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Charles Martel
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Military Personnel
    (circa 688-October 22, 741)
    Born in Heristal, Belgium
    Frankish military leader who defeated the Moors at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD, halting the spread of Islam in western Europe
    Created what would later become the Caroliginian Empire
    Father of Pepin the Short and grandfather of Charlemagne
    He spent most of his adult life fighting wars to establish his own power.
    He never declared himself king (his official title was Mayor of the Palace) but made his allies kings of the lands he conquered.
    He had several illegitimate children.
    He established the first full time army in Europe since the Roman Empire and paid for it by seizing Church property.
    Some modern historians argue that the importance of the Battle of Tours was overrated, believing that the Muslim force was just a raiding party versus an actual invasion, and pointing out it was decades before France was free of Muslim forces and centuries before Muslims were expelled from Spain.
    He saved western Europe from Islamic subjugation.
    He was a brilliant general who was especially good at catching his enemies off guard by not attacking when and where he was expected and adapting new equipment and tactics when needed.
    He was generous and merciful with prisoners and former enemies.
    His last name really meant 'The Hammer.'
    European history would have been vastly differently, probably for the worse, without him.
    The existence of knights and the concept of knighthood is probably due to his adaptation of heavy cavalry.
    He lost his first major battle, The Battle of Cologne, and never lost another one.
    He used his power to spread Christianity, particularly among the then still pagan Saxons and in Friesland, and gave Saint Boniface his protection and support in Germany.
    He and his empire probably delayed the rise of the Vikings by several centuries.
    Although he was in line for the throne, when his father died the grandmother of his younger half-brother had him thrown in prison and made his then six year old half-brother king and herself regent. His attempts to gain the throne started a civil war and his career of conquest.
    He left the common people alone and in general didn't abuse them or loot them for his own benefit.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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