Mayor Charles Martel Carolingian Austrasia
- Born: 676, Heristal, Leige, Belgium
- Marriage: Duchess Chrotrud of Austria
- Died: 22 Oct 741, Quierzy-sur-Oise, Aisne, France at age 65
- Buried: Monastery, St Denis, Paris, Seine, France
Born: Cir 688-690
Died: 22 Oct 741, Quierzy, on the Oise River at age 53
Carolingian ruler of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia (in present northeastern France and southwestern Germany). Charles, whose surname means "the hammer," was the son of Pepin of Herstal and the grandfather of Charlemagne. Pepin was mayor of the palace under the last kings of the Merovingian dynasty. After Pepin died in 714, Charles, an illegitimate son, was imprisoned by his father's widow, but he escaped in 715 and was proclaimed mayor of the palace by the Austrasians. A war between Austrasia and the Frankish kingdom of Neustria (now part of France) followed, and at the end of it Charles became the undisputed ruler of all the Franks. Although he was engaged in wars against the Alamanni, Bavarians, and Saxons, his greatest achievements were against the Muslims from Spain, who invaded France in 732. Charles defeated them near Poitiers in a great battle in which the Muslim leader, Abd-ar-Rahman, the emir of Spain, was killed. The progress of Islam, which had filled all Christendom with alarm, was thus checked for a time. Charles drove the Muslims out of the Rhône valley in 739, when they had again advanced into France as far as Lyon, leaving them nothing of their possessions north of the Pyrenees beyond the Aude River. Charles died in Quierzy, on the Oise River, leaving the kingdom divided between his two sons, Carloman and Pepin the Short.
Noted events in his life were:
â€¢ He was a Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia.
Charles married Chrotrud. (Chrotrud died in 724.)
Biography*: Charles MARTEL, Latin CAROLUS MARTELLUS, German KARL MARTELL (b. c. 688--d. Oct. 22, 741, Quierzy-sur-Oise, France), mayor of the palace of Austrasia (the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom) from 715 to 741. He reunited and ruled the entire Frankish realm and stemmed the Muslim invasion at Poitiers in 732. His byname, Martel, means "the hammer." Charles was the illegitimate son of Pepin of Herstal, the mayor of the palace of Austrasia. By this period the Merovingian kings of the Frankish realm were rulers in name only. The burden of rule lay upon the mayors of the palace, who governed Austrasia, the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom, and Neustria, its western portion. Neustria bitterly resented its conquest and annexation in 687 by Pepin, who, acting in the name of the king, had reorganized and reunified the Frankish realm. The assassination of Pepin's only surviving legitimate son in 714 was followed a few months later by the death of Pepin himself. Pepin left as heirs three grandsons, and until they came of age, Plectrude, Pepin's widow, was to hold power. As an illegitimate son, Charles Martel was entirely neglected in the will. But he was young, strong, and determined, and an intense struggle for power at once broke out in the Frankish kingdom. Both Charles and Plectrude faced rebellion throughout the Frankish kingdom when Pepin's will was made known. The king, Chilperic II, was in the power of Ragenfrid, mayor of the palace of Neustria, who joined forces with the Frisians in Holland in order to eliminate Charles. Plectrude imprisoned Charles and tried to govern in the name of her grandchildren, but Charles escaped, gathered an army, and defeated the Neustrians in battles at Amblève near Liège (716) and at Vincy near Cambrai (717). His success made resistance by Plectrude and the Austrasians useless; they submitted, and by 719 Charles alone governed the Franks as mayor. Assured of Austrasia, Charles now attacked Neustria itself, finally subduing it in 724. This freed Charles to deal with hostile elements elsewhere. He attacked Aquitaine, whose ruler, Eudes (Odo), had been an ally of Ragenfrid, but Charles did not gain effective control of southern France until late in his reign. He also conducted long campaigns, some as late as the 730s, against the Frisians, Saxons, and Bavarians, whose brigandage endangered the eastern frontiers of his kingdom. In order to consolidate his military gains, Charles supported St. Boniface and other missionaries in their efforts to convert the German tribes on the eastern frontier to Christianity. Ever since their arrival in Spain from Africa in 711, the Muslims had raided Frankish territory, threatening Gaul and on one occasion (725) reaching Burgundy and sacking Autun. In 732 'Abd ar-Rahman, the governor of Córdoba, marched into Bordeaux and defeated Eudes. The Muslims then proceeded north across Aquitaine to the city of Poitiers. Eudes appealed to Charles for assistance, and Charles' cavalry managed to turn back the Muslim onslaught at the Battle of Poitiers. The battle itself may have been only a series of small engagements, but after it there were no more great Muslim invasions of Frankish territory. In 733 Charles began his campaigns to force Burgundy to yield to his rule. In 735 word arrived that Eudes was dead, and Charles marched rapidly across the Loire River in order to make his power felt around Bordeaux. By 739 he had completely subdued the petty chieftains of Burgundy, and he continued to fend off Muslim advances into Gaul during the decade. Charles' health began to fail in the late 730s, and in 741 he retired to his palace at Quierzy-sur-Oise, where he died soon after. Before his death he divided the Merovingian kingdom between his two legitimate sons, Pepin and Carloman. He continued to maintain the fiction of Merovingian rule, refraining from transferring the royal title to his own dynasty. Source: "Charles MARTEL" Britannica Online. [Accessed 10 February 1998].
Charles married Duchess Chrotrud of Austria, daughter of Bp Of Treves Leutwinus and Mrs. Leutwinus. (Duchess Chrotrud of Austria was born about 690 in Austrasia, France and died in 724.)