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The Battle of Tours 732 AD

The Battle of Tours 732 AD

It’s late summer of the year 732 in the midst of Islamic Conquests, and the great Arab army crosses the Pyrenees in order to conquer lands of the Frankish Kingdom. They burn and pillage everything on their way, threatening the whole of Christian Europe. Suddenly, between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, Arab invading forces encounter the army led by the battle-hardened commander Duke Charles. He knows that he is the only one who is able to suppress the invasion, saving his kingdom, and Europe. It’s beginning of the eighth century. The Umayyad Caliphate spreads its influence across Asia Minor and North Africa, fulfilling the will of the Holy Prophet. The next natural step was to propagate the new religion in the Europe. There were two land routes to enter: the Turkish straits in the East, and the Gibraltar strait in the West. Unluckily for Arab expansion plans, Asia Minor was occupied by the Byzantine Empire, still strong despite internal and external problems. Both sides fought each other for centuries, with many epic battles, but in this episode we will focus on the western entrance to Europe. It’s year 711, a Umayyad warparty crosses the Gibraltar and defeats the Visigothic forces led by king Roderic in the Battle of Guadalete year later. The Visigothic Kingdom was heavily centralised and not prepared for a war. The death of Roderic caused a rapid decline of his Kingdom, and invading Muslims conquered most of Iberian Peninsula in less than seven years. That was the easier part of the plan. On the north, behind the peaks of the Pyrenees mountains lies the land of the Frankish Kingdom, yet to achieve its greatest power, but already firm enough to face the new Arab threat. But Muslim conquerors were not aware of the true strength of the Franks, and soon they started attacking southern Gaul, overruning Septimania by 719. In 721 Duke Odo of Aquitane temporarily halted the Saracen’s expansion by ambushing them near Toulouse, which had been sieged for a few months already. Despite this setback, Muslim forces still ravaged the lands of Aquitaine and reached even as far as Burgundy. It is worth mentioning that Arabs had seen European kingdoms as rather easy prey busy with fighting each other. In 732 the new governor of Al-Andalus, Abdul ar-Rahman Al Ghafiqi, organised large forces and invaded Gaul once again. His first target was the city of Bordeaux, which was ransacked. Odo again tried to fend off the invaders, but this time he failed miserably. The Saracen’s forces were now better prepared for the battle, consisting mostly of cavalry, and they wiped out Odo’s forces in the battle of Garonne river. Feeling that the Arab threat was very serious, Odo reorganised his scattered troops and fled north in search for help. This is the perfect moment to introduce our main character – Charles Martel, Mayor of the Palace and de facto ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. He was also an experienced battle commander. He spent a good part of his career fighting various tribes on the eastern border, so the core of his army was rock solid. Charles was aware that his kingdom was in danger, so despite political animosities, he decided to form an ally with Odo and defend their lands. Ar-Rahman’s troops advanced slowly, as his army was split into many ravaging parties, already carrying a huge amount of booty. Also, they had to wait for crops to grow, as they lived off the land they invaded. His main goal was most likely the prosperous city of Tours, known for its rich abbeys and churches, which were excellent targets to loot. In October of 732, the main body of the Arab forces encountered a large Christian army sitting directly in their path to Tours. Ar-Rahman was a decent commander, and realised that Charles Martel outmanouvered him, choosing the place of the battle. Muslim forces were mainly horsemen, a mix of light and heavy cavalry, many of them properly armored or even mailed, perfectly suited to fight in the open. In contrast Christian forces consisted mostly of heavy infantry units, battle-hardened through the years of minor fighting on the Frankish border, with the support of few light levy infantry and light cavalry units. Charles deployed his army between the Vienne and Clain rivers, in the slightly elevated forest, in order to screen his true numbers, and minimise the impact of the expected Arab cavalry charges. For seven days minor skirmishes took place. Charles Martel was holding good defensive positions, and knew that this was his only hope for victory. On the other side, ar-Rahman waited for the rest of his troops to join him, and was quite reluctant to attack Christians from the front, as he didn’t see many of their forces. His hesitations were also caused by subpar Muslim intelligence. He didn’t know much about the Franks, presumably he didn’t even recognize Charles himself, and Martel was fully aware of the Arabs’ strengths and weaknesses. The battle finally began on seventh day, as the Muslims couldn’t wait any longer with winter approaching, and their light clothing wasn’t enough for the cold European winters. Ar-Rahman trusted the tactical superiority of his cavalry and had them charge repeatedly in order to break Martel’s line, but the Frank’s tightly packed infantry stood firmly, fending off one Muslim charge after another. It was one of the rare instances where medieval infantry withstood the cavalry assaults, but Charles’ soldiers were well motivated and disciplined, and simply trusted Charles as a capable commander. As one medieval source described it: “And in the shock of battle the men of the North seemed like a sea that cannot be moved. “Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs.” Despite the Frankish brave attitude, after numerous charges, some of ar-Rahman’s units managed to break into Frankish line here and there, aiming to reach Charles’ position, but the Franks were able to push them back again, utilising forces from the second line. Battle was still underway when Duke Odo got behind enemy lines with small cavalry unit to ravage the Muslim camp, free slaves, retrieve booty, and more importantly draw off part of his foe. This action heavily impacted subsequent events. Some Arab units still fought the battle, while many of them surprisingly rushed back to save their loot. Ar-Rahman tried to stop his units from uncoordinated retreat, with little to no effect. It was exactly what Charles had waited for, and he then commanded his forces to pursue and attack the disorganised Arab troops. Many were surrounded and killed, including Ar-Rahman, who still strived to control his army. The Franks didn’t pursue their enemies for too long, fearing an ambush. They got back to the forest to treat their wounds and prepare for another day of Umayyad charges, but next morning the Arabs didn’t renew the battle. Scouts reported that their camp was abandoned. The battle was over. While modern historians argue whether the Franks stopped the Arab conquest in Europe or just fended off another Islamic waraparty, in 732 word was spreading across the Christian Europe that Charles, from now on nicknamed Martel, hammered a great Arab invasion and saved Europe from Islamic conquest, gaining eternal fame and respect, which immensely helped him to lay foundations of the Carolingian Empire.

100 thoughts on “The Battle of Tours 732 AD

  1. Thumbs down, "burn and pillage everything on their way" – false statement. Raided, yes. Sabotage by means of burning, sure. But the Prophet, peace be upon him, prohibited harming of children, women, elderly, innocents, civilians, animals, and even their crops and trees during war, long before Geneva convention. And the Turkish straits were not Turkish at the time. Nor is the sources of the info given. There should be a YouTube trashcan.

  2. Abdurehman was actually invited by king Craddick,s courtier …perhaps fernando as he cuz king had dishonoured by king

  3. unfortunately the franks have not liberated from their polytheism faith until now and the fact that Al-Andalus has been civilized meanwhile the franks remained on their dark ages, you can make your analysis for this period of time and figure it your self, also please have a look over the description on this link and also watch the documentary film by al jazeera.

  4. Damn there are some racist as hell comments out there. Europeans conquer and oppress natives, I sleep. Muslims conquer European natives, I pull out the religious intolerance and extreme racism because muh euro centrism.

  5. Charles Martel was the reincarnation of Roman emperor Hadrian, so Roman battle formations were in full form here.

  6. I suspect that those battle numbers were exaggerated as were most historic accounts. 12,000 lost is huge for that period, and as you mentioned, they were mostly cavalry. It's a pity that European history is told almost entirely from the side of the Europeans. Muslims of that period were highly literate and there no doubt exist Arabic accounts of that battle.

  7. These are arab expansions of the ummayad khalifite era and has little to do with ''Islam'' as a religion, and I really doubt it was about spreading Islam through sword and conquest, and if any raising of cities happened during this army movement it's considered away from God told us, which is basically not to harm anything living in wartime even crops, Islam is the message after Christianity and is the final message, sorry for my poor English, greetings to you 🙂

  8. One thing and most accounts seem to get wrong. Even religious wars aren't 100% religious. There will always be alliances and mercenaries fighting for one side or the other. There is good evidence of this during the Reconquest. Also, many figures who were Muslim were later claimed to be Christian. And there was much more intermarriage than was recorded in official histories.

  9. بلغوا عن المقطع و اطلبوا الحذف لأن به أكاذيب عن الدوله الإسلاميه بالأندلس

  10. What happened to fighting for Allah? The Muslim troops abandoned the fight when their loot was retrieved, sex slaves — whom they'd enslaved and raped mere moments after killing their men — were freed and their camp was ravaged despite their leader saying not to retreat and left their leader to be killed… Bunch of rapists, looters and oppurtunists who cant keep hold of their own women at their finest…

  11. Was I the only one shouting at my screen at the screw ups of both armies?

    Umayads screwed up when they didn't use the forest as a means of starving them out, poisoning the river, cutting off road supplies and ultimately trying to draw them out of the forest where his Cavelry would regain it's tactical advantage. Charles would have lost miserably if his gamble didn't work, instead I would have lined up the for front of the forest/hill with 4 battalions of troops whilst the rest retreat back to the forest where they are unseen, then they would form a U cup formation in which the retreating front line battalions would pose as a bait in which the main forces could surround the Cavelry and maximize the forest's use as a way to slow down and halt the Cavelry charge significantly.

    It may seem like these two "leaders" were smart and tactically gifted, but I assure you that they both are not as good as you think. This battle is full of basic strategy and lack of discipline, such a shame considering it was a major battle between the umayads and the Frank's.

    PS: I have over 500 fukin hours on total war, put me back 1500 years and I can take over Europe in a heart beat. (Germainia4lyfe)

  12. I am an Arab Muslim and I prefer to stay East East West West Diversity is beautiful. If all the world were just an apple, this world would be boring If all the world were good there was no need for hell The wisdom of the Lord is that the world remains diverse, and the people are different In the evil and in goodness in the infidel and in the believer in the rich and in the poor in the white and in the black

  13. O stupid Christian, do you think that Jesus is a Swedish and a Christian born in Rome? You embrace the religion of the Arab East Christian, an Eastern religion, you stupid idiot, the place that came out of Islam

  14. The day will come when Europeans will curse Charles Martel, but this will happen in the other after death if Islam entered Europe for the end of evil in the world There was nothing in Europe called the Dark Ages, proof that Andalusia compared it to Europe at that time and you will see the difference

  15. The clever leader he choose the time and the place
    Charles take this two point
    Must rahhman not fight the frank in this place first or this time .frank they use the greek tactics in defence
    Rahhman forget the the arab tactics (ben al waleed tactic) because no way to go across or to bit from sides or back by use the high speed of cavarly
    Must from 3th day to chanch the tactice .
    For that Charlie win and rahman loose.
    This historic fact and must respect it

  16. @pierre : charles martel wasnt a french king… For the simple reason France did not exist ! He was a Frank, spoke german and was born in what is today Belgium. France and Germany are the result of the partition o the empire of Carolus magnus much later.

  17. You are very very funny or maybe very very stupid your lack of knowledge is baffling.95% of the soldiers in the army were Berbers from north Africa modern day Algeria morocco and Tunisia.the Arabs in the army you referring to were only 3% of the most.You should have called it the Islamic or me because Everybody in that army what are Muslims they were not Arabs which history books are you taking your information from

  18. Beside you call in the Islamic order me an out of order me one for literally 95% of the soldiers in the Islamic order me were Berbers you also said that Europe was Christian correction only about 40% of Europe at the time was Christian the majority in the north west still heathen and the majority in the east were still here than meaning they were not Christians Christianity came to Scandinavia only in the ninth century and also in theEastern Slavic lands after the ninth century I really don’t know where you are getting your information from do you just want to make videos and likes and make some money if you don’t know what you’re talking about please go watch video cats or something else

  19. The number of Christians was 140,000 among Muslims. 35 How long do you distort history? We will return as we were and cut off your head

  20. So the muslims of the Islamic empire were not all wonderfully enlightened scholars single handedly keeping civilization alive after all. I never would've guessed.
    We owe our civilization to these soldiers. Such a shame that Europe is now being given away.

  21. Jesus, if you want to learn history on YouTube the worst thing to do is go into the comment section. People really can’t behave themselves on the internet.

  22. These are the glories of the Arabs and we are proud of them. I hope that the Arabs will unite and defeat their enemies

  23. Modern historians are mostly libtard leftists prone to suck muslim ass; eg Bill Marr in his world history.
    Truth is The Hammer kicked the crap out of the filthy mus, saving humanity from the muslim plague, sending the trash out of Europe for centuries: until Jan Sobieski whacked mus garbage again.

  24. Muslims lost few hundreds men and killed thousands of their ennenies,according to islamic historians ..i dont know how infatry kill 12000 cavalry soldiers in a quick general retreat …btw muslims stayed in france military for more than 120 years and enslaved thousands of french and used to take the jizya till the era of Alrashid

  25. 1) They are not called Turkish Straits they are the Dardenelles.
    2) The Byzantine Empire , they called themselves State of Romans btw (Κρατος Ρωμαιων) , didn't "occupy" the region of Anatolia they held it since Caesar was alive. If someone is "occupying" Anatolia then these are the current inhabitants of the region.

  26. This is happening now only difrance is the name its called
    Diversity and Muslims are inergrating France into it's new caliphate by stealth warfare there is now 6.million Muslims Birth rates are 4.2 and the French are at 1.6 way below replacement rates
    Within 20 years from now the Muslim will be the magoraty
    And the French old and week with
    No young people to fight with any way.

  27. Charles: “That sure was a hard fought victory to keep Muslims from conquering Europe. I sure hope my distant descendants don’t invite them back in and just let themselves be conquered from within…”

  28. From the very beginning Islam had a hit list of all the key Christian sites it wanted to conquer -it started off with Jerusalem which they quickly conquered, went on to include such places as Damascus,Alexandria and Carthage which they also took.They tried to get Constantinople twice and failed but eventually got it in 1453.They tried to get Rome itself in 862 but were repulsed.They set their sights on key Christian cities like Paris, Vienna(twice) and the key island of Malta but failed.Don't try to tell us that this invasion was half hearted and limited in intention-had they won at Tours all of western Europe would have been opened up including Britain and Germany.The glories and achievements of western Europe and its eventual freedoms would never have happened if the Arabs had won at Tours.

  29. Galicia lost its capital, but not the north!!!! Arab sources call all Christians Galician. The capital of Galicia became itinerant throughout the Galician territory that was larger than the current one. Spanish historiography has always censored this non-Spanish role. This inconvenient role. It is preferred to talk about Leon or Asturias, and Asturian and Leon kings, while French documents and other parts of Eurpopa of the same times speak of Galician kings and Kingdom of Galicia. Spanish historiography is as reliable and honest as Russian tradition. The problems of researchers to access old documents are a constant today.

  30. As soon as you hear an American commentary you click off because Americans automatically mean a lightweight pathetic documentary.

  31. Back in the glory days when Europeans protected their territory and culture – now, welcome the Muslim 5th-column invaders, cheer when they suicide-bomb our cities, and turn on our own who seek to highlight the threat and defend our nations.

  32. They did Jihad for the sake of spoils of war instead of for Allah. That's why they lost. This is why the Europeans now always try to force us to abandon our religious beliefs. Because they know history. And they realize that what made the Muslims unstoppable was their devout belief in Allah. So if they could somehow secularize us and remove the belief in Allah from our societies, we could be easily defeated by them. This is why they abolished Muslim rule and the Caliphate. They colonized us and replaced our Islamic based systems (of govt) with secularized westernized ones. They got rid of Islamic curriculums and replaced them with secular western eurocentric ones. After 100 years, just look at the Muslim countries today and tell me their plan didn't go exactly according to plan! We have been beaten by them brothers and sisters. There's no way around it.

    The only hope we have now is if we all return to our roots and study Islam again. But it's too late. That will never happen because westernization, secular democracy and eurocentrism has already taken hold in the Muslim lands and we can't wind back the clock. Muslims have lived under western style rule for too long. The last thing they want to come back is Muslim style rule and Shari'a laws. Most who identify as "Muslims" refuse to listen and go back to study Islam. So we are all doomed. Because 99.9999% want secular democracy and western way of life instead of Islam. In fact, if you try to present them with Islam in exchange for their modern-day western beliefs, they'll spit in your face probably.

    They do not want anything to do with Islam anymore which they view as inferior to the western democratic way of life. Slowly but surely all these modern-day westernized Muslims will become non-Muslims just like the Moriscos in Spain. And they themselves will fight a war against Islam. Just like the Sicilian ex-Muslims and Andalusian ex-Muslims. There is no way to turn this around anymore. It's done! Until Allah chooses a new people to carry on the banner of Islam. But as for us, the Arabs, Turks, Sub-Saharan, Indian, Kurds, Berbers, Persians etc. We are done! It's just a matter of time until we are replaced by others who actually do love Allah and want to give victory to His religion. Allah chooses whom He wills. And our time is done brothers and sisters.

  33. I see the muslim arguing about their "greatness", but then once we look at them today, their lands are full of sand with no natural resources expect oil (which we are taking) and u terrorizing and raping children

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