The New International Encyclopædia/Charles Martel

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CHARLES MARTEL' (Fr., Charles the Hammer) (689-741). Mayor of the Palace under the last Merovingian kings, and the son of Pepin of Heristal. After his father's death in 714 he was proclaimed Mayor of the Palace by the Austrasians. A war between Austrasia and Neustria followed, which ended in Charles becoming undisputed ruler of all the Franks, the titular kings being mere puppets in his hands. He was engaged in long wars against the revolted Alemanni, Bavarians, and against the Saxons, but his importance as a historic personage is chiefly due to his wars against the Saracens, who, having conquered Septimania from the Visigoths, in 720, advanced into Aquitaine, conquered Bordeaux, defeated the Duke of Aquitaine, crossed the Garonne, advanced to the Loire, and threatened Tours. Charles overthrew them near Poitiers, in 732, in a great battle, in which their leader, Abd-er-Rahman, fell, and their progress, which had filled all Christendom with alarm, was checked for a time. He defeated them again in 738, when they had advanced into the Burgundian territories as far as Lyons, deprived them of Languedoc, which he added to the kingdom of the Franks, and left them nothing of their possessions north of the Pyrenees beyond the river Aude. Charles attempted to convert Saxony and Frisia to Christianity and gave aid to Saint Boniface (q.v.) in his missions. He died on October 22, 741, at Quiercy on the Oise, leaving the government of the kingdom to be divided between his two sons, Carloman and Pepin the Short.