Martel

Charles Martel

[mahr-tel; Fr. mar-tel]
Latin Carolus Martellus (“Charles the Hammer”)

(born circa 688—died Oct. 22, 741, Quierzy-sur-Oise, Fr.) Carolingian mayor of the palace (715–41). He was a child born out of wedlock to Pippin of Herstal, mayor of the palace and virtual ruler of the Frankish realm in the waning days of the Merovingian dynasty. On his father's death he overcame family opposition and rivals among the nobility to reunite and rule the entire Frankish realm. He subdued Neustria (724), attacked Aquitaine, and fought against the Frisians, Saxons, and Bavarians. His victory at the Battle of Tours/Poitiers (732) stemmed the Muslim invasion, and he controlled Burgundy by 739. He also supported the activities of St. Boniface and other missionaries. In Frankish royal tradition, he divided the kingdom between his sons Pippin III and Carloman who succeeded him as mayor; his grandson was Charlemagne.

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