Frankish defeat by Muslims = no modern civilisation?

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Closed
Nov 2010
7,648
Cornwall
#72
Many of the posts here once again assume 'muslim'/'islam' is some sort of single entity, which it certainly was not after the early part of the 8th century. It was a vast mix of largely rival dynasties, clans, factions and origins. Conquests were mostly about land and money.

Interesting bit from Eupedia:

"After two centuries of rule, the waning power of the Merovingian dynasty prompted Charles Martel (686-741), a native from Liège, to proclaime himself Duke of the Franks and was in all but name de facto ruler of the Frankish Realms. In 732, he routed the invading Islamic Moorish armies of the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours), thus saving Europe from Islamisation. This is one of the most important achievements of the Franks in the history of Europe up to this day. Without Charles Martel, Europe, or at least Western Continental Europe, would have become part of the Muslim world, an event that would almost certainly have prevented the Renaissance from happening, and would consequently also have precluded the Great Voyages, the Colonisation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and everything that follows. Without Charles Martel, Europe might well have stagnated to the medieval period to this day. As a result, modern technologies wouldn't exist anywhere on Earth."

A brief history of the Franks

Do you agree with this or not?
My opinion after much readings in this period, is that Tours/Poitiers was a large raid in force. It is relatively far north for 'spread of islam' and seems to have been a treasure raid driven by and led by the governor in Cordoba. These oft-replaced governors were required to send loot back to Damascus and also pay their own berber (largely) troops - no pay no troops. It also seems likely they got carried away with said booty and allowed themselves to be 'caught'.

It must be remembered that they did include the Narbonense of 'France' in their 'Emirate' but not the far north coast of Spain - this is because their realm almost exactly mirrored the Vigisothic Kingdom of Toledo - a strong indication toward the large political/pacting element of that 'takeover'


But might the Muslims have eventually attempted to invade had their raid not been so soundly defeated?
Once the intial momentum of Musa's conquests in North Africa and then Hispania had fallen away (along with his head) there was very little unity or master planning, shall we say. The divided nature of all the little cities and chieftains made concerted planning very difficult - this is why Asturias was able to get a foothold - no body had the resource or coordination whilst also dealing with skirmishes in 'France'


One source states that the Muslims had possibly 80,000. That's a rather large raiding party.
Muslim Invasions: Battle of Tours
We have little about this battle, like much of the 8th century, which is why we always debate it. But we do have quite a lot of bizarre sources from a later period, both in arabic and in latin, each trying to outdo each other. You only have to look at Las Navas (1212) where daft sources quote 100,000, up to even 300,000 Almohad dead. This is utter lunacy but may not be entirely down to exaggeration - what concept of numbers did anyone have? 'An Impressive amount' basically. Probably the biggest inland campaign in Spain was indeed last Navas, where Garcia Fitz estimates the Almohad army as around 28,000 inc allies, Alfonso's around 10-14,000, largely based on the capacity of Mesa del Rey, where his army was camped/trapped the night before. Whilst muslim armies were almost always bigger (and cheaper, fanatics etc) numbers at major battles such as Sagrajas/Zalaqa and Ucles were very low (probably 5000 and 3000 for the Christian army). Anyone who has travelled in Spain will realise the fantastical impossibility of large figures when it comes to food, water and horse supply, with poor communications. Tariq's army is oft quoted around 10-11000, including by Garcia Moreno himself - a needle in ahaystacjk in the great expanse of Hispania with Visigothic effectives numbering many tens of thousands - in theory. Another example of the political nature as well as statal incompetence and dysfunctionality

Here's another source that confirms those numbers.
Battle of Tours (732 A.D.)
You like to make absurd comments with no proof. Fantasy I call it. Back up your "fiction" claim. Provide a source to dispute mine. I'm waiting for more than your laughable opinion.
I don't want to get involved in a private argument but many 'sources' are bonkers, make zero sense. There are many reasons for this, which again we have debated much


Yes, which is why the second article states the number was more likely at the lower end, near 60,000. And the my first source said 80,000. So, 60,00 to 80,000 appears to be a reasonable number. Now, post something to dispute this or go troll elsewhere. A raiding party. LOL
I believe it was. I also beleive it was mainly cavalry. They need a lot of grass


Then that one sources guess is as good as anyone else. There are actually reasons to downplay the size of the Islamic Invasion force because the Muslims only invaded Iberia with 11k troops (6k initially from Tariq Ibn Ziyad and later with 5k reinforcement from Man Musa)

20k a piece is IMO a more reasonable estimate; but that is just a guess.
Good points. I also believe that in this whole period, to conquer/raid anywhere you only needed a stronger force than the one in place, not a massive one. You might even be able to extend this to the raids of the mighty Almanzor in the 10th century - they never knew where he would turn up next from Barcelona to Santiago and all points in between To march or ride up through France knocking aside a few Aquitanians and rthen stealing a load of gold from the Cathedral at Poitiers would be fairly easy. But then, whoops, someone turns up with an organised force and whilst you are too greedy to leave your gold, you get whacked
Good response! Anyway, I have a question: In this sentence, you said this:

"Even had the force occupied the Duchy of Aquitaine, the Frankish crown would be keen to gain in back, and there would be no help coming from elsewhere for it."

Do you mean help for the Umayyads or help for the Franks?
Again there is this obsession of muslim v Christian, well out of place before the crusades. The Franks and the Aquitanians were not friends. The Franks used this episode to move south and 'protect' the Aquitanians, whether they wanted it or not. Poor old Count Eudon had the arab kingdom to the south and the Franks in the north


Muslims were forced out of Spain during the Middle Ages. By 1250 they only controlled a small part of the south. Whatever their accomplishments in Spain may have been they were only at a medieval level, and Muslim civilization didn’t develop much beyond that. And Spain didn’t decline after the reconquista, on the contrary that’s when it became a major world power.
The relationship between Musa and Tariq's troops in 711 and people who 'controlled a small part of the south' in 1250 is, in practice, politically nothing at all. There is a huge amount of water under the bridge between the first raids in Hispania in 709/710 and the final expulsion of the moriscos in 1609-11. Try try and classify 900 years of history, politics and fighting (largely among co-religionists) is beyond all reason.

I try not to get involved in who 'develops' and who doesn't . But if there was ever a retarded, brutal and oppressive society that needed replacing or reinvigorating, it was the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo, at the time in the hands of that unfortunate victim of circumstances, Rodrigo/Roderic. I firmly believe the best analysis of the known sources (of all origin) is Luis A Garcia Moreno, where you get the general scenario of the period

https://www.amazon.co.uk/España-702-719-Luis-García-Moreno/dp/8447214699



The Renaissance started after Muslims had lost control of most of Spain. Already by 1250 they only controlled a small part in the south.
'They' didn't really. The Nazari state was a muslim state, as many others had been in the previous years. There was no vast 'muslim' conspircay 'controlling; things at this time.
 
Nov 2014
1,616
Birmingham, UK
#73
Many of the posts here once again assume 'muslim'/'islam' is some sort of single entity, which it certainly was not after the early part of the 8th century. It was a vast mix of largely rival dynasties, clans, factions and origins. Conquests were mostly about land and money.



My opinion after much readings in this period, is that Tours/Poitiers was a large raid in force. It is relatively far north for 'spread of islam' and seems to have been a treasure raid driven by and led by the governor in Cordoba. These oft-replaced governors were required to send loot back to Damascus and also pay their own berber (largely) troops - no pay no troops. It also seems likely they got carried away with said booty and allowed themselves to be 'caught'.

It must be remembered that they did include the Narbonense of 'France' in their 'Emirate' but not the far north coast of Spain - this is because their realm almost exactly mirrored the Vigisothic Kingdom of Toledo - a strong indication toward the large political/pacting element of that 'takeover'




Once the intial momentum of Musa's conquests in North Africa and then Hispania had fallen away (along with his head) there was very little unity or master planning, shall we say. The divided nature of all the little cities and chieftains made concerted planning very difficult - this is why Asturias was able to get a foothold - no body had the resource or coordination whilst also dealing with skirmishes in 'France'




We have little about this battle, like much of the 8th century, which is why we always debate it. But we do have quite a lot of bizarre sources from a later period, both in arabic and in latin, each trying to outdo each other. You only have to look at Las Navas (1212) where daft sources quote 100,000, up to even 300,000 Almohad dead. This is utter lunacy but may not be entirely down to exaggeration - what concept of numbers did anyone have? 'An Impressive amount' basically. Probably the biggest inland campaign in Spain was indeed last Navas, where Garcia Fitz estimates the Almohad army as around 28,000 inc allies, Alfonso's around 10-14,000, largely based on the capacity of Mesa del Rey, where his army was camped/trapped the night before. Whilst muslim armies were almost always bigger (and cheaper, fanatics etc) numbers at major battles such as Sagrajas/Zalaqa and Ucles were very low (probably 5000 and 3000 for the Christian army). Anyone who has travelled in Spain will realise the fantastical impossibility of large figures when it comes to food, water and horse supply, with poor communications. Tariq's army is oft quoted around 10-11000, including by Garcia Moreno himself - a needle in ahaystacjk in the great expanse of Hispania with Visigothic effectives numbering many tens of thousands - in theory. Another example of the political nature as well as statal incompetence and dysfunctionality



I don't want to get involved in a private argument but many 'sources' are bonkers, make zero sense. There are many reasons for this, which again we have debated much




I believe it was. I also beleive it was mainly cavalry. They need a lot of grass




Good points. I also believe that in this whole period, to conquer/raid anywhere you only needed a stronger force than the one in place, not a massive one. You might even be able to extend this to the raids of the mighty Almanzor in the 10th century - they never knew where he would turn up next from Barcelona to Santiago and all points in between To march or ride up through France knocking aside a few Aquitanians and rthen stealing a load of gold from the Cathedral at Poitiers would be fairly easy. But then, whoops, someone turns up with an organised force and whilst you are too greedy to leave your gold, you get whacked


Again there is this obsession of muslim v Christian, well out of place before the crusades. The Franks and the Aquitanians were not friends. The Franks used this episode to move south and 'protect' the Aquitanians, whether they wanted it or not. Poor old Count Eudon had the arab kingdom to the south and the Franks in the north




The relationship between Musa and Tariq's troops in 711 and people who 'controlled a small part of the south' in 1250 is, in practice, politically nothing at all. There is a huge amount of water under the bridge between the first raids in Hispania in 709/710 and the final expulsion of the moriscos in 1609-11. Try try and classify 900 years of history, politics and fighting (largely among co-religionists) is beyond all reason.

I try not to get involved in who 'develops' and who doesn't . But if there was ever a retarded, brutal and oppressive society that needed replacing or reinvigorating, it was the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo, at the time in the hands of that unfortunate victim of circumstances, Rodrigo/Roderic. I firmly believe the best analysis of the known sources (of all origin) is Luis A Garcia Moreno, where you get the general scenario of the period

https://www.amazon.co.uk/España-702-719-Luis-García-Moreno/dp/8447214699





'They' didn't really. The Nazari state was a muslim state, as many others had been in the previous years. There was no vast 'muslim' conspircay 'controlling; things at this time.
This is a tremendous post which I only hope people will read and digest, although I fear that for the reasons given by kirialax, the conflation of various groups of Muslims into The Muslims, and the agenda-driven hypotheses of The Muslim Conquest of the Whole of Europe, will unfortunately not abate; it's a shame to see such historical good sense going to waste.


Conquest does not equal Islamization, and Islamization in one place does not look like Islamization in another, so it's impossible to say that had Charles lost, "Europe" would have turned out as it did. We could just as easily ask how Europe would have turned out had Attila lived for another four decades, but we don't ask that question because it doesn't score any political points in contemporary debates about immigration in Europe.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,847
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#74
Muslims conquered the Byzantine empire and southeastern Europe. It seems unlikely that if they had previously conquered western Europe in the Early Middle Ages they would have later failed to conquer the Byzantine Empire and southeastern Europe.
1. My post said:
Despite the best efforts of the Caliphs, including sieges of Constantinople in 674-678 and in 717-718, the Muslims never conquered the remaining Roman territories in Asia Minor and Europe in the early middle ages. The Roman empire eventually even reconquered lands in Asia minor and northern Syria from the Muslims.
And the Muslims never did conquer the remaining parts of the Roman Empire during the EARLY MIDDLE AGES.

2. It can be argued that it is obviously the duty of all Muslims to be part of a political community of all Muslims, so that Muslims will not fight against their fellow Muslims. Therefore, once the Caliphate splintered into many separate independent states by about AD 950, there were no Muslims left anymore, just people who claimed to be Muslims. Therefore the Ottomans were not Muslims and so the Muslims didn't conquer the the "Byzantine" empire and southeastern Europe.

3. There was no unified Muslim state when the Ottomans conquered the "Byzantine" empire and southeastern Europe, therefore the Ottoman state and not the Muslim state conquered the "Byzantine" empire and southeastern Europe, therefore "The Muslims" as a whole never conquered the "Byzantine" empire and southeastern Europe.

4. The Ottoman conquest of the "Byzantine" empire and southeastern Europe was well over 500 years after the period in discussion. In the period being discussed the eastern Roman or "Byzantine" empire blocked the Muslim empire or Caliphate from Invading Europe by the direct route. The next best way to invade Europe would have been by sea. Various Muslim invasions by sea did conquer many Mediterranean islands, Spain, and small parts of the main land of Europe, but the Caliphate never launched a major effort to invade and conquer large areas of Europe by sea. Invading Spain from Morocco and then Gaul from Spain was the third best way. Geography meant that it had to be a local effort almost totally unsupported by the Caliphate - totally unsuppoorted after 756. This invasion was carried out with limited local resources and thus had a comparatively small chance of success.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,113
US
#75
I think posters are letting debatable numbers on troop strength cloud and distract from the OP. My discussion on numbers related to a comment that the invasion was merely a raiding party. I still argue this was not merely a raiding party. Since its inception, the followers of Muhammad were intent on conquering. How far was Tours from the Muslim base of power? And did not the Pyrenees have to be crossed to engage? That would be an ambitious raiding party. Name other places where, prior to the battle of Tours, the Muslims were content with raids only, and I am not referring to raids as a prelude or as a support to conquest, as these would merely be a temporary ploy.
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,446
Europix
#76
I think posters are letting debatable numbers on troop strength cloud and distract from the OP. My discussion on numbers related to a comment that the invasion was merely a raiding party. I still argue this was not merely a raiding party. Since its inception, the followers of Muhammad were intent on conquering. How far was Tours from the Muslim base of power? And did not the Pyrenees have to be crossed to engage? That would be an ambitious raiding party. Name other places where, prior to the battle of Tours, the Muslims were content with raids only, and I am not referring to raids as a prelude or as a support to conquest, as these would merely be a temporary ploy.


My friend, numbers don't tell if it was a raiding party or a conquest intention (in the period, a couple of hundred of warriors did part for conquest, and sometimes did succeed, for example).


How far north from Pyrénées isn't a pro nor con argument in itself either (not much later Hungarians were raiding Europe on far longer distances, for example).


Not to say that Muslim Spain was closer to South of France than Austrasie (Charles Martel was born in Herstal, (today in Belgium) and started his career there, after all ..
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,279
#77
I think posters are letting debatable numbers on troop strength cloud and distract from the OP. My discussion on numbers related to a comment that the invasion was merely a raiding party. I still argue this was not merely a raiding party. Since its inception, the followers of Muhammad were intent on conquering. How far was Tours from the Muslim base of power? And did not the Pyrenees have to be crossed to engage? That would be an ambitious raiding party. Name other places where, prior to the battle of Tours, the Muslims were content with raids only, and I am not referring to raids as a prelude or as a support to conquest, as these would merely be a temporary ploy.
Really. The determining factor is the force's faith. The any force that is Islamic in faith MUST be about conquest. I think just painting all islamic entities with the same over bearing push to conquest is hardly an accurate to approach history. It;s putting dogma and politics before examintaion of the facts.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,113
US
#78
Really. The determining factor is the force's faith. The any force that is Islamic in faith MUST be about conquest. I think just painting all islamic entities with the same over bearing push to conquest is hardly an accurate to approach history. It;s putting dogma and politics before examintaion of the facts.
No. Not really. You are assuming more from my post than I intended. But then, you enjoy chasing after me and making inciting replies to my posts. It is a fact that in the early 8th century the Muslim forces who attacked were intent on spreading their faith as well as conquest for whatever other reason. Check the history books and observe the growth of Islam and how it correlates to conquest. The same has held for Christians over different periods. You sure put your foot in your mouth often.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,279
#79
No. Not really. You are assuming more from my post than I intended. But then, you enjoy chasing after me and making inciting replies to my posts. It is a fact that in the early 8th century the Muslim forces who attacked were intent on spreading their faith as well as conquest for whatever other reason. Check the history books and observe the growth of Islam and how it correlates to conquest. The same has held for Christians over different periods. You sure put your foot in your mouth often.
Then your entire post is fairly illogical.

do you have to always go with the personal abuse angle? It;'s tiresome distracting and just encourages reaction.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,113
US
#80
Then your entire post is fairly illogical.

do you have to always go with the personal abuse angle? It;'s tiresome distracting and just encourages reaction.
Actually you go to the personal abuse angle. And it is tiresome and distracting. Prove to me how my post is illogical or is this just another ad hominem attack from you, as I see you have posted nothing to dispute my post, as usual.
 
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