. As to Charles, he returned triumphantly to France with the bounty..." The Moslems have named that field of Battle: Balad-al-Shouhada -- Place of the Martyrs of the Faith. This victory gave Charles Martel extraordinary prestige, and it is there that he is said to have crushed the arabs "like a hammer". He then occupied the Bourgogne (Burgundy) and pacified the Languedoc, and Provence, thus establishing a significant French Monarchy. He exiled the family of Eucharic of Orleans, who controlled the bishopric of Auxerre, to Hesbaye, and installed his own man, Aimar to the Holy See. Married before 726: Sunnichild de Baviere. Buried: in Oct 741 in Saint Denis, Seine, Ile-de-France, France. Died: on 22 Oct 741 in Kiersy=Quierzy, Aisne, France, Upon Charles Martel's death, his two sons divide the Kingdom in accordance with his wishes. Carloman gets Austrasia, Allemania and Thuringia; Pepin gets Neustria, Burgundy and Provence. The rest, very little, went to Grifon, a bastard child of Charles by Swannhilde, grand-daughter of the Duke of the Bavarians.
RootsWeb.com is NOT responsible for the content of the GEDCOMs uploaded through the WorldConnect Program. The creator of each GEDCOM is solely responsible for its content.