Charles Martel

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Charles Martel

(märtĕl`) [O.Fr.,=Charles the Hammer], 688?–741, Frankish ruler, illegitimate son of Pepin of HeristalPepin of Heristal
(Pepin II) , d. 714, mayor of the palace (680–714) of the Frankish territory of Austrasia; grandson of Pepin of Landen and father of Charles Martel.
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 and grandfather of Charlemagne. After the death of his father (714) he seized power in Austrasia from Pepin's widow, who was ruling as regent for her grandsons, and became mayor of the palace. He subsequently subdued the W Frankish kingdom of Neustria and began the reconquest of Burgundy, Aquitaine, and Provence. Charles Martel defeated the Spanish Muslims at the battle of Tours (732–33) and began the military campaigns that reestablished the Franks as the rulers of Gaul. Although he never assumed the title of king, he divided the Frankish lands, like a king, between his sons Pepin the Short and Carloman.

Bibliography

See F. Lot, The End of the Ancient World and the Beginnings of the Middle Ages (1927, tr. 1961); E. James, The Origins of France: Clovis and the Capetians, A.D. 500–1000 (1982).

Charles Martel

 

(Carolus Martellus). Born c. 688; died Oct. 22, 741, at Quierzy. Mayor of the palace of the Merovingian Frankish state (715–). Son of Pepin of Herstal of the Pepinid clan (later called the Carolingians).

In defeating the nobility of Neustria and Aquitaine and reestablishing the political unity of the Frankish kingdom, Charles Martel in effect concentrated supreme power in his own hands under the last kings of the Merovingian dynasty. In order to continue the centralization of the state and militarily strengthen it, he did away with the previous system of giving land holdings as outright property and began extensively granting land, called benefices, on the basis of conditional tenure; he created a land fund for distribution to the beneficiaries by confiscating the holdings of insubordinate magnates and extensively secularizing church lands. His reforms were an important phase in the development of feudal relations in the Frankish state. Victorious over the Muslims in the battle near Poitiers (732), he subjugated the Frisians and Alemanni. His successes ensured the transition of royal power to the Carolingians (under his son Pepin the Short).

Charles Martel

grandfather of Charlemagne. ?688--741 ad, Frankish ruler of Austrasia (715--41), who checked the Muslim invasion of Europe by defeating the Moors at Poitiers (732)