Sunday, June 05, 2016

Edward Gibbon, Charles Martel, and Islam

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chapter LII.
A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.
In actual fact, today Arabic studies are taught in Oxford.
From such calamities Christendom was delivered by the genius and fortune of one man. Charles, the illegitimate son of the elder Pepin, was content with the titles of mayor or duke of the Franks, but he deserved to become the father of a line of kings.
In 732, around October 10 (exact dates uncertain), Charles battled the Muslim armies between the cities of Tours and Poitiers and finally defeated them.
...the Arabs never resumed the conquest of Gaul, and they were soon driven beyond the Pyrenees by Charles Martel and his valiant race.
Charles Martel was the grandfather of Charlemagne.

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