King Charles (Karl) Martel "The Hammer" Of France Mayor of Austrasia, King of France
- Born: 675, Heristal, Liege, Belgium
- Marriage: Lady Chrodtrude Of Treeves Duchess of Austrasia
- Died: 741, Quierzy, Aisne, France at age 66
Succeeded his father as Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia in 714. Became more famous because in the decisive battle of Tours, he utterly routed the Arabs who had conquered Spain and the South of France. The Battle of Tours is regarded as one of the decisive battles of the world's history. For this victory, he was surnamed Martel ("the Hammer")
Mayor of the Palace in Austrasia; victor at Battle of Tours, Oct 732, vs. Saracens.
Charles MARTEL, Latin CAROLUS MARTELLUS, German KARL MARTELL (b. c. 688--d. Oct. 22, 741, Quierzy-sur-Oise, France), mayor of the palace of Austrasia (the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom) from 715 to 741, who reunited and ruled the entire Frankish realm and stemmed the Saracen invasion at Poitiers in 732. His byname, Martel, means "the hammer." A man of valiant determination, ambition, and ability, he strove incessantly to consolidate his power.
After the death of Dagobert I in 639, there had been no king of any worth in the Frankish kingdom. All of them were of the Merovingian line--idle, slothful, and bent on ease and luxury. The burden of rule lay upon the mayors of the palace, who in reality governed Austrasia, the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom, and Neustria, its western portion. These mayors not only controlled routine in the royal palace but also directed the political, social, and commercial life of the Franks. Neustria bitterly resented its conquest and annexation in 687 by Pepin of Herstal, mayor of Austrasia and father of Charles Martel, at the Battle of Tertry (Testry), near Péronne.
When in 714 Pepin of Herstal died, he left as heirs three grandsons, his legitimate children all being dead. Until his grandchildren came of age, Plectrude, Pepin's widow, was to hold power. As an illegitimate son, Charles Martel was entirely neglected in the will. But he was young, strong, and determined, and a struggle for control at once began between him and Plectrude.
Both Charles and Plectrude faced rebellion throughout the Frankish kingdom when Pepin's will was made known. The king, Chilperic II, was in the power of Ragenfrid, mayor of the palace of Neustria, who joined forces with an enemy of the Franks, Radbod, king of the Frisians in Holland, in order to eliminate Charles. Plectrude managed to imprison Charles, but he escaped, gathered an army, defeated King Chilperic and Mayor Ragenfrid, and conquered the hostile Neustrians. His success made resistance by Plectrude and the Austrasians useless; realizing the spirit and power of young Charles, they submitted, and by 719 Charles alone governed the Franks as mayor. Peace and order reigned in Austrasia and Neustria, so that by 724 Charles was free to deal with hostile elements elsewhere. This involved expeditions against the Saxons and the peoples of the lands near the Rhine and the Danube.
Battle of Poitiers.
Charles next crossed the Loire into Aquitaine, where one Eudes (Odo) was duke. Eudes, once an ally of Charles, had become disloyal and promptly called to his aid the Saracens, Moors from Africa, who, entering Spain in 711, had soon conquered it and were now (732) threatening Gaul. Led by their king, 'Abd ar-Rahman, they marched for Bordeaux, there to burn churches and to plunder. From Bordeaux they went across Aquitaine to Poitiers. It was outside this city that Charles Martel came upon them and put them to flight.
In 733 Charles forced Burgundy to yield to his rule, and in 734 he subdued the Frisians. During 735 word arrived that Eudes was dead, and Charles marched rapidly across the Loire River in order to make his power felt around Bordeaux. In 736 he fought to secure his conquest of Burgundy, and there were further engagements against the Saracens during the 730s.
Charles Martel's health began to fail in the late 730s, and in 741 he retired to his palace at Quierzy-sur-Oise, where he died soon after. Before his death he divided the Merovingian kingdom between his two legitimate sons, Pepin and Carloman. He had maintained the fiction of Merovingian rule all of his life, refraining from transferring the royal title to his own dynasty. [Encyclopædia Britannica CD '97: CHARLES MARTEL].
Family Archive Disk #100 lists five children, including a Duke Bernard, born 743, died abt 784. I have not included him here for obvious reasons, i.e., he was born two years after the death of his alleged father, Karl Martel, and 19 years after the death of his alleged mother, Rotrou of Alemania.
Also note that Aude of Francia was born abt 740, when her alleged mother, Rotrou of Alemania, is listed as having died in 724. Hmmmmmm?>
Charles married Lady Chrodtrude Of Treeves Duchess of Austrasia. (Lady Chrodtrude Of Treeves Duchess of Austrasia was born in 690 and died in 724.)