Today Is Charles Martel Day
Charles Martel - Also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum (737–43) at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the title of Consul by the Pope, but he refused. He is remembered for winning the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers) in 732, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in western Europe.
A brilliant general, he is considered to be a founding figure of the Middle Ages, often credited with a seminal role in the development of feudalism and knighthood, and laying the groundwork for the Carolingian Empire. He was also the father of Pepin the Short and grandfather of Charlemagne.
A Moslem army, in a crusading search for land and the end of Christianity, after the conquest of Syria, Egypt, and North Africa, began to invade Western Europe under the leadership of Abd-er Rahman, governor of Spain. Abd-er Rahman led an infantry of 60,000 to 400,000 soldiers across the Western Pyrenees and toward the Loire River, but they were met just outside the city of Tours by Charles Martel, known as the Hammer, and the Frankish Army.
Martel gathered his forces directly in the path of the oncoming Moslem army and prepared to defend themselves by using a phalanx style of combat. The invading Moslems rushed forward, relying on the slashing tactics and overwhelming number of horsemen that had brought them victories in the past. However, the French Army, composed of foot soldiers armed only with swords, shields, axes, javelins, and daggers, was well trained. Despite the effectiveness of the Moslem army in previous battles, the terrain caused them a disadvantage. Their strength lied within their cavalry, armed with large swords and lances, which along with their baggage mules, limited their mobility.
The French army displayed great ardency in withstanding the ferocious attack. It was one of the rare times in the Middle Ages when infantry held its ground against a mounted attack. The exact length of the battle is undetermined; Arab sources claim that it was a two day battle whereas Christian sources hold that the fighting clamored on for seven days. In either case, the battle ended when the French captured and killed Abd-er Rahman. The Moslem army withdrew peacefully overnight and even though Martel expected a surprise retaliation, there was none. For the Moslems, the death of their leader caused a sharp setback and they had no choice but to retreat back across the Pyrenees, never to return again.