Charles, Later Martel,
(Charles the Hammer) was born about 688 to Pepin II, Mayor of the Palace,
and Alpaida either concubine or Pagan wife. Pepin's son, Grimoald (by his Christian
wife) Plectrude, was Duke of the neighboring province. In 714 both Pepin II
and Grimoald died. Plectrude seized control and arrested
Charles for the murder of her son. Charles escaped and raised an army
to settle the confusion and deposed Plectrude, taking the title of
Mayor for himself.
(photo at left is statue of Martel - no copyright found)
Charles went on to unite much of Northern Europe. He is most remembered
for his victory over the Arab Ab dal Rahmin at the
Battle of Tours in 732.
The Battle of Tours is considered to be one of the ten key battles in history.
Somewhere in the process he came into posession of a religious relic in
the form of a lance. The lance was claimed to have been used by a Roman
soldier at Calvary to pierce the side of the crucified Christ. The lance
gained a legend that its owner would never lose a battle so long as he
held it, but would die if he lost it.
Charles died in 741 leaving two sons, Pepin III and Carloman. Pepin's son
Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope in 800. The lance passed
through Pepin to his son,
Sometime after Charlemagne's death Charles'
body was exhummed and cursed for his use of Church funds to pay the army
at Tours. (see Gibbon ref.)