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Old November 11th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #41

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Even if the Franks had a larger army, I think its still a remarkable victory for them....having a larger force not necessarily discredit victories...
Yes, it was a decisive victory, but I still think that if the Umayyads had won history wouldn't have been that different. The army at Tours' objective was to raid/scout, not conquer.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 02:16 AM   #42

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I dont think it's that remarkable Essa. The muslims were 'playing away' remember, and had never come up against the Franks much before.

I agree with Gnaeus that if they had won, they would've just plundered a bit more and returned home with even more booty. They just got greedy and over-confident.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 04:15 PM   #43

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I dont think it's that remarkable Essa. The muslims were 'playing away' remember, and had never come up against the Franks much before.

I agree with Gnaeus that if they had won, they would've just plundered a bit more and returned home with even more booty. They just got greedy and over-confident.
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Yes, it was a decisive victory, but I still think that if the Umayyads had won history wouldn't have been that different. The army at Tours' objective was to raid/scout, not conquer.
Don't you think guys that your conclusion of "insignificance" is based on an assumption.....that assumption itself was present after the same Umayyad incursions into Spain, but then Spain turned into an Islamic/world wonder and an Umayyad stronghold....

You know, in my humble evaluation of how the lost battle is perceived in the Arab world, I've seen some sources lessening its significance (on the Umayyad Caliphate) but its generally perceived as a big missed opportunity.....which (when we look at it from a Western perspective) would render the battle "of Major Importance"....
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Old November 16th, 2012, 03:09 AM   #44

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Thanks Essa. I am thinking from this point of view:

The further the 'arab' armies went from their homeland, the more extended they would become, so shortly after 711 and before Muslim Spain had really established itself as much other than an outpost. The arabs and berbers (who rarely got on in history anyway) were in a great minority among christians and converted christians of visigothic or hispano/roman descent, and local rulers could be of any background or descent at this time, depending on arrangements made and local negotiations.

The crossing into Europe only happened at all because they were invited in with the collusion of Count Julian of Ceuta - for whatever reason - and his allies in Spain, where the visigoths hierarchy was fatally split among Roman Catholic/ Arianism lines. Would this have happened anyway? May have been quite difficult.

So I just see Northern France as a bridge too far, with the Franks in residence as a power bloc, soon to be a mighty one.

I think the expansion would have crashed and burnt at some point, although the muslims precipitated it by destroying Count Eudon, and the Spanish March established by Charlemagne was the inevitable staus quo reached by the 2 empires.

Now as for Almanzor 2 and a half centuries later, that would have been an interesting story. But he seemed to limit himself to dismantling Barcelona in his northern ventures, although he surely had the force.

Last edited by johnincornwall; November 16th, 2012 at 03:23 AM.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 07:10 AM   #45

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Well, I don't dismiss your theory....Its true that Umayyads were far from home at Tours....But If we reverse the outcome of the battle then the possibilties of a larger incursion is higher....

Nevermind the reasons you've mentioned for conquest of Spain by Umayyads, the fact remains that its started by a 12,000 men that was later supported by 20,000-30,000 from the Umayyds bases in Qairawan (Tunisia), paving the way for a 700 years stay. So, there is an evidence of "support" when the "opportunity" to conquer the lands loomed. In the same reasoning, (with a supposed victory at Tours), The Caliphate could've supported the initial army through the sea, either from Qairawan or Egypt, or Damascus itself.....

What I think is a factor as well is absence of a true power that could stand a major Muslim assult on this particular area of Europe, with Byzantines pinned by the Caliphate in Anatolia...
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Old November 17th, 2012, 09:56 AM   #46
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This battle was fought in 732 AD where the Franks under Charles Martel, defeated an Umayyad's force under Abdul Rahman Al-Ghafqi.

Its significance is sometimes debatable,

Opinion 1 - That the victory was decisive, and was able to halt further Arab conqests in Europe, thereyby saving Christianity.

Opinion 2 - That the victory was a major one but actually "Insignificant" as the Muslim invasion was actually a large raiding force with no 'Actual' intention of conquering the Frankish Kingdom.
IMHO both 1 & 2 are unrealistic extremes.

Regarding "saving Christianity" of the Umayyad Caliphate, it's evident that the portentous Roman stands at Constantinople both:
- as early as 674-678 and also
- the other one quasi-contemporary to Poitiers above (717-718)
... and especially the seemingly boring years-long daily routine border defense of the Roman Themata in Asia Minor...
... were exponentially (several orders of magnitude) more decisive.

Even from a more local standpoint, Poitiers 732 was ostensibly not the end of the road for any potential Muslim imperialistic ambitions.

However, all those hard facts would hardly imply that this still impressive victory would have been irrelevant at all.

Not the least because of its immense political consequences within the Frankish realm itself.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 01:17 PM   #47

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Poitiers was very impressive for the Frankish Kingdom. I think that's why it's a remarkable battle, the largest empire in the world loses to a small kingdom on the edge of civilization. It's a little bit like the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in that sense.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 01:37 PM   #48
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Poitiers was very impressive for the Frankish Kingdom. I think that's why it's a remarkable battle, the largest empire in the world loses to a small kingdom on the edge of civilization. It's a little bit like the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in that sense.
Both historical cases would be a bit of out of context exaggerations.

The relevant context here is the inevitable problem of any quasi-universal empire; it is simply impossible to fight against just one single isolated enemy in any given border; both empires had plenty of additional borders to defend.

Another relevant context is that such great empires were fundamentally (as it is usually the case) large conquered populations ruled by a relatively small elite minority.

Exactly the same reasons (among several other) why it would have been impossible for the Achaemenid Persians to concentrate at Thermpopylae the literally millions of soldiers pretended by Herodotos & co.

A more recent analogy would be the British empire in WW2.
Under the same aforementioned criteria, at the beginning of WW2 and even ignoring their French & Polish allies, the like 532 million British Imperial subjects would have been theoretically in an immense advantage against the less than 80 million Germans of the III Reich .
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Old November 17th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #49

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Both historical cases would be a bit of out of context exaggerations.

The relevant context here is the inevitable problem of any quasi-universal empire; it is simply impossible to fight against just one single isolated enemy in any given border; both empires had plenty of additional borders to defend.

Another relevant context is that such great empires were fundamentally (as it is usually the case) large conquered populations ruled by a relatively small elite minority.

Exactly the same reasons (among several other) why it would have been impossible for the Achaemenid Persians to concentrate at Thermpopylae the literally millions of soldiers pretended by Herodotos & co.

A more recent analogy would be the British empire in WW2.
Under the same aforementioned criteria, at the beginning of WW2 and even ignoring their French & Polish allies, the like 532 million British Imperial subjects would have been theoretically in an immense advantage against the less than 80 million Germans of the III Reich .
This is an interesting comparison, but Muslim conquests entailed significant "Assimilation" of the locals....i.e. many of them converted to Islam and fought along side Caliphate armies.....the Spanish conquest is good example of this as the armies contained many Berber contingents along with Arabs....Tariq Ibn Ziyad himself is a Berber....
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Old November 17th, 2012, 09:17 PM   #50

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Back to the OP: IMHO both 1 & 2 are unrealistic extremes.

Regarding "saving Christianity" of the Umayyad Caliphate, it's evident that the portentous Roman stands at Constantinople both:
- as early as 674-678 and also
- the other one quasi-contemporary to Poitiers above (717-718)
... and especially the seemingly boring years-long daily routine border defense of the Roman Themata in Asia Minor...
... were exponentially (several orders of magnitude) more decisive.

Even from a more local standpoint, Poitiers 732 was ostensibly not the end of the road for any potential Muslim imperialistic ambitions.

However, all those hard facts would hardly imply that this still impressive victory would have been irrelevant at all.

Not the least because of its immense political consequences within the Frankish realm itself.
I'd agree on Constantinople....that's why Umayyads have attempted it twice....but still, majority of European lands were not under the realm of Byzantium. An Umayyad victory at Tours might open up an opportunity for more conquests and would likely make Rome (and Italy) vulnerable.....that might affect the later Renaissance and the flourishing kingdoms of Venice and Flourance...
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