Frankish Monarch. The grandfather of Charlemagne, he is best remembered for winning the Battle of Tours in 732, which prevented Moslem advance from getting any farther into Europe than Spain. His Frankish army defeated an Arab and Berber army fighting to spread Islam, which had swept through southern Asia and north Africa, before conquering most of the Iberian peninsula and much of southern France. Although it took another two generations for the Franks to drive all the Arab garrisons out of what is now France and across the Pyrenees, Charles Martel's halt of the invasion of French soil turned the tide of Islamic advance, and the unification of the Frankish kingdom under him, his son Pippin the Short, and his grandson Charlemagne prevented the Ummayad kingdom from expanding over the Pyrenees. He was the son of Pippin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, and his concubine Alpaida. On Pippin's death in 714, the succession passed to an infant grandson, Theodoald. The faction of Austrasian nobles who supported Theodoald was led by his stepmother, Pippin's widow, Plectrude. Charles, who was already an adult, led a rival faction and prevailed in a series of battles against both invading Neustrian Franks and the forces of Plectrude. Between 718 and 723, he secured his power through a series of victories and by winning the loyalty of several important clerics. This he accomplished in part by donating lands and money for the foundations of abbeys such as Echternach. In the subsequent decade, he led the Frankish army against the eastern duchies, Bavaria and Alemannia, and the southern duchies, Aquitaine and Provence. He dealt with the ongoing conflict with the Saxons to his northeast with some success, but full conquest of the Saxons and their incorporation into the Frankish empire would have to wait for his grandson Charlemagne.
Bio by: Mongoose