Week 7: Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The Battle of Poitiers

On October 10, 732, the Battle of Poitiers was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille about 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Poitiers. The location of the battle was close to the border between the Frankish realm and then-independent Aquitaine. The battle pitted Frankish forces under Charles Martel against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, Governor-General of al-Andalus (Seville and Cordoba). The Franks were victorious, ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi was killed, and Charles subsequently extended his authority in the south. Ninth-century chroniclers, who interpreted the outcome of the battle as divine judgment in his favour, gave Charles the nickname Martellus (“The Hammer”). The Battle of Poitiers was one of the great turning points of history. It stopped what had seemed an unstoppable Islamic drive north into the heart of Europe. First had come the lightening invasion across the Mediterranean, then the conquest of all Spain in 711, and then the move further north over the Pyrenees into southern France. The battle not only marked the end of the northern spread of Islam in Europe, it also marked the ascent of a new dynasty in France: the Carolingians.

 

NO CLASS NEXT WEEK FOR THANKSGIVING

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Nat Collins, Chairman of the Board of the Institute traveled to the scene of the Battle of Poitiers in southern France and we will enjoy his photographs this evening.