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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Harvey Mansfield and Machiavellianism

The Case for the Strong Executive Under some circumstances, the rule of law must yield to the need for energy. BY HARVEY C. MANSFIELD Wednesday, May 2, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Complaints against the "imperial presidency" are back in vogue. With a view to President Bush, the late Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. expanded and reissued the book of the same name he wrote against Richard Nixon, and Bush critics have taken up the phrase in a chorus. In response John Yoo and Richard Posner (and others) have defended the war powers of the president.
This is not the first time that a strong executive has been attacked and defended, and it will not be the last. Our Constitution, as long as it continues, will suffer this debate--I would say, give rise to it, preside over and encourage it. Though I want to defend the strong executive, I mainly intend to step back from that defense to show why the debate between the strong executive and its adversary, the rule of law, is necessary, good and--under the Constitution--never-ending.
In other circumstances I could see myself defending the rule of law. Americans are fortunate to have a Constitution that accommodates different circumstances. Its flexibility keeps it in its original form and spirit a "living constitution," ready for change, and open to new necessities and opportunities. The "living constitution" conceived by the Progressives actually makes it a prisoner of ongoing events and perceived trends. To explain the constitutional debate between the strong executive and the rule of law I will concentrate on its sources in political philosophy and, for greater clarity, ignore the constitutional law emerging from it.

The case for a strong executive should begin from a study, on this occasion a quick survey, of the American republic. The American republic was the first to have a strong executive that was intended to be republican as well as strong, and the success, or long life, of America's Constitution qualifies it as a possible model for other countries. Modern political science beginning from Machiavelli abandoned the best regime featured by classical political science because the best regime was utopian or imaginary. Modern political scientists wanted a practical solution, and by the time of Locke, followed by Montesquieu, they learned to substitute a model regime for the best regime; and this was the government of England. The model regime would not be applicable everywhere, no doubt, because it was not intended to be a lowest common denominator. But it would show what could be done in the best circumstances.

The American Founders had the ambition to make America the model regime, taking over from England. This is why they showed surprising respect for English government, the regime they had just rebelled against. America would not only make a republic for itself, but teach the world how to make a successful republic and thus improve republicanism and save the reputation of republics. For previous republics had suffered disastrous failure, alternating between anarchy and tyranny, seeming to force the conclusion that orderly government could come only from monarchy, the enemy of republics. Previous republics had put their faith in the rule of law as the best way to foil one-man rule. The rule of law would keep power in the hands of many, or at least a few, which was safer than in the hands of one. As the way to ensure the rule of law, Locke and Montesquieu fixed on the separation of powers. They were too realistic to put their faith in any sort of higher law; the rule of law would be maintained by a legislative process of institutions that both cooperated and competed.

Now the rule of law has two defects, each of which suggests the need for one-man rule. The first is that law is always imperfect by being universal, thus an average solution even in the best case, that is inferior to the living intelligence of a wise man on the spot, who can judge particular circumstances. This defect is discussed by Aristotle in the well-known passage in his "Politics" where he considers "whether it is more advantageous to be ruled by the best man or the best laws."

The other defect is that the law does not know how to make itself obeyed. Law assumes obedience, and as such seems oblivious to resistance to the law by the "governed," as if it were enough to require criminals to turn themselves in. No, the law must be "enforced," as we say. There must be police, and the rulers over the police must use energy (Alexander Hamilton's term) in addition to reason. It is a delusion to believe that governments can have energy without ever resorting to the use of force.

The best source of energy turns out to be the same as the best source of reason--one man. One man, or, to use Machiavelli's expression, uno solo, will be the greatest source of energy if he regards it as necessary to maintaining his own rule. Such a person will have the greatest incentive to be watchful, and to be both cruel and merciful in correct contrast and proportion. We are talking about Machiavelli's prince, the man whom in apparently unguarded moments he called a tyrant.

The American Founders heeded both criticisms of the rule of law when they created the presidency. The president would be the source of energy in government, that is, in the administration of government, energy being a neutral term that might include Aristotle's discretionary virtue and Machiavelli's tyranny--in which only partisans could discern the difference. The founders of course accepted the principle of the rule of law, as being required by the republican genius of the American people. Under this principle, the wise man or prince becomes and is called an "executive," one who carries out the will and instruction of others, of the legislature that makes the law, of the people who instruct or inspire the legislature. In this weak sense, the dictionary definition of "executive," the executive forbears to rule in his own name as one man. This means that neither one-man wisdom nor tyranny is admitted into the Constitution as such; if there is need for either, the need is subordinated to, or if you will, covered over by, the republican principle of the rule of law.

Yet the executive subordinated to the rule of law is in danger of being subordinate to the legislature. This was the fault in previous republics. When the separation of powers was invented in 17th-century England, the purpose was to keep the executive subordinate; but the trouble was the weakness of a subordinate executive. He could not do his job, or he could do his job only by overthrowing or cowing the legislature, as Oliver Cromwell had done. John Locke took the task in hand, and made a strong executive in a manner that was adopted by the American Founders.

Locke was a careful writer, so careful that he did not care if he appeared to be a confused writer. In his "Second Treatise of Government" he announces the supremacy of the legislature, which was the slogan of the parliamentary side in the English Civil War, as the principle that should govern a well-made constitution. But as the argument proceeds, Locke gradually "fortifies" (to use James Madison's term) the executive. Locke adds other related powers to the subordinate power of executing the laws: the federative power dealing with foreign affairs, which he presents as conceptually distinct from the power of executing laws but naturally allied; the veto, a legislative function; the power to convoke the legislature and to correct its representation should it become corrupt; and above all, the prerogative, defined as "the power of doing public good without a rule." Without a rule! Even more: "sometimes too against the direct letter of the law." This is the very opposite of law and the rule of law--and "prerogative" was the slogan of the king's party in the same war.

Thus Locke combined the extraconstitutional with the constitutional in a contradiction; besides saying that the legislature is "the supreme power" of the commonwealth, he speaks of "the supreme executive power." Locke, one could say, was acting as a good citizen, bringing peace to his country by giving both sides in the Civil War a place in the constitution. In doing so he ensured that the war would continue, but it would be peaceful because he also ensured that, there being reason and force on both sides, neither side could win conclusively.

The American Constitution adopted this fine idea and improved it. The American Founders helped to settle Locke's deliberate confusion of supremacy by writing it into a document and ratifying it by the people rather than merely scattering it in the treatise of a philosopher. By being formalized the Constitution could become a law itself, but a law above ordinary law and thus a law above the rule of law in the ordinary sense of laws passed by the legislature. Thus some notion of prerogative--though the word "prerogative" was much too royal for American sensibilities--could be pronounced legal inasmuch as it was constitutional. This strong sense of executive power would be opposed, within the Constitution, to the rule of law in the usual, old-republican meaning, as represented by the two rule-of-law powers in the Constitution, the Congress which makes law and the judiciary which judges by the law.

The American Constitution signifies that it has fortified the executive by vesting the president with "the executive power," complete and undiluted in Article II, as opposed to the Congress in Article I, which receives only certain delegated and enumerated legislative powers. The president takes an oath "to execute the Office of President" of which only one function is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In addition, he is commander-in-chief of the military, makes treaties (with the Senate), and receives ambassadors. He has the power of pardon, a power with more than a whiff of prerogative for the sake of a public good that cannot be achieved, indeed that is endangered, by executing the laws. In the Federalist, as already noted, the executive represents the need for energy in government, energy to complement the need for stability, satisfied mainly in the Senate and the judiciary.

Energy and stability are necessary in every form of government, but in their previous, sorry history, republics had failed to meet these necessities. Republican government cannot survive, as we would say, by ideology alone. The republican genius is dominant in America, where there has never been much support for anything like an ancien régime, but support for republicanism is not enough to make a viable republic. The republican spirit can actually cause trouble for republics if it makes people think that to be republican it is enough merely to oppose monarchy. Such an attitude tempts a republican people to republicanize everything so as to make government resemble a monarchy as little as possible.

Although the Federalist made a point of distinguishing a republic from a democracy (by which it meant a so-called pure, nonrepresentative democracy), the urge today to democratize everything has similar bad effects. To counter this reactionary republican (or democratic, in today's language) belief characteristic of shortsighted partisans, the Federalist made a point of holding the new, the novel, American republic to the test of good government as opposed merely to that of republican government.

The test of good government was what was necessary to all government. Necessity was put to the fore. In the first papers of the Federalist, necessity took the form of calling attention to the present crisis in America, caused by the incompetence of the republic established by the Articles of Confederation. The crisis was both foreign and domestic, and it was a crisis because it was urgent. The face of necessity, the manner in which it first appears and is most impressive, is urgency--in Machiavelli's words, la necessità che non da tempo (the necessity that allows no time). And what must be the character of a government's response to an urgent crisis? Energy. And where do we find energy in the government? In the executive. Actually, the Federalist introduces the need for energy in government considerably before it associates energy with the executive. To soothe republican partisans, the strong executive must be introduced by stages.
One should not believe that a strong executive is needed only for quick action in emergencies, though that is the function mentioned first. A strong executive is requisite to oppose majority faction produced by temporary delusions in the people. For the Federalist, a strong executive must exercise his strength especially against the people, not showing them "servile pliancy." Tocqueville shared this view. Today we think that a strong president is one who leads the people, that is, one who takes them where they want to go, like Andrew Jackson. But Tocqueville contemptuously regarded Jackson as weak for having been "the slave of the majority." Again according to the Federalist, the American president will likely have the virtue of responsibility, a new political virtue, now heard so often that it seems to be the only virtue, but first expounded in that work.

"Responsibility" is not mere responsiveness to the people; it means doing what the people would want done if they were apprised of the circumstances. Responsibility requires "personal firmness" in one's character, and it enables those who love fame--"the ruling passion of the noblest minds"--to undertake "extensive and arduous enterprises."

Only a strong president can be a great president. Americans are a republican people but they admire their great presidents. Those great presidents--I dare not give a complete list--are not only those who excelled in the emergency of war but those, like Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, who also deliberately planned and executed enterprises for shaping or reshaping the entire politics of their country.

This admiration for presidents extends beyond politics into society, in which Americans, as republicans, tolerate, and appreciate, an amazing amount of one-man rule. The CEO (chief executive officer) is found at the summit of every corporation including universities. I suspect that appreciation for private executives in democratic society was taught by the success of the Constitution's invention of a strong executive in republican politics.

The case for a strong executive begins from urgent necessity and extends to necessity in the sense of efficacy and even greatness. It is necessary not merely to respond to circumstances but also in a comprehensive way to seek to anticipate and form them. "Necessary to" the survival of a society expands to become "necessary for" the good life there, and indeed we look for signs in the way a government acts in emergencies for what it thinks to be good after the emergency has passed. A free government should show its respect for freedom even when it has to take it away. Yet despite the expansion inherent in necessity, the distinction between urgent crises and quiet times remains. Machiavelli called the latter tempi pacifici, and he thought that governments could not take them for granted. What works for quiet times is not appropriate in stormy times. John Locke and the American Founders showed a similar understanding to Machiavelli's when they argued for and fashioned a strong executive.

In our time, however, an opinion has sprung up in liberal circles particularly that civil liberties must always be kept intact regardless of circumstances. This opinion assumes that civil liberties have the status of natural liberties, and are inalienable. This means that the Constitution has the status of what was called in the 17th-century natural public law; it is an order as natural as the state of nature from which it emerges. In this view liberty has just one set of laws and institutions that must be kept inviolate, lest it be lost.

But Locke was a wiser liberal. His institutions were "constituted," less by creation than by modification of existing institutions in England, but not deduced as invariable consequences of disorder in the state of nature. He retained the difference, and so did the Americans, between natural liberties, inalienable but insecure, and civil liberties, more secure but changeable. Because civil liberties are subject to circumstances, a free constitution needs an institution responsive to circumstances, an executive able to be strong when necessary.

The lesson for us should be that circumstances are much more important for free government than we often believe. Civil liberties are for majorities as well as minorities, and no one should be considered to have rights against society whose exercise would bring society to ruin. The usual danger in a republic is tyranny of the majority, because the majority is the only legitimate dominant force. But in time of war the greater danger may be to the majority from a minority, and the government will be a greater friend than enemy to liberty. Vigilant citizens must be able to adjust their view of the source of danger, and change front if necessary. "Civil liberties" belong to all, not only to the less powerful or less esteemed, and the true balance of liberty and security cannot be taken as given without regard to the threat. Nor is it true that free societies should be judged solely by what they do in quiet times; they should also be judged by the efficacy, and the honorableness, of what they do in war in order to return to peace.

The American Constitution is a formal law that establishes an actual contention among its three separated powers. Its formality represents the rule of law, and the actuality arises from which branch better promotes the common good in the event, or in the opinion of the people. In quiet times the rule of law will come to the fore, and the executive can be weak. In stormy times, the rule of law may seem to require the prudence and force that law, or present law, cannot supply, and the executive must be strong. In judging the circumstances of a free society, two parties come to be formed around these two outlooks. These outlooks may not coincide with party principles because they often depend on which branch a party holds and feels obliged to defend: Democrats today would be friendlier to executive power if they held the presidency--and Republicans would discover virtue in the rule of law if they held Congress.

The terms of the disagreement over a strong executive go back to the classic debate between Hamilton (as Pacificus) and Madison (as Helvidius) in 1793-94. Hamilton argued that the executive power, representing the whole country with the energy necessary to defend it, cannot be limited or exhausted. Madison replied that the executive power does not represent the whole country but is determined by its place in the structure of government, which is executing the laws. If carrying on war goes beyond executing the laws, that is all the more reason why the war power should be construed narrowly. Today Republicans and Democrats repeat these arguments when the former declare that we are at war with terrorists and the latter respond that the danger is essentially a matter of law enforcement.

As to the contention that a strong executive prompts a policy of imperialism, I would admit the possibility, and I promise to think carefully and prayerfully about returning Texas to Mexico. In its best moments, America wants to be a model for the world, but no more. In its less good moments, America becomes disgusted with the rest of the world for its failure to imitate our example and follow our advice. I believe that America is more likely to err with isolationism than with imperialism, and that if America is an empire, it is the first empire that always wants an exit strategy. I believe too that the difficulties of the war in Iraq arise from having wished to leave too much to the Iraqis, thus from a sense of inhibition rather than imperial ambition.

Mr. Mansfield is William R. Kenan Professor of Government at Harvard.

Glenn Greenwald on Harvey Mansfield's Presidential Dictator

Glenn Greenwald The right's explicit and candid rejection of "the rule of law" The Wall St. Journal online has today published a lengthy and truly astonishing article by Harvard Government Professor Harvey Mansfield, which expressly argues that the power of the President is greater than "the rule of law."

The article bears this headline: The Case for the Strong Executive -- Under some circumstances, the Rule of Law must yield to the need for Energy. And it is the most explicit argument I have seen yet for vesting in the President the power to override and ignore the rule of law in order to recieve the glories of what Mansfield calls "one-man rule."

That such an argument comes from Mansfield is unsurprising. He has long been a folk hero to the what used to be the most extremist right-wing fringe but is now the core of the Republican Party. He devoted earlier parts of his career to warning of the dangers of homosexuality, particularly its effeminizing effect on our culture. He has a career-long obsession with the glories of tyrannical power as embodied by Machiavelli's Prince, which is his model for how America ought to be governed. And last year, he wrote a book called Manliness in which "he urges men, and especially women, to understand and accept manliness" -- which means that "women are the weaker sex," "women's bodies are made to attract and to please men" and "now that women are equal, they should be able to accept being told that they aren't, quite." Publisher's Weekly called it a "juvenile screed." I'll leave it to Bob Altemeyer and others to dig though all of that to analyze what motivates Mansfield and his decades-long craving for strong, powerful, unchallengeable one-man masculine rule -- though it's more self-evident than anything else. But reading Mansfield has real value for understanding the dominant right-wing movement in this country.

Because he is an academic, and a quite intelligent one, he makes intellectually honest arguments, by which I mean that he does not disguise what he thinks in politically palatable slogans, but instead really describes the actual premises on which political beliefs are based. And that is Mansfield's value; he is a clear and honest embodiment of what the Bush movement is.

In particular, he makes crystal clear that the so-called devotion to a "strong executive" by the Bush administration and the movement which supports it is nothing more than a belief that the Leader has the power to disregard, violate, and remain above the rule of law. And that is clear because Mansfied explicitly says that. And that is not just Mansfield's idiosyncratic belief. He is simply stating -- honestly and clearly -- the necessary premises of the model of the Omnipotent Presidency which has taken root under the Bush presidency.

This is not the first time Mansfield has expressly called for the subordination of the rule of law to the Power of the President. In January of 2006 -- in the immediate aftermath of revelations that President Bush had been breaking the law for years by spying on the telephone conversations of Americans without warrants -- Mansfield went to The Weekly Standard and authored a truly amazing article, which I wrote about here (see item 2).

Unlike dishonest Bush followers who ludicrously claimed that Bush's eavesdropping was not illegal, Mansfield embraced reality and candidly argued that President Bush possesses the power to break the law in order to fight The Terrorists. The headline of that article presented the same mutually exclusive choice as the WSJ article today: The Law and the President -- in a national emergency, who you gonna call? In that article, Mansfield claimed, among other things, that our "enemies, being extra-legal, need to be faced with extra-legal force"; that the "Office of President" is "larger than the law"; that "the rule of law is not enough to run a government"; that "ordinary power needs to be supplemented or corrected by the extraordinary power of a prince, using wise discretion"; that "with one person in charge we can have both secrecy and responsibility"; and most of all: Much present-day thinking puts civil liberties and the rule of law to the fore and forgets to consider emergencies when liberties are dangerous and law does not apply. "Law does not apply" -- that is Mansfield's belief, and the belief of the Bush movement.

I didn't think it was possible, but Mansfield, with today's article in The Wall St. Journal, actually goes even further in advocating pure lawlessness and tyranny than he did in that remarkable Weekly Standard screed. He begins by describing "the debate between the strong executive and its adversary, the rule of law." He then says: "In some circumstances I could see myself defending the rule of law," but "the rule of law has two defects, each of which suggests the need for one-man rule."

The rule of law has two defects, each of which suggests the need for one-man rule. That is what is on the Op-Ed page of The Wall St. Journal this morning. The article is then filled with one paragraph after the next paying homage to the need for a Great Leader who stomps on the rule of law when he chooses -- literally: The best source of energy turns out to be the same as the best source of reason--one man. One man, or, to use Machiavelli's expression, uno solo, will be the greatest source of energy if he regards it as necessary to maintaining his own rule. Such a person will have the greatest incentive to be watchful, and to be both cruel and merciful in correct contrast and proportion. We are talking about Machiavelli's prince, the man whom in apparently unguarded moments he called a tyrant. . . The president takes an oath "to execute the Office of President" of which only one function is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In addition, he is commander-in-chief of the military, makes treaties (with the Senate), and receives ambassadors. He has the power of pardon, a power with more than a whiff of prerogative for the sake of a public good that cannot be achieved, indeed that is endangered, by executing the laws. . . . In quiet times the rule of law will come to the fore, and the executive can be weak. In stormy times, the rule of law may seem to require the prudence and force that law, or present law, cannot supply, and the executive must be strong. In the course of explaining how the rule of law applies only in "quiet times," Mansfield also argues that "civil liberties are subject to circumstances," not inalienable, and that "in time of war the greater dangers may be to the majority from a minority." Thus, he explains -- in what might be my favorite sentence -- "A free government should show its respect for freedom even when it has to take it away."

I'm not going to spend much time rebutting the notion that the American President has the power to act as a Prince and override the rule of law when circumstances supposedly justify that. For one thing, given that this belief has governed our country since the 9/11 attacks, I've made the argument many times before, including here and here, as well as in my book. But more so, one would hope that no response is really necessary, since most Americans -- outside of the authoritarian cult that has followed George W. Bush as Infallible War Leader -- instinctively understand that America does not recognize such a thing as a political official with the power of "one-man rule" that overrides the rule of law.

That we are a nation of laws, not men, is so basic to our political identity that it should need no defense. And for those with any lingering doubts about how repugnant Mansfield's vision is to the defining American political principle, I would simply turn the floor over to the great American revolutionary Thomas Paine (.pdf), writing in Common Sense: The point here is not to spend much time arguing that Mansfield's authoritarian cravings are repugnant to our political traditions.

The real point is that Mansfield's mindset is the mindset of the Bush movement, of the right-wing extremists who have taken over the Republican Party and governed our country completely outside of the rule of law for the last six years. Mansfield makes these arguments more honestly and more explicitly, but there is nothing unusual or uncommon about him. He is simply expounding the belief in tyrannical lawlessness on which the Bush movement (soon to be led by someone else, but otherwise unchanged) is fundamentally based.

This is why he is published in The Weekly Standard and The Wall St. Journal -- the two most influential organs for so-called "conservative" political thought. All sorts of the most political influential people in our country -- from Dick Cheney to Richard Posner to John Yoo and The Weekly Standard -- believe and have argued for exactly this vision of government. They literally do not believe in our constitutional framework and our most defining political values.

They have declared a literally endless War which, they claim, not only justifies but compels the vesting of unlimited power in the President -- "unlimited" by Congress, the courts, American public opinion and the rule of law. That continues to be the central political crisis we have in this country. It is an encouraging development that Congress is exercising aggressive oversight and investigative powers, but the administration is stonewalling completely, and will continue to, because they do not recognize any duty to respond, to answer questions, to be subject to scrutiny or accountability. We live in stormy times, and thus, as Mansfield says: "In stormy times, the rule of law may seem to require the prudence and force that law, or present law, cannot supply, and the executive must be strong."

That is why -- as jarring as it is -- it is actually necessary to ask presidential candidates whether they intend to exercise the power to imprison American citizens with no charges of any kind. The dominant political movement in this country believes in that power and has defended and exercised it. Mansfield's beliefs may be twisted and tyrannical and radical and profoundly un-American. But they are also the beliefs that have propelled our government for the last six years and -- absent some serious change -- very well may continue to propel it into the future.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Joan of Arc Relics

Joan of Arc Relics Are Actually Egypt Mummy Remains, Research Reveals
Kate Ravilious

for National Geographic News

April 4, 2007
The charred bones that were long believed to be remains of St. Joan of Arc don't belong to the French heroine but are instead the remains of an Egyptian mummy, a new study has shown.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at the Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Paris, France, obtained permission last year to study the relics from the church in Normandy where they are housed.

The relics were said to have been retrieved from the French site where Joan was burned at the stake in 1431.

Charlier's team studied the relics—including a fragment of cloth and a human rib—under the microscope and subjected them to chemical tests.

Close inspection of the human rib showed that it had not been burned but may have been heated to create a blackened crust on the surface, Charlier said.

Meanwhile the fragment of linen cloth had a coating characteristic of mummy wrappings and contained large amounts of pine pollen.

"Pine resin was widely used in Egypt during embalming," Charlier explained, adding that pine trees did not grow in Normandy during Joan of Arc's time.

Final proof came from carbon-14 analysis, which dated the human remains to between the third and sixth centuries B.C.

Chemical scans of all the relics further suggested Egypt as the place of origin, as the profiles closely matched those of Egyptian mummies rather than burned bones.

"We were astonished to find [the bone] came from a mummy," he said.

Smelling the Evidence

In his analysis of the artifacts Charlier also used the rather unusual tactic of employing leading "noses" from the perfume industry.

"We wanted a professional nose to confirm the smell [of the relics] and identify what molecules [the smells] might be," Charlier said.

During blind smell tests, professional perfumers Sylvaine Delacourte and Jean-Michel Duriez each identified the aromas of burned plaster and vanilla when given samples of the relics.

The scent of burned plaster is consistent with Joan having been burned on a plaster stake, but the vanilla doesn't fit, Charlier explained.

"Vanilla usually indicates an embalming process," he said.

Anastasia Tsaliki, an expert in ancient diseases at Britain's University of Durham, said she was impressed with Charlier's detective work.

"It is a fascinating project and shows how forensic methods can be combined with tools used in archaeometry [the study of archaeological materials] and archaeobotany [the study of ancient plants] and osteology [the study of bones]," she told the journal Nature.

Joan's life in France was short but eventful.

Late in the Hundred Years' War—fought between France and England from 1337 to 1453—she claimed to hear voices from God telling her to recover her homeland from the English.

After many battles against the English she was captured, and in 1431 was burned at the stake in the French city of Rouen under the orders of an English duke (see map of France).

The putative relics surfaced in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy. They were labelled "Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans" and were officially recognized by the Vatican as being authentic.

The site where the relics were supposedly discovered gives Charlier a clue as to who might have created the elaborate fake.

"I think [the relic] was made during the 19th century, probably by a chemist or pharmacist," Charlier said.

Christopher Hitchens on Judas

Judas Saves: Why the lost gospel makes sense.
By Christopher Hitchens

I don't normally mind offending holy men, but I can remember feeling absolutely aghast at the injured look that spread across the fine features of the Coptic Archbishop of Eritrea as we sat in his quarters in Asmara in 1993. Was it true, I had asked him, that in the Coptic Christian tradition Judas was considered to be a saint? He jumped like a pea on a hot shovel and, when he had regained his composure, demanded to know how I could possibly have heard such a wicked rumor. Nothing more profane could be imagined than this perversion of the Easter story. (Looking back, I think I may have misunderstood something I read in Graham Greene.)

Nonetheless, the idea of a sacred Judas always seemed rational to me, at least in Christian terms. The New Testament tells us firmly that Jesus went to Jerusalem at Passover to die and to fulfill certain ancient prophecies by doing so. How could any agent of this process, witting or unwitting, be acting other than according to the divine will? It did seem odd to me that the Jewish elders and the Romans required someone to identify Jesus for them, since according to the story he was already a rather well-known figure, but that was a secondary objection.
Now we have, recovered from the desert of Egypt, a 26-page "Gospel of Judas," written in Coptic script about 300 years after the events it purportedly describes. This fragment may or may not be related to the "Nag Hammadi library"—a collection of gospels, including those of Thomas and Mary Magdalene, that were unearthed near an ancient Egyptian monastery in 1945. Sometimes known as the "Gnostic" texts, they are the ones that were rejected as noncanonical when the early church made its vain attempt to standardize Christian dogma. Given how many discrepancies there are between the four remaining Gospels of the New Testament, one can almost sympathize with Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria, who in an Easter letter in the fourth century tried to boil down the number of approved books to 27.

The Judas gospel puts legend's most notorious traitor in a new light—as the man who enjoyed his master's most intimate confidence, and who was given the crucial task of helping him shed his fleshly mortality. And you can see why the early Christian fathers were leery of such texts. This book has the same cast but a very arcane interpretation. Right before Passover, as the disciples are praying, Jesus sneers at their innocence. Only Judas has guessed the master aright—and has discerned that he comes from the heavenly realm of the god "Barbelo." In the realm of Barbelo, it seems, earthly pains are unknown and the fortunate inhabitants are free from the attentions of the God of the Old Testament. Jesus himself is descended in some fashion from Adam's third son, Seth. With Judas' help, he hopes to guide the seed of Seth back to the realm of Barbelo.* (Is it possible that C.S. Lewis always had a copy of this esoteric text in one of his wardrobes? Or perhaps it fell into the hands of the Heaven's Gate sect-maniacs, as they castratedly awaited the satellite that lurked behind the comet?)

I don't think any summarizing sentence on all this could be more wrong than the one written by Adam Gopnik in the latest New Yorker. He states:

The finding of the new Gospel, though obviously remarkable as a bit of textual history, no more challenges the basis of the Church's faith than the discovery of a document from the nineteenth century written in Ohio and defending King George would be a challenge to the basis of American democracy.

Can Gopnik not discern the difference between George III and Benedict Arnold, let alone the difference between a man-made screed and a series of texts sometimes claimed to be inerrant and divinely inspired? But never mind these trifling failures of analogy. The Judas gospel would make one huge difference if it was accepted. It would dispel the centuries of anti-Semitic paranoia that were among the chief accompaniments of the Easter celebration until approximately 30 years after 1945, when the Vatican finally acquitted the Jews of the charge of Christ-killing. But if Jesus had been acting consistently and seeking a trusted companion who could facilitate his necessary martyrdom, then all the mental and moral garbage about the Jewish frame-up of the Redeemer goes straight over the side.

Remember that Christians are supposed to believe that everybody is responsible for the loneliness and torture of Calvary, and for the failure to appreciate the awful blood sacrifice until it was too late. In living memory, the Catholic Church invoked the verses where the Jews called for this very blood to be, not just upon their own heads, but upon their every succeeding generation. (This sinister fable occurs in only one of the four authorized Gospels, but it was enough—and Mel Gibson recently coined himself 40 million pieces of silver by attempting to revive it.)

Now ask yourself, why did the church take so long to exculpate the Jews as a whole from the collective and heritable charge of "deicide"? It ought to have been simple enough to determine that the Sanhedrin of the time, whatever it may have done, could not have bound all Jews for all eternity. The answer is equally simple: If Christianity had to excuse one group of humans from everlasting blood-guilt, how could it avoid excusing them all? Two millennia of stupidity and cruelty and superstition dissolve in an instant when we notice that even some early believers were shrewd enough to see though the whole sham. On this weekend of official piety, let us all therefore give thanks for our deliverance from religion, and raise high the wafer that summons us to the wonders and bliss of the faraway realm of Barbelo and brings us the joyous and long-awaited news that Judas saves.*
Lost Gospel Revealed; Says Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him
Stefan Lovgren for
National Geographic News
April 6, 2006

He is one of the most reviled men in history.
But was Judas only obeying his master's wishes when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss?

That's what a newly revealed ancient Christian text says.
After being lost for nearly 1,700 years, the Gospel of Judas was recently restored, authenticated, and translated.

The Coptic, or Egyptian Christian, manuscripts were unveiled today at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

What Does It Mean?

Some biblical scholars are calling the Gospel of Judas the most significant archaeological discovery in 60 years.

The only known surviving copy of the gospel was found in a codex, or ancient book, that dates back to the third or fourth century A.D.

The newly revealed gospel document, written in Coptic script, is believed to be a translation of the original, a Greek text written by an early Christian sect sometime before A.D. 180.
The Bible's New Testament Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—depict Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, as a traitor. In biblical accounts Judas gives up Jesus Christ to his opponents, who later crucify the founder of Christianity.

The Gospel of Judas, however, portrays him as acting at Jesus' request.

"This lost gospel, providing information on Judas Iscariot—considered for 20 centuries and by hundreds of millions of believers as an antichrist of the worst kind—bears witness to something completely different from what was said [about Judas] in the Bible," said Rodolphe Kasser, a clergyman and former professor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Kasser, who is regarded as one of the world's preeminent Coptic scholars, led the effort to piece together and translate the Gospel of Judas. The National Geographic Society and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery funded the project, and it will be profiled in the May 2006 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Scholars say the text not only offers an alternative view of the relationship between Jesus and Judas but also illustrates the diversity of opinion in the early Christian church.

"I expect this gospel to be important mainly for the deeper insight it will give scholars into the thoughts and beliefs of certain Christians in the second century of the Christian era, namely the Gnostics," said Stephen Emmel, a Coptic studies professor at the University of Münster in Germany.

In 1983 Emmel was among the first three known scholars to view the Gospel of Judas, which had been discovered hidden in Egypt in the late 1970s.

Gnostics belonged to pre-Christian and early Christian sects that believed that elusive spiritual knowledge could help them rise above what they saw as the corrupt physical world.

Rehabilitating Judas
Biblical accounts suggest that Jesus foresaw and allowed Judas's betrayal.

As told in the New Testament Gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus for "30 pieces of silver," identifying him with a kiss in front of Roman soldiers. Later the guilt-ridden Judas returns the bribe and commits suicide, according to the Bible.

The Gospel of Judas, however, gives a very different account.

The text begins by announcing that it is the "secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week, three days before he celebrated Passover."

It goes on to describe Judas as Jesus' closest friend, someone who understands Christ's true message and is singled out for special status among Jesus' disciples.

In the key passage Jesus tells Judas, "'you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.'"

Kasser, the translation-project leader, offers an interpretation: "Jesus says it is necessary for someone to free him finally from his human body, and he prefers that this liberation be done by a friend rather than by an enemy.

"So he asks Judas, who is his friend, to sell him out, to betray him. It's treason to the general public, but between Jesus and Judas it's not treachery."

The newfound account challenges one of the most firmly rooted beliefs in Christian tradition.
Bart Ehrman is chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"This gospel," he said, "has a completely different understanding of God, the world, Christ, salvation, human existence—not to mention of Judas himself—than came to be embodied in the Christian creeds and canon."

Early Turmoil
The author of the 26-page Gospel of Judas remains anonymous. But the text reflects themes that scholars regard as being consistent with Gnostic traditions.

Christian Gnostics believed that the way to salvation was through secret knowledge delivered by Jesus to his inner circle. This knowledge, they believed, revealed how people could escape the prisons of their material bodies and return to the spiritual realm from which they came.
Gnostic sects looked to their gospels—among them the Gospel of Mary, newly famous for its role in the best-seller The Da Vinci Code—to authenticate their distinctive beliefs and practices.

Contradicting the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, these texts were later denounced by orthodox Christian leaders and refused entry into the Bible. Scholars believe that followers of the texts hid copies of them for preservation.

Scholars knew of the existence of the Gospel of Judas because of references to it in other ancient texts as early as A.D. 180.

To today's biblical scholars, the Gospel of Judas illustrates the multitude of opinions and beliefs in the early Christian church.

"This ancient text helps the modern world rediscover something that the early Christians knew firsthand," said Reverend Donald Senior, president of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois.

"In the early centuries of the Christian era there were multiple sacred texts resulting from communities in various parts of the Mediterranean world trying to come to grips with the meaning of Jesus Christ for their lives."

Christopher Hitchens on Muhammed

Christopher Hitchens
Was Muhammad Epileptic?

There is some question as to whether Islam is a separate religion at all. It initially fulfilled a need among Arabs for a distinctive or special creed, and is forever identified with their language and their impressive later conquests, which, while not as striking as those of the young Alexander of Macedonia, certainly conveyed an idea of being backed by a divine will until they petered out at the fringes of the Balkans and the Mediterranean.

But Islam when examined is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms, helping itself from earlier books and traditions as occasion appeared to require. Thus, far from being "born in the clear light of history," as Ernest Renan so generously phrased it, Islam in its origins is just as shady and approximate as those from which it took its borrowings. It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or "surrender" as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing—absolutely nothing—in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.

The prophet died in the year 632 of our own approximate calendar. The first account of his life was set down a full hundred and twenty years later by Ibn Ishaq, whose original was lost and can only be consulted through its reworked form, authored by Ibn Hisham, who died in 834. Adding to this hearsay and obscurity, there is no agreed-upon account of how the Prophet's followers assembled the Koran, or of how his various sayings (some of them written down by secretaries) became codified. And this familiar problem is further complicated—even more than in the Christian case—by the matter of succession. Unlike Jesus, who apparently undertook to return to earth very soon and who (pace the absurd Dan Brown) left no known descendants, Muhammad was a general and a politician and—though unlike Alexander of Macedonia a prolific father—left no instruction as to who was to take up his mantle. Quarrels over the leadership began almost as soon as he died, and so Islam had its first major schism—between the Sunni and the Shia—before it had even established itself as a system. We need take no side in the schism, except to point out that one at least of the schools of interpretation must be quite mistaken. And the initial identification of Islam with an earthly caliphate, made up of disputatious contenders for the said mantle, marked it from the very beginning as man-made.

It is said by some Muslim authorities that during the first caliphate of Abu Bakr, immediately after Muhammad's death, concern arose that his orally transmitted words might be forgotten. So many Muslim soldiers had been killed in battle that the number who had the Koran safely lodged in their memories had become alarmingly small. It was therefore decided to assemble every living witness, together with "pieces of paper, stones, palm leaves, shoulder-blades, ribs and bits of leather" on which sayings had been scribbled, and give them to Zaid ibn Thabit, one of the Prophet's former secretaries, for an authoritative collation. Once this had been done, the believers had something like an authorized version.

If true, this would date the Koran to a time fairly close to Muhammad's own life. But we swiftly discover that there is no certainty or agreement about the truth of the story. Some say that it was Ali—the fourth and not the first caliph, and the founder of Shiism—who had the idea. Many others—the Sunni majority—assert that it was Caliph Uthman, who reigned from 644 to 656, who made the finalized decision. Told by one of his generals that soldiers from different provinces were fighting over discrepant accounts of the Koran, Uthman ordered Zaid ibn Thabit to bring together the various texts, unify them, and have them transcribed into one. When this task was complete, Uthman ordered standard copies to be sent to Kufa, Basra, Damascus, and elsewhere, with a master copy retained in Medina. Uthman thus played the canonical role that had been taken, in the standardization and purging and censorship of the Christian Bible, by Irenaeus and by Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria. The roll was called, and some texts were declared sacred and inerrant while others became "apocryphal." Outdoing Athanasius, Uthman ordered that all earlier and rival editions be destroyed.

Even supposing this version of events to be correct, which would mean that no chance existed for scholars ever to determine or even dispute what really happened in Muhammad's time, Uthman's attempt to abolish disagreement was a vain one. The written Arabic language has two features that make it difficult for an outsider to learn: it uses dots to distinguish consonants like "b" and "t," and in its original form it had no sign or symbol for short vowels, which could be rendered by various dashes or comma-type marks. Vastly different readings even of Uthman's version were enabled by these variations. Arabic script itself was not standardized until the later part of the ninth century, and in the meantime the undotted and oddly voweled Koran was generating wildly different explanations of itself, as it still does. This might not matter in the case of the Iliad, but remember that we are supposed to be talking about the unalterable (and final) word of god. There is obviously a connection between the sheer feebleness of this claim and the absolutely fanatical certainty with which it is advanced. To take one instance that can hardly be called negligible, the Arabic words written on the outside of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem are different from any version that appears in the Koran.

The situation is even more shaky and deplorable when we come to the hadith, or that vast orally generated secondary literature which supposedly conveys the sayings and actions of Muhammad, the tale of the Koran's compilation, and the sayings of "the companions of the Prophet." Each hadith, in order to be considered authentic, must be supported in turn by an isnad, or chain, of supposedly reliable witnesses. Many Muslims allow their attitude to everyday life to be determined by these anecdotes: regarding dogs as unclean, for example, on the sole ground that Muhammad is said to have done so.

As one might expect, the six authorized collections of hadith, which pile hearsay upon hearsay through the unwinding of the long spool of isnads ("A told B, who had it from C, who learned it from D"), were put together centuries after the events they purport to describe. One of the most famous of the six compilers, Bukhari, died 238 years after the death of Muhammad. Bukhari is deemed unusually reliable and honest by Muslims, and seems to have deserved his reputation in that, of the three hundred thousand attestations he accumulated in a lifetime devoted to the project, he ruled that two hundred thousand of them were entirely valueless and unsupported. Further exclusion of dubious traditions and questionable isnads reduced his grand total to ten thousand hadith. You are free to believe, if you so choose, that out of this formless mass of illiterate and half-remembered witnessing the pious Bukhari, more than two centuries later, managed to select only the pure and undefiled ones that would bear examination.

The likelihood that any of this humanly derived rhetoric is "inerrant," let alone "final," is conclusively disproved not just by its innumerable contradictions and incoherencies but by the famous episode of the Koran's alleged "satanic verses," out of which Salman Rushdie was later to make a literary project. On this much-discussed occasion, Muhammad was seeking to conciliate some leading Meccan poly-theists and in due course experienced a "revelation" that allowed them after all to continue worshipping some of the older local deities. It struck him later that this could not be right and that he must have inadvertently been "channeled" by the devil, who for some reason had briefly chosen to relax his habit of combating monotheists on their own ground. (Muhammad believed devoutly not just in the devil himself but in minor desert devils, or djinns, as well.) It was noticed even by some of his wives that the Prophet was capable of having a "revelation" that happened to suit his short-term needs, and he was sometimes teased about it. We are further told—on no authority that need be believed—that when he experienced revelation in public he would sometimes be gripped by pain and experience loud ringing in his ears. Beads of sweat would burst out on him, even on the chilliest of days. Some heartless Christian critics have suggested that he was an epileptic (though they fail to notice the same symptoms in the seizure experienced by Paul on the road to Damascus), but there is no need for us to speculate in this way. It is enough to rephrase David Hume's unavoidable question. Which is more likely—that a man should be used as a transmitter by god to deliver some already existing revelations, or that he should utter some already existing revelations and believe himself to be, or claim to be, ordered by god to do so? As for the pains and the noises in the head, or the sweat, one can only regret the seeming fact that direct communication with god is not an experience of calm, beauty, and lucidity.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Roger Bacon, Medieval Science

Medieval Sourcebook: Roger Bacon: On Experimental Science, 1268

Having laid down the main points of the wisdom of the Latins as regards language, mathematics and optics, I wish now to review the principles of wisdom from the point of view of experimental science, because without experiment it is impossible to know anything thoroughly.

There are two ways of acquiring knowledge, one through reason, the other by experiment. Argument reaches a conclusion and compels us to admit it, but it neither makes us certain nor so annihilates doubt that the mind rests calm in the intuition of truth, unless it finds this certitude by way of experience. Thus many have arguments toward attainable facts, but because they have not experienced them, they overlook them and neither avoid a harmful nor follow a beneficial course. Even if a man that has never seen fire, proves by good reasoning that fire burns, and devours and destroys things, nevertheless the mind of one hearing his arguments would never be convinced, nor would he avoid fire until he puts his hand or some combustible thing into it in order to prove by experiment what the argument taught. But after the fact of combustion is experienced, the mind is satisfied and lies calm in the certainty of truth. Hence argument is not enough, but experience is.

This is evident even in mathematics, where demonstration is the surest. The mind of a man that receives that clearest of demonstrations concerning the equilateral triangle without experiment will never stick to the conclusion nor act upon it till confirmed by experiment by means of the intersection of two circles from either section of which two lines are drawn to the ends of a given line. Then one receives the conclusion without doubt. What Aristotle says of the demonstration by the syllogism being able to give knowledge, can be understood if it is accompanied by experience, but not of the bare demonstration. What he says in the first book of the Metaphysics, that those knowing the reason and cause are wiser than the experienced, he speaks concerning the experienced who know the bare fact only without the cause. But I speak here of the experienced that know the reason and cause through their experience. And such are perfect in their knowledge, as Aristotle wishes to be in the sixth book of the Ethics, whose simple statements are to be believed as if they carried demonstration, as he says in that very place.
Whoever wishes without proof to revel in the truths of things need only know how to neglect experience. This is evident from examples. Authors write many things and the people cling to them through arguments which they make without experiment, that are utterly false. It is commonly believed among all classes that one can break adamant only with the blood of a goat, and philosophers and theologians strengthen this myth. But it is not yet proved by adamant being broken by blood of this kind, as much as it is argued to this conclusion. And yet, even without the blood it can be broken with ease. I have seen this with my eyes; and this must needs be because gems cannot be cut out save by the breaking of the stone. Similarly it is commonly believed that the secretions of the beaver that the doctors use are the testicles of the male, but this is not so, as the beaver has this secretion beneath its breast and even the male as well as the female produces a secretion of this kind. In addition also to this secretion the male has its testicles in the natural place and thus again it is a horrible lie that, since hunters chase the beaver for this secretion, the beaver knowing what they are after, tears out his testicles with his teeth and throws them away. Again it is popularly said that cold water in a vase freezes more quickly than hot; and the argument for this is that contrary is excited by the contrary, like enemies running together. They even impute this to Aristotle in the second book of Meteorology, but he certainly did not say this, but says something like it by which they have been deceived, that if both cold and hot water are poured into a cold place as on ice, the cold freezes quicker (which is true), but if they are placed in two vases, the hot will freeze quicker. It is necessary, then, to prove everything by experience.

Experience is of two kinds. One is through the external senses: such are the experiments that are made upon the heaven through instruments in regard to facts there, and the facts on earth that we prove in various ways to be certain in our own sight. And facts that are not true in places where we are, we know through other wise men that have experienced them. Thus Aristotle with the authority of Alexander, sent 2,000 men throughout various parts of the earth in order to learn at first hand everything on the surface of the world, as Pliny says in his Natural History. And this experience is human and philosophical just as far as a man is able to make use of the beneficent grace given to him, but such experience is not enough for man, because it does not give full certainty as regards corporeal things because of their complexity and touches the spiritual not at all. Hence man's intellect must be aided in another way, and thus the patriarchs and prophets who first gave science to the world secured inner light and did not rest entirely on the senses. So also many of the faithful since Christ. For grace makes many things clear to the faithful, and there is divine inspiration not alone concerning spiritual but even about corporeal things. In accordance with which Ptolemy says in the Centilogium that there is a double way of coming to the knowledge of things, one through the experiments of science, the other through divine inspiration, which latter is far the better as he says.

Of this inner experience there are seven degrees, one through spiritual illumination in regard to scientific things. The second grade consists of virtue, for evil is ignorance as Aristotle says in the second book of the Ethics. And Algazel says in the logic that the mind is disturbed by faults, just as a rusty mirror in which the images of things cannot be clearly seen, but the mind is prepared by virtue like a well polished mirror in which the images of things show clearly. On account of this, true philosophers have accomplished more in ethics in proportion to the soundness of their virtue, denying to one another that they can discover the cause of things unless they have minds free from faults. Augustine relates this fact concerning Socrates in Book VIII, chapter III, of the City of God: to the same purpose Scripture says, to an evil mind, etc., for it is impossible that the mind should lie calm in the sunlight of truth while it is spotted with evil, but like a parrot or magpie it will repeat words foreign to it which it has learned through long practice. And this is our experience, because a known truth draws men into its light for love of it, but the proof of this love is the sight of the result. And indeed he that is busy against truth must necessarily ignore this, that it is permitted him to know how to fashion many high sounding words and to write sentences not his own, just as the brute that imitates the human voice or an ape that attempts to carry out the works of men, although he does not understand their purpose. Virtue, then, clears the mind so that one can better understand not only ethical, but even scientific things. I have carefully proved this in the case of many pure youths who, on account of their innocent minds, have gone further in knowledge than I dare to say, because they have had correct teaching in religious doctrine, to which class the bearer of this treatise belongs, to whose knowledge of principles but few of the Latins rise. Since he is so young (about twenty years old) and poor besides, not able to have masters nor the length of any one year to learn all the great things he knows, and since he neither has great genius or a wonderful memory, there can be no other cause, save the grace of God, which, on account of the clearness of his mind, has granted to him these things which it has refused to almost all students, for a pure man, he has received pure things from me. Nor have I been able to find in him any kind of a mortal fault, although I have searched diligently, and he has a mind so clear and far seeing that he receives less from instruction than can be supposed. And I have tried to lend my aid to the purpose that these two youths may be useful implements for the Church of God, inasmuch as they have with the Grace of God examined the whole learning of the Latins.

The third degree of spiritual experience is the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Isaiah describes. The fourth lies in the beatitudes which our Lord enumerates in the Gospels. The fifth is the spiritual sensibility. The sixth is in such fruits as the peace of God, which passes all understanding. The seventh lies in states of rapture and in the methods of those also, various ones of whom receive it in various ways, that they may see many things which it is not permitted to speak of to man. And whoever is thoroughly practiced in these experiences or in many of them, is able to assure himself and others, not only concerning spiritual things, but all human knowledge. And indeed, since all speculative thought proceeds through arguments which either proceed through a proposition by authority or through other propositions of argument, in accordance with this which I am now investigating, there is a science that is necessary to us, which is called experimental. I wish to explain this, not only as useful to philosophy, but to the knowledge of God and the understanding of the whole world: as in a former book I followed language and science to their end, which is the Divine wisdom by which all things are ordered.

And because this experimental science is a study entirely unknown by the common people, I cannot convince them of its utility, unless its virtue and characteristics are shown. This alone enables us to find out surely what can be done through nature, what through the application of art, what through fraud, what is the purport and what is mere dream in chance, conjuration, invocations, imprecations, magical sacrifices and what there is in them; so that all falsity may be lifted and the truths we alone of the art retained. This alone teaches us to examine all the insane ideas of the magicians in order not to confirm but to avoid them, just as logic criticizes the art of sophistry. This science has three great purposes in regard to the other sciences: the first is that one may criticize by experiment the noble conclusions of all the other sciences, for the other sciences know that their principles come from experiment, but the conclusions through arguments drawn from the principles discovered, if they care to have the result of their conclusions precise and complete. It is necessary that they have this through the aid of this noble science. It is true that mathematics reaches conclusions in accordance with universal experience about figures and numbers, which indeed apply to all sciences and to this experience, because no science can be known without mathematics. If we would attain to experiments precise, complete and made certain in accordance with the proper method, it is necessary to undertake an examination of the science itself, which is called experimental on our authority. I find an example in the rainbow and in like phenomena, of which nature are the circles about the sun and stars, also the halo beginning from the side of the sun or of a star which seems to be visible in straight lines and is called by Aristotle in the third book of the Meteorology a perpendicular, but by Seneca a halo, and is also called a circular corona, which have many of the colors of the rainbow. Now the natural philosopher discusses these things, and in regard to perspective has many facts to add which are concerned with the operation of seeing which is pertinent in this place. But neither Aristotle or Avicenna have given us knowledge of these things in their books upon Nature, nor Seneca, who wrote a special book concerning them. But experimental science analyzes such things.

The experimenter considers whether among visible things, he can find colors formed and arranged as given in the rainbow. He finds that there are hexagonal crystals from Ireland or India which are called rainbow-hued in Solinus Concerning the Wonders of the World and he holds these in a ray of sunlight falling through the window, and finds all the colors of the rainbow, arranged as in it in the shaded part next the ray. Moreover, the same experimenter places himself in a somewhat shady place and puts the stone up to his eye when it is almost closed, and beholds the colors of the rainbow clearly arranged, as in the bow. And because many persons making use of these stones think that it is on account of some special property of the stones and because of their hexagonal shape the investigator proceeds further and finds this in a crystal, properly shaped, and in other transparent stones. And not only are these Irish crystals in white, but also black, so that the phenomenon occurs in smoky crystal and also in all stones of similar transparency. Moreover, in stones not shaped hexagonally, provided the surfaces are rough, the same as those of the Irish crystals, not entirely smooth and yet not rougher than those---the surfaces have the same quality as nature has given the Irish crystals, for the difference of roughness makes the difference of color. He watches, also, rowers and in the drops falling from the raised oars he finds the same colors, whenever the rays of the sun penetrate the drops.
The case is the same with water falling from the paddles of a water-wheel. And when the investigator looks in a summer morning at the drops of dew clinging to the grass in the field or plane, he sees the same colors. And, likewise, when it rains, if he stands in a shady place and the sun's rays beyond him shine through the falling drops, then in some rather dark place the same colors appear, and they can often be seen at night about a candle. In the summer time, as soon as he rises from sleep while his eyes are not yet fully opened, if he suddenly looks at a window through which the light of the sun is streaming, he will see the colors. Again, sitting outside of the sunlight, if he holds his head covering beyond his eyes, or, likewise, if he closes his eyes, the same thing happens in the shade at the edges, and it also takes place through a glass vase filled with water, sitting in the sunlight. Similarly, if any one holding water in his mouth suddenly sprinkles the water in jets and stands at the side of them; or if through a lamp of oil hanging in the air the rays shine in the proper way, or the light shines upon the surface of the oil, the colors again appear. Thus, in an infinite number of ways, natural as well as artificial, colors of this kind are to be seen, if only the diligent investigator knows how to find them.

Experimental science is also that which alone, as the mistress of the speculative sciences, can discover magnificent truths in the fields of the other sciences, to which these other sciences can in no way attain. And these truths are not of the nature of former truths, but they may be even outside of them, in the fields of things where there are neither as yet conclusions or principles, and good examples may be given of this, but in everything which follows it is not necessary for the inexperienced to seek a reason in order to understand at the beginning, but rather he will never have a reason before he has tried the experiment. Whence in the first place there should be credulity until experiment follows, in order that the reason may be found. If one who has never seen that a magnet draws iron nor heard from others that it attracts, seeks the reason before experimenting, he will never find it. Indeed, in the first place, he ought to believe those who have experimented or who have it from investigators, nor ought he to doubt the truth of it because he himself is ignorant of it and because he has no reason for it.

The third value of this science is this---it is on account of the prerogatives through which it looks, not only to the other sciences, but by its own power investigates the secrets of nature, and this takes place in two ways---in the knowledge of future and present events, and in those wonderful works by which it surpasses astronomy commonly so-called in the power of its conclusions. For Ptolemy in the introduction of the Almagest, says that there is another and surer way than the ordinary astronomy; that is, the experimental method which follows after the course of nature, to which many faithful philosophers, such as Aristotle and a vast crowd of the authors of predictions from the stars, are favorable, as he himself says, and we ourselves know through our own experience, which cannot be denied. This wisdom has been found as a natural remedy for human ignorance or imprudence; for it is difficult to have astronomical implements sufficiently exact and more difficult to have tables absolutely verified, especially when the motion of the planets is involved in them. The use of these tables is difficult, but the use of the instruments more so.

This science has found definitions and ways through which it quickly comes to the answer of a whole question, as far as the nature of a single science can do so, and through which it shows us the outlines of the virtues of the skies and the influence of the sky upon this earth, without the difficulty of astronomy. This part so-called has four principal laws as the secret of the science, and some bear witness that a use of this science, which illustrates its nature, is in the change of a region in order that the customs of the people may be changed. In connection with which Aristotle, the most learned of philosophers, when Alexander asked of him concerning some tribes that he had found, whether he should kill them on account of their barbarity or let them live, responded in the Book of Secrets if you can change their air let them live; if not, kill them. He wished that their air could be altered usefully, so that the complexion of their bodies could be changed, and finally the mind aroused through the complexion should absorb good customs from the liberty of their environment; this is one use of this science.

From: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. V: The Early Medieval World, pp. 369-376.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton

Peter of Blos to Eleanor of Aquitaine

Medieval Sourcebook: Peter of Blois: Letter 154to Queen Eleanor, 1173
Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine: An Attempt to Chastise Her

Introduction [Markowski]:

This letter was composed by Peter of Blois in 1173 at the request of his patron, Rotrou the Archbishop of Rouen (and no doubt at the request of the archbishop's patron, King Henry II). Eleanor was succeeding in her revolt against her king and husband. Eleanor's sons had also joined in the revolt against Henry. This letter was an attempt to stop her.

1.) What sort of view of Eleanor emerges from this piece of evidence? Who is really behind the authorship of the letter and how might this powerful bias alter the truth about Eleanor?

2.) How much validity is there in the picture of Eleanor which Peter of Blois provides? How does this picture compare and/or contrast with the "Queen of Hearts" portrayal in Amy Kelly or the feminist interpretation of Marion Meade?

3.) What does this letter reveal about the emerging concept of separating church and state? What does it show about professional writers, about medieval rhetoric, about royal power, about medieval marriage, about royal rebellion, about the nature of medieval power & government?

4.) Putting this letter into the context of what we know about Eleanor, what does it say about the status of women, e.g., the "Pit and Pedestal" paradigm of Eileen Power?

5.) Finally, how does one go about further research? For example, if the information and approach in the letter is seriously flawed by the bias and self-interest of King Henry (not to mention Peter of Blois or the Archbishop of Rouen), then how can we correct this view?

To Aleanor, Queen of England. From [Rotrou] the Archbishop of Rouen & his Suffragens:
Greetings in the search for peace --

Marriage is a firm and indissoluble union. This is public knowledge and no Christian can take the liberty to ignore it. From the beginning biblical truth has verified that marriage once entered into cannot be separated. Truth cannot deceive: it says, "What God has joined let us not put asunder [Matt 19]." Truly, whoever separates a married couple becomes a transgressor of the divine commandment.

So the woman is at fault who leaves her husband and fails to keep the trust of this social bond.

When a married couple becomes one flesh, it is necessary that the union of bodies be accompanied by a unity and equality of spirit through mutual consent. A woman who is not under the headship of the husband violates the condition of nature, the mandate of the Apostle, and the law of Scripture: "The head of the woman is the man [Ephes 5]." She is created from him, she is united to him, and she is subject to his power.

We deplore publicly and regretfully that, while you are a most prudent woman, you have left your husband. The body tears at itself. The body did not sever itself from the head, but what is worse, you have opened the way for the lord king's, and your own, children to rise up against the father. Deservedly the prophet says, "The sons I have nurtured and raised, they now have spurned me [Isaiah 1]." As another prophet calls to mind, "If only the final hour of our life would come and the earth's surface crack open so that we might not see this evil"!

We know that unless you return to your husband, you will be the cause of widespread disaster. While you alone are now the delinquent one, your actions will result in ruin for everyone in the kingdom. Therefore, illustrious queen, return to your husband and our king. In your reconciliation, peace will be restored from distress, and in your return, joy may return to all. If our pleadings do not move you to this, at least let the affliction of the people, the imminent pressure of the church and the desolation of the kingdom stir you. For either truth deceives, or "every kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed [Luke 11]." Truly, this desolation cannot be stopped by the lord king but by his sons and their allies.

Against all women and out of childish counsel, you provoke disaster for the lord king, to whom powerful kings bow the neck. And so, before this matter reaches a bad end, you should return with your sons to your husband, whom you have promised to obey and live with. Turn back so that neither you nor your sons become suspect. We are certain that he will show you every possible kindness and the surest guarantee of safety.

I beg you, advise your sons to be obedient and respectful to their father. He has suffered many anxieties, offenses and grievances. Yet, so that imprudence might not demolish and scatter good will (which is acquired at such toil!), we say these things to you, most pious queen, in the zeal of God and the disposition of sincere love.

Truly, you are our parishioner as much as your husband. We cannot fall short in justice: Either you will return to your husband, or we must call upon canon law and use ecclesiastical censures against you. We say this reluctantly, but unless you come back to your senses, with sorrow and tears, we will do so.

Translation by M. Markowski [] of Peter of Blois' Letter 154 from the Latin text in Chartres Ms #208; Cf. Migne, P.L. 207:448-9. Feel free to copy or download this translation, but please e-mail me and let me know in order that I might satisfy my own desire to be useful.

A couple fine books: Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings by Amy Kelly who provides an excellent 'Life-and-Times' approach, and Eleanor of Aquitaine by Marion Meade who gives a feminist interpretation. The award-winning film, Lion in Winter, (Katherine Hepburn) shows Eleanor's inner life during her captivity.

A couple of useful books for context: Medieval Women by Eileen Power who opened this subject to scholars, and Women's Lives in Medieval Europe edited by Emilie Amt who has put together an excellent book of primary sources with good introductions.

The Battle of Tours, Wikipedia

Battle of Tours
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Battle of Tours (October 10, 732), also called Battle of Poitiers and in Arabic بلاط الشهداء (Balâṭ al-Shuhadâ’) The Court of Martyrs[6] was fought near the city of Tours, close to the border between the Frankish realm and the then independent region of Aquitaine. The battle pitted Frankish and Burgundian[7][8] forces under Austrasian Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, Governor-general of al-Andalus. The Franks were victorious, ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi was killed, and Martel subsequently extended his authority in the south.

Ninth-century chroniclers, who interpreted the outcome of the battle as divine judgment in his favour, gave Charles the nickname Martellus ("The Hammer"), possibly recalling Judas Maccabeus ("The Hammerer") of the Maccabean revolt.[9][10] Details of the battle, including its exact location and the exact number of combatants, cannot be determined from accounts that have survived.[11]

As later chroniclers praised Charles Martel as the champion of Christianity, pre-20th century historians began to characterize this battle as being the decisive turning point in the struggle against Islam. "Most of the 18th and 19th century historians, like Gibbon, saw Poitiers (Tours), as a landmark battle that marked the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe."[12] Leopold Von Ranke felt that "Poitiers was the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world." [13]

While modern historians are divided as to whether or not the victory was responsible — as Gibbon and his generation of historians claimed — for saving Christianity and halting the conquest of Europe by Islam, the battle helped lay the foundations for the Carolingian Empire, and Frankish domination of Europe for the next century. "The establishment of Frankish power in western Europe shaped that continent's destiny and the Battle of Tours confirmed that power." [14]

[edit] Background
Many modern historians maintain that the Battle of Tours was one of the most important battles during the Umayyad conquests. As a devastating defeat for the Umayyads, it helped trigger their downfall, and this battle determined that Europe would be Christian, not Muslim.
The battle followed twenty years of Umayyad conquests in Europe, beginning with the invasion of the Visigothic Christian Kingdoms of the Iberian peninsula in 711 and progressing into the Frankish territories of Gaul, former provinces of the Roman Empire. Umayyad military campaigns had reached northward into Aquitaine and Burgundy, including a major battle at Bordeaux and a raid on Autun. Martel's victory is believed by some historians to have stopped the northward advance of Umayyad forces from the Iberian peninsula, and to have preserved Christianity in Europe during a period when Muslim rule was overrunning the remains of the old Roman and Persian Empires. [15] Others have argued that the battle marked only the defeat of a raid in force and was not a watershed event.[16]

The exact location of the Battle of Tours remains unknown. Surviving contemporary sources, both Muslim and Western, agree on certain details while disputing others. Most historians assume that the two armies met where the rivers Clain and Vienne join between Tours and Poitiers. The number of troops in each army is not known. Drawing on non-contemporary Muslim sources Creasy describes the Umayyad forces as 80,000 strong or more. Writing in 1999, Paul K. Davis estimates the Umayyad forces at 80,000 and the Franks at about 30,000,[17] while noting that modern historians have estimated the strength of the Umayyad army at Tours at between 20–80,000.[18] Edward J. Schoenfeld (rejecting the older figures of 60–400,000 Umayyad and 75,000 Franks) contends that "estimates that the Umayyads had over fifty thousand troops (and the Franks even more) are logistically impossible."[19] Another modern military historian, Victor Davis Hanson, believes both armies were of roughly the same size, about 30,000 men.[20] Modern historians may be more accurate than the mediæval sources as the modern figures are based on estimates of the logistical ability of the countryside to support these numbers of men and animals. Both Davis and Hanson point out that both armies had to live off the countryside, neither having a commissary system sufficient to provide supplies for a campaign. Losses during the battle are unknown but chroniclers later claimed that Martel's force lost about 1,500 while the Umayyad force was said to have suffered massive casualties of up to 375,000 men. However, these same casualty figures were recorded in the Liber pontificalis for Duke Odo of Aquitaine's victory at the Battle of Toulouse (721). Paul the Deacon, correctly reported in his Historia Langobardorum (written around the year 785) that the Liber pontificalis mentioned these casualty figures in relation to Odo's victory at Toulouse (though he claimed that Charles Martel fought in the battle alongside Odo), but later writers, probably "influenced by the Continuations of Fredegar, attributed the Saracen casualties solely to Charles Martel, and the battle in which they fell became unequivocally that of Poitiers."[21] The Vita Pardulfi, written in the middle of the eighth century, reports that after the battle ‘Abd-al-Raḥmân's forces burned and looted their way through the Limousin on their way back to Al-Andalus, which implies that they were not destroyed to the extent imagined in the Continuations of Fredegar.[22]

The Opponents
The Invasion of Hispania, and then Gaul, was led by the Umayyad Dynasty (Arabic: بنو أمية banū umayya / الأمويون al-umawiyyūn‎; Persian: امویان Omaviyân‎; Turkish: Emevi), also "Umawi", the first dynasty of caliphs of the Islamic empire after the reign of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali) ended. The Umayyad Caliphate, at the time of the Battle of Tours, was perhaps the world’s foremost military power. Great expansion of the Caliphate occurred under the reign of the Umayyads. Muslim armies pushed across North Africa and Persia, through the late 600s, expanding the borders of the empire from the Iberian Peninsula, in the west, to what is today Pakistan, in the east. Forces led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad crossed Gibraltar and established Muslim power in the Iberian peninsula, while other armies established power far away in Sind, in what is now the modern state of Pakistan. The Muslim empire under the Umayyads was now a vast domain that ruled a diverse array of peoples. It had destroyed what were the two former foremost military powers, the Sassanid Empire, which it absorbed completely, and the Byzantine Empire, most of which it had absorbed, including Syria, Armenia and North Africa, although Leo the Isaurian successfully defended Anatolia at the Battle of Akroinon (739) in the final campaign of the Umayyad dynasty.[23]

The Frankish realm under Charles Martel was the foremost military power of Western Europe. It consisted of what is today most of Germany, the low countries, and part of France (Austrasia, Neustria and Burgundy). The Frankish realm had begun to progress towards becoming the first real imperial power in Europe since the fall of Rome, as it struggled against external forces such as the Saxons, Frisians and internal opponents such as Eudes, the Duke of Aquitaine.

Muslim conquests from Hispania

The "Age of the Caliphs," showing Umayyad dominance stretching from the Middle East to the Iberian peninsula, including the port of Narbonne, c. 720

Modern-day French borders. Autun is just to the right of the map's midpoint, Septimania runs along the rightward coast from the Spanish border, and Aquitaine is along the coast running north from Spain.

The Umayyad troops, under Al-Samh ibn Malik, the governor-general of al-Andalus, overran Septimania by 719, following their sweep up the Iberian peninsula. Al-Samh set up his capital from 720 at Narbonne, which the Moors called Arbūna. With the port of Narbonne secure, the Umayyads swiftly subdued the largely unresisting cities of Alet, Béziers, Agde, Lodève, Maguelonne, and Nîmes, still controlled by their Visigothic counts.[24]

The Umayyad campaign into Aquitaine suffered a temporary setback at the Battle of Toulouse (721), when Duke Odo of Aquitaine (also known as Eudes the Great) broke the siege of Toulouse, taking Al-Samh ibn Malik's forces by surprise and mortally wounding the governor-general Al-Samh ibn Malik himself. This defeat did not stop incursions into old Roman Gaul, as Arab forces, soundly based in Narbonne and easily resupplied by sea, struck eastwards in the 720s, penetrating as far as Autun in Burgundy (725).

Threatened by both the Umayyads in the south and by the Franks in the north, in 730 Eudes allied himself with the Berber emir Uthman ibn Naissa, called "Munuza" by the Franks, the deputy governor of what would later become Catalonia. As a gage, Uthman was given Eudes's daughter Lampade in marriage to seal the alliance, and Arab raids across the Pyrenees, Eudes's southern border, ceased.[25]

However, the next year, Uthman rebelled against the governor of al-Andalus, ‘Abd-al-Raḥmân, who quickly crushed the revolt and directed his attention against Eudes. ‘Abd-al-Raḥmân had brought a huge force of Arab heavy cavalry and Berber light cavalry, plus troops from all provinces of the Caliphate, in the Umayyad attempt at a conquest of Europe north of the Pyrenees. According to one unidentified Arab, "That army went through all places like a desolating storm." Duke Eudes (called King by some), collected his army at Bordeaux, but was defeated, and Bordeaux was plundered. The slaughter of Christians at the Battle of the River Garonne was evidently horrific; the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754[26] commented, "solus Deus numerum morientium vel pereuntium recognoscat", ("God alone knows the number of the slain").[27] The Umayyad horsemen then utterly devastated that portion of Gaul, their own histories saying the "faithful pierced through the mountains, trampled over rough and level ground, plundered far into the country of the Franks, and smote all with the sword, insomuch that when Eudo came to battle with them at the River Garonne, he fled."

Sir Edward Creasy said, (incorporating verses from Robert Southey's poem "Roderick, the Last of the Goths")

It was under one of their ablest and most renowned commanders, with a veteran army, and with every apparent advantage of time, place, and circumstance, that the Arabs made their great effort at the conquest of Europe north of the Pyrenees. The victorious Moslem soldiery in Spain, eager for the plunder of more Christian cities and shrines, and full of fanatic confidence in the invincibility of their arms."

"A countless multitude;
Syrian, Moor, Saracen, Greek renegade,
Persian, and Copt, and Tartar, in one bond
Of erring faith conjoined — strong in the youth
And heat of zeal — a dreadful brotherhood"
"Nor were the chiefs
Of victory less assured, by long success
Elate, and proud of that o'erwhelming strength
Which surely, they believed, as it had rolled
Thus far uncheck'd, would roll victorious on,
Till, like the Orient, the subjected West
Should bow in reverence at Mahommed's name;
And pilrims from remotest Arctic shores
Tread with religious feet the burning sands
Of Araby and Mecca's stony soil."
SOUTHEY'S Roderick, the Last of the Goths

And so, after smashing Eudes and laying waste in the south, the Umayyad Cavalry advanced north, pursuing the fleeing Eudes, and looting, and destroying all before them.

Eudes' appeal to the Franks

From the former Gothic Kingdoms of Hispania and Septimania, lower left, Muslim armies advanced deep into Aquitaine and Burgundy. Note the location of Tours south of the Loire river.
Eudes appealed to the Franks for assistance, which Charles Martel only granted after Eudes agreed to submit to Frankish authority.

It appears as if the Umayyads were not aware of the true strength of the Franks. The Umayyad forces were not particularly concerned about any of the Germanic tribes, including the Franks, and the Arab Chronicles, the history of that age, show that awareness of the Franks as a growing military power only came after the Battle of Tours.

Further, the Umayyads appear not to have scouted northward for potential foes, for if they had, they surely would have noted Charles Martel as a force to be reckoned with in his own account, due to his thorough domination of Europe from 717: this might have alerted the Umayyads that a real power led by a gifted general was rising in the ashes of the Western Roman Empire.

Advance toward the Loire
In 732, the Umayyad advance force was proceeding north toward the River Loire having outpaced their supply train and a large part of their army. Essentially, having easily destroyed all resistance in that part of Gaul, the invading army had split off into several raiding parties, while the main body advanced more slowly.

The Umayyad attack was likely so late in the year because many men and horses needed to live off the land as they advanced; thus they had to wait until the area's wheat harvest was ready and then until a reasonable amount of the harvest was threshed (slowly by hand with flails) and stored. The further north, the later the harvest is, and while the men could kill farm livestock for food, horses cannot eat meat and needed grain as food. Letting them graze each day would take too long, and interrogating natives to find where food stores were kept would not work where the two sides had no common language.

A military explanation for why Eudes was defeated so easily at Bordeaux and at the Battle of the River Garonne after having won 11 years earlier at the Battle of Toulouse is simple. At Toulouse, Eudes managed a basic surprise attack against an overconfident and unprepared foe, all of whose defensive works were aimed inward, while he attacked from the outside. The Umayyad cavalry never got a chance to mobilize and meet him in open battle. As Herman de Carinthia wrote in one of his translations of a history of al-Andalus, Eudes managed a highly successful encircling envelopment which took the attackers totally by surprise — and the result was a chaotic slaughter of the Muslim cavalry.

At Bordeaux, and again at the Battle of the River Garonne, the Umayyad cavalry were not taken by surprise, and given a chance to mass for battle, this led to the devastation of Eudes's army, almost all of whom were killed with minimal losses to the Muslims. Eudes's forces, like other European troops of that era, lacked stirrups, and therefore had no armoured cavalry. Virtually all of their troops were infantry. The Umayyad heavy cavalry broke the Christian infantry in their first charge, and then slaughtered them at will as they broke and ran.

The invading force went on to devastate southern Gaul. A possible motive, according to the second continuator of Fredegar, was the riches of the Abbey of Saint Martin of Tours, the most prestigious and holiest shrine in Western Europe at the time.[28] Upon hearing this, Austrasia's Mayor of the Palace, Charles Martel, collected his army and marched south, avoiding the old Roman roads and hoping to take the Muslims by surprise. Because he intended to use a phalanx, it was essential for him to choose the battlefield. His plan — to find a high wooded plain, form his men and force the Muslims to come to him — depended on the element of surprise.


Preparations and maneuver
From all accounts, the invading forces were caught entirely off guard to find a large force, well disposed and prepared for battle, with high ground, directly opposing their attack on Tours. Charles had achieved the total surprise he hoped for. He then chose to begin the battle in a defensive, phalanx-like formation. According to the Arabian sources the Franks drew up in a large square, with the trees and upward slope to break any cavalry charge.

For seven days, the two armies watched each other with minor skirmishes. The Umayyads waited for their full strength to arrive, which it did, but they were still uneasy. A good general never likes to let his opponent pick the ground and the conditions for battle. 'Abd-al-Raḥmân, despite being a good commander, had managed to let Martel do both. Furthermore, it was difficult for the Umayyads to judge the size of the army opposing them, since Martel had used the trees and forest to make his force appear larger than it probably was. Thus, 'Abd-al-Raḥmân recalled all his troops, which did give him an even larger army - but it also gave Martel time for more of his veteran infantry to arrive from the outposts of his Empire. These infantry were all the hope for victory he had. Seasoned and battle hardened, most of them had fought with him for years, some as far back as 717. Further, he also had levies of militia arrive, but the militia was virtually worthless except for gathering food, and harassing the Muslims. (Most historians through the centuries have believed the Franks were badly outnumbered at the onset of battle by at least 2-1) Martel gambled everything that ‘Abd-al-Raḥmân would in the end feel compelled to battle, and to go on and loot Tours. Neither of them wanted to attack - but Abd-al-Raḥmân felt in the end obligated to sack Tours, which meant literally going through the Frankish army on the hill in front of him. Martel's decision to wait in the end proved crucial, as it forced the Umayyads to rush uphill, against the grade and the woods, which in and of themselves negated a large part of the natural advantages of a cavalry charge.

Martel had been preparing for this confrontation since Toulouse a decade before. He was well aware that if he failed, no other Christian force remained able to defend western Christianity. But Gibbon believes, as do most pre and modern historians, that Martel had made the best of a bad situation. Though outnumbered and depending on infantry, without stirrups in wide use, Martel had a tough, battle hardened heavy infantry who believed in him implicitly. Martel had the element of surprise, and had been allowed to pick the ground.

The Franks in their wolf and bear pelts were well dressed for the cold, and had the terrain advantage. The Arabs were not as prepared for the intense cold of an oncoming northern European winter, despite having tents, which the Franks did not, but did not want to attack a Frankish army they believed may have been numerically superior. Essentially, the Umayyads wanted the Franks to come out in the open, while the Franks, formed in a tightly packed defensive formation, wanted them to come uphill, into the trees, diminishing at once the advantages of their cavalry. It was a waiting game which Martel won: The fight began on the seventh day, as Abd er Rahman did not want to postpone the battle indefinitely with winter approaching.

[edit] Engagement
‘Abd-al-Raḥmân trusted the tactical superiority of his cavalry, and had them charge repeatedly. This time the faith the Umayyads had in their cavalry, armed with their long lances and swords which had brought them victory in previous battles, was not justified. The Franks, without stirrups in wide use, had to depend on unarmoured foot soldiers.
In one of the instances where medieval infantry stood up against cavalry charges, the disciplined Frankish soldiers withstood the assaults, though according to Arab sources, the Arab cavalry several times broke into the interior of the Frankish square. "The Muslim horsemen dashed fierce and frequent forward against the battalions of the Franks, who resisted manfully, and many fell dead on either side."[29]

Despite this, the Franks did not break. It appears that the years of year-round training that Charles had bought with Church funds, paid off. His hard-trained soldiery accomplished what was not thought possible at that time: unarmoured infantry withstood the fierce Umayyad heavy cavalry. Paul Davis says the core of Martel's army was a professional infantry which was both highly disciplined and well motivated, "having campaigned with him all over Europe," buttressed by levies that Charles basically used to raid and disrupt his enemy. [17]The Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 says: "And in the shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts of the foe."[30]

The battle turns
Those Umayyad troops who had broken into the square had tried to kill Martel, but his liege men surrounded him and would not be broken. The battle was still in flux when Frankish histories claim that a rumor went through the Umayyad army that Frankish scouts threatened the booty that they had taken from Bordeaux. Some of the Umayyad troops at once broke off the battle and returned to camp to secure their loot. According to Muslim accounts of the battle, in the midst of the fighting on the second day (Frankish accounts have the battle lasting one day only), scouts from the Franks sent by Charles began to raid the camp and supply train (including slaves and other plunder).

Charles supposedly had sent scouts to cause chaos in the Umayyad base camp, and free as many of the slaves as possible, hoping to draw off part of his foe. This succeeded, as many of the Umayyad cavalry returned to their camp. To the rest of the Muslim army, this appeared to be a full-scale retreat, and soon it became one. Both Western and Muslim histories agree that while trying to stop the retreat, ‘Abd-al-Raḥmân became surrounded, which led to his death, and the Umayyad troops then withdrew altogether to their camp. "All the host fled before the enemy," candidly wrote one Arabic source, "and many died in the flight." The Franks resumed their phalanx, and rested in place through the night, believing the battle would resume at dawn the following morning.

Following day
The next day, when the Umayyad forces did not renew the battle, the Franks feared an ambush. Charles at first believed that the Umayyad forces were trying to lure him down the hill and into the open. This tactic he knew he had to resist at all costs; he had in fact disciplined his troops for years to under no circumstances break formation and come out in the open. (See the Battle of Hastings for the results of infantry being lured into the open by armoured cavalry.) Only after extensive reconnaissance of the Umayyad camp by Frankish soldiers — which by both historical accounts had been so hastily abandoned that even the tents remained, as the Umayyad forces headed back to Iberia with what loot remained that they could carry — was it discovered that the Muslims had retreated during the night.
Given the disparity between the armies, in that the Franks were mostly infantry, all without armour, against Berber cavalry and armored or mailed Arab horsemen (the Berbers were less heavily protected), Charles Martel fought a brilliant defensive battle. In a place and time of his choosing, he met a far superior force, and defeated it.

[edit] Contemporary accounts
The Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 "describes the battle in greater detail than any other Latin or Arabic source".[31] It says of the encounter that,

While Abd ar-Rahman was pursuing Eudes, he decided to despoil Tours by destroying its palaces and burning its churches. There he confronted the consul of Austrasia by the name of Charles, a man who, having proved himself to be a warrior from his youth and an expert in things military, had been summoned by Eudes. After each side had tormented the other with raids for almost seven days, they finally prepared their battle lines and fought fiercely. The northern peoples remained as immobile as a wall, holding together like a glacier in the cold regions. In the blink of an eye, they annihilated the Arabs with the sword. The people of Austrasia, greater in number of soldiers and formidably armed, killed the king, Abd ar-Rahman, when they found him, striking him on the chest. But suddenly, within sight of the countless tents of the Arabs, the Franks despicably sheathed their swords postponing the fight until the next day since night had fallen during the battle. Rising from their own camp at dawn, the Europeans saw the tents and canopies of the Arabs all arranged just as they had appeared the day before. Not knowing that they were empty and thinking that inside them there were Saracen forces ready for battle, they sent officers to reconnoitre and discovered that all the Ishmaelite troops had left. They had indeed fled silently by night in tight formation, returning to their own country.

— Wolf (trans), Chronicle of 754, p. 145
Charles Martel's family composed, for the fourth book of the Continuations of Fredegar's Chronicle, a stylised summary of the battle:

Prince Charles bodly drew up his battle lines against them [the Arabs] and the warrior rushed in against them. With Christ's help he overturned their tents, and hastened to battle to grind them small in slaughter. The king Abdirama having been killed, he destroyed [them], driving forth the army, he fought and won. Thus did the victor triumph over his enemies.

— Fouracre, Continuations of Fredegar, p. 149

This source details further that "he (Charles Martel) came down upon them like a great man of battle." It goes on to say Charles "scattered them like the stubble."

The references to "rushing in" and "overturning their tents" may allude to the phraseology of the Book of Numbers, chapter 24, "where the Spirit of God 'rushed in' to the tents of Israel." The Latin word used for "warrior", belligerator, "is also biblical, from the Book of Maccabees, chapters 15 and 16, which describe huge battles.[32]

It is thought that Bede's Historiam Ecclesiasticam Gentis Anglorum (Chapter XXIII) includes a reference to the Battle of Poitiers: "...a dreadful plague of Saracens ravaged France with miserable slaughter, but they not long after in that country received the punishment due to their wickedness".[33]

Strategic analysis
‘Abd-al-Raḥmân was a good general and should have done two things he failed to do, Gibbon makes the point that he did not move at once against Charles Martel, was surprised by him at Tours as Martel had marched over the mountains avoiding the roads to surprise the Muslim invaders, and thus the wily Martel selected the time and place they would collide:

‘Abd-al-Raḥmân either assumed that the Franks would not come to the aid of their Aquitanian rivals, or did not care, and he thus failed to assess their strength before invasion.

He failed to scout the movements of the Frankish army, and Charles Martel.

Having done either, he would have curtailed his lighthorse ravaging throughout lower Gaul, and marched at once with his full power against the Franks. This strategy would have nullified every advantage Charles had at Tours:

The invaders would have not been burdened with booty that played such a huge role in the battle.

They would have not lost one warrior in the battles they fought before Tours. (Though they lost relatively few men in overrunning Aquitaine, they suffered some casualties — losses that may have been pivotal at Tours).

They would have bypassed weaker opponents such as Eudes, whom they could have picked off at will later, while moving at once to force battle with the real power in Europe, and at least partially picked the battlefield.

While some military historians point out that leaving enemies in your rear is not generally wise, the Mongols proved that indirect attack, and bypassing weaker foes to eliminate the strongest first, is a devastatingly effective mode of invasion. In this case, those enemies were virtually no danger, given the ease with which the Muslims destroyed them. The real danger was Charles, and the failure to scout Gaul adequately was disastrous.

According to Creasy, the Muslims' best strategic choice would have been to simply decline battle, depart with their loot, garrisoning the captured towns in southern Gaul, and return when they could force Martel to a battleground more to their liking, one that maximized the huge advantage they had in their mailed and armored horsemen—the first true "knights". It might have been different, however, had the Muslim forces remained under control. Both western and Muslim histories agree the battle was hard fought, and that the Umayyad heavy cavalry had broken into the square, but agreed that the Franks were in formation still strongly resisting.
Charles could not afford to stand idly by while Frankish territories were threatened. He would have to face the Umayyad armies sooner or later, and his men were enraged by the utter devastation of the Aquitanians and wanted to fight. But Sir Edward Creasy noted that,

when we remember that Charles had no standing army, and the independent spirit of the Frank warriors who followed his standard, it seems most probable that it was not in his power to adopt the cautious policy of watching the invaders, and wearing out their strength by delay. So dreadful and so widespread were the ravages of the Saracenic light cavalry throughout Gaul, that it must have been impossible to restrain for any length of time the indignant ardor of the Franks. And, even, if Charles could have persuaded his men to look tamely on while the Arabs stormed more towns and desolated more districts, he could not have kept an army together when the usual period of a military expedition had expired.[34]

Both Hallam and Watson argue that had Martel failed, there was no remaining force to protect Western Europe. Hallam perhaps said it best: "It may justly be reckoned among those few battles of which a contrary event would have essentially varied the drama of the world in all its subsequent scenes: with Marathon, Arbela, the Metaurus, Châlons, and Leipzig."[35]
Strategically, and tactically, Martel probably made the best decision he could in waiting until his enemies least expected him to intervene, and then marching by stealth to catch them by surprise at a battlefield of his choosing. Probably he and his own men did not realize the seriousness of the battle they had fought, as Matthew Bennett and his co-authors, in Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World (2005) says: "few battles are remembered 1,000 years after they are fought [...] but the Battle of Tours is an exception [...] Charles Martel turned back a Muslim raid that had it been allowed to continue, might have conquered Gaul."


Umayyad retreat and second invasion
The Umayyad army retreated south over the Pyrenees. Martel continued to drive the Umayyad forces from France in subsequent years. After the death (c. 735) of Eudes, who had reluctantly acknowledged Charles' suzerainty in 719, Charles wished to unite Eudes's Duchy to himself, and went there to elicit the proper homage of the Aquitainians. But the nobility proclaimed Hunold, Eudes' son, as the Duke, and Charles recognized his legitimacy when the Umayyads entered Provence as part of an alliance with Duke Maurontus the next year.[36] Hunold, who originally resisted acknowledging Charles as overlord, soon had little choice. He acknowledged Charles at once as his overlord, and Martel confirmed his Duchy, and the two prepared to confront the invaders. Martel believed it was vital to confine the Umayyad forces to Iberia and deny them any foothold in Gaul, a view many historians share. Therefore he marched at once against the invaders, defeating one army outside Arles, which he took by storm and razed the city, and defeated the primary invasion force at the Battle of the River Berre, outside Narbonne.

Advance to Narbonne
Despite this, the Umayyads remained in control of Narbonne and Septimania for another 27 years, though they could not expand further. The treaties reached earlier with the local population stood firm and were further consolidated in 734 when the governor of Narbonne, Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri, concluded agreements with several towns on common defense arrangements against the encroachments of Charles Martel, who had systematically brought the south to heel as he extended his domains. He destroyed Umayyad armies and fortresses at the Battle of Avignon and the Battle of Nimes. The army attempting to relieve Narbonne met him in open battle at the Battle of the River Berre and was destroyed, but Charles failed in his attempt to take Narbonne by siege in 737, when the city was jointly defended by its Muslim Arab and Berber, and its Christian Visigothic citizens.

Carolingian dynasty
Reluctant to tie down his army for a siege that could last years, and believing he could not afford the losses of an all out frontal assault such as he had used at Arles, Martel was content to isolate the few remaining invaders in Narbonne and Septimania. The threat of invasion was diminished after the Umayyad defeat at Narbonne, and the unified Caliphate would collapse into civil war in 750 at the Battle of the Zab. It was left to Martel's son, Pippin the Short, to force Narbonne's surrender in 759, thus bringing Narbonne into the Frankish domains. The Umayyad dynasty was expelled, driven back to Al-Andalus where Abd ar-Rahman I established an emirate in Cordoba in opposition to the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. The threat posed by the Arab heavy cavalry also receded as the Christians copied the Arab model in developing similar forces of their own, giving rise to the familiar figure of the western European medieval armored knight.
Martel's grandson, Charlemagne, became the first Christian ruler to begin what would be called the Reconquista from Europe. In the northeast of Spain the Frankish emperors established the Marca Hispanica across the Pyrenees in part of what today is Catalonia, reconquering Girona in 785 and Barcelona in 801. This formed a buffer zone against Muslim lands across the Pyrenees. Historian J.M. Roberts said in 1993 [37] of the Carolingian Dynasty:

"It produced Charles Martel, the soldier who turned the Arabs back at Tours, and the supporter of Saint Boniface the Evangelizer of Germany. This is a considerable double mark to have left on the history of Europe."

The last Umayyad invasions of Gaul

In 735 the new governor of al-Andalus again invaded Gaul. Antonio Santosuosso and other historians detail how the new governor of Al-Andalus, 'Uqba b. Al-Hajjaj, again moved into France to avenge the defeat at Poitiers and to spread Islam. Santosuosso notes that 'Uqba b. Al-Hajjaj converted about 2,000 Christians he captured over his career. In the last major attempt at forcible invasion of Gaul through Iberia, a sizable invasion force was assembled at Saragossa and entered what is now French territory in 735, crossed the River Rhone and captured and looted Arles. From there he struck into the heart of Provence, ending with the capture of Avignon, despite strong resistance. Uqba b. Al-Hajjaj's forces remained in French territory for about four years, carrying raids to Lyons, Burgundy, and Piedmont. Again Charles Martel came to the rescue, reconquering most of the lost territories in two campaigns in 736 and 739, except for the city of Narbonne, which finally fell in 759. Alessandro Santosuosso strongly argues that the second (Umayyad) expedition was probably more dangerous than the first. The second expedition's failure put an end to any serious Muslim expedition across the Pyrenees although raids continued. Plans for further large scale attempts were hindered by internal turmoil in the Umayyad lands which often made enemies out of their own kind.[38]

Historical and macrohistorical views
The Historical views of this battle fall into three great phases, both in the East and and especially in the West. Western historians beginning with the Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 stressed the macrohistorical impact of the battle, as did the Continuations of Fredegar. This became a claim that Martel had literally saved Christianity as Gibbon and his generation of historians agreed that the Battle of Tours was unquestionably decisive in world history.

Modern historians have essentially fallen into two camps on the issue. The first camp essentially agrees with Gibbon, and the other argues that the Battle has been massively overstated—turned from a raid in force to an invasion, and from a mere annoyance to the Caliph to a shattering defeat that helped end the Islamic Expansion Era. It is essential however, to note that within the first group, those who agree the Battle was of macrohistorical importance, there are a number of historians who take a more moderate and nuanced approach to supporting the battle's importance, rather than the more dramatic rhetoric of Gibbon. The best example of this school is William E. Watson, who does believe the battle has macrohistorical importance, as will be specifically discussed below, but analyzes it militarily, culturally and politically, rather than seeing it as a classic "Muslim versus Christian" confrontation.

In the East, Arab histories followed a similar path. First, the Battle was regarded as a disastrous defeat, then it faded essentially from Arab histories, leading to a modern dispute which regards it as either a secondary loss to the great defeat of the Second Siege of Constantinople or a part of a series of great macrohistorical defeats which together brought about the fall of the first Caliphate. Essentially, many modern Muslim scholars argue that the first Caliphate was a jihadist state which could not withstand an end to its constant expansion. [3] With the Byzantines and Franks both successfully blocking further expansion, internal social troubles came to a head, starting with the Great Berber Revolt of 740, and ending with the Battle of the Zab, and the destruction of the Umayyad Caliphate.

In Western history
The first wave of real "modern" historians, especially scholars on Rome and the medevial period, such as Edward Gibbon, contended that had Martel fallen, the Umayyad Caliphate would have easily conquered a divided Europe. Gibbon famously observed:

A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.[39]

Nor was Gibbon alone in lavishing praise on Martel as the savior of Christiandom and western civilization. H.G. Wells in his "A Short History of the World" said in Chapter XLV "The Development of Latin Christendom:"

The Moslim when they crossed the Pyrenees in 720 found this Frankish kingdom under the practical rule of Charles Martel, the Mayor of the Palace of a degenerate descendant of Clovis, and experienced the decisive defeat of Poitiers (732) at his hands. This Charles Martel was practically overlord of Europe north of the Alps from the Pyrenees to Hungary. He ruled over a multitude of subordinate lords speaking French-Latin, and High and Low German languages.

Gibbon was echoed a century later by the Belgian historian Godefroid Kurth, who wrote that the Battle of Poitiers "must ever remain one of the great events in the history of the world, as upon its issue depended whether Christian Civilization should continue or Islam prevail throughout Europe." [40]

Isidorus Pacensis, the chronicler to whose account historians of today are in great debt for what we know of the battle of Tours/Poitiers, wrote that

“The men of the North stood as motionless as a wall; they were like a belt of ice frozen together, and not to be dissolved, as they slew the Arabs with the sword. The Austrasians, vast of limb, and iron of hand, hewed on bravely in the thick of the fight; it was they who found and cut down the Saracen king.”

German historians were especially ardent in their praise of Martel; Schlegel speaks of this "mighty victory"[41], and tells how "the arm of Charles Martel saved and delivered the Christian nations of the West from the deadly grasp of all-destroying Islam." Creasy quotes Leopold von Ranke's opinion that this period was

one of the most important epochs in the history of the world, the commencement of the eighth century, when on the one side Mohammedanism threatened to overspread Italy and Gaul, and on the other the ancient idolatry of Saxony and Friesland once more forced its way across the Rhine. In this peril of Christian institutions, a youthful prince of Germanic race, Karl Martell, arose as their champion, maintained them with all the energy which the necessity for self-defence calls forth, and finally extended them into new regions.[42]

The great german military historian Hans Delbruck said of this battle "there was no more important battle in the history of the world." (The Barbarian Invasions, page 441.)
Had Martel failed, Henry Hallam argued, there would have been no Charlemagne, no Holy Roman Empire or Papal States; all these depended upon Martel's containment of Islam from expanding into Europe while the Caliphate was unified and able to mount such a conquest.
Another great mid era historian, Thomas Arnold, ranked the victory of Charles Martel even higher than the victory of Arminius in its impact on all of modern history: "Charles Martel's victory at Tours was among those signal deliverances which have affected for centuries the happiness of mankind."[43]

Sir Charles Oman, in his History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages, concludes that

“at Poictiers the Franks fought as they had done two hundred years before at Casilinum, in one solid mass, without breaking rank or attempting to maneuver. Their victory was won by the purely defensive tactics of the infantry square; the fanatical Arabs, dashing against them time after time, were shattered to pieces, and at last fled under shelter of night. But there was no pursuit, for Charles had determined not to allow his men to stir a step from the line to chase the broken foe.” [I, 58]

John H. Haaren says in “Famous Men of the Middle Ages:”
”The battle of Tours, or Poitiers, as it should be called, is regarded as one of the decisive battles of the world. It decided that Christians, and not Moslems, should be the ruling power in Europe. Charles Martel is especially celebrated as the hero of this battle.”

John Bagnell Bury, writing at the beginning of the 20th century, said "The Battle of Tours… has often been represented as an event of the first magnitude for the world’s history, because after this, the penetration of Islam into Europe was finally brought to a standstill.”[44]
But, as will be seen below, today’s historians are very clearly divided on the importance of the Battle, and where it should rank in the signal moments of military history.

In Muslim history
Eastern historians, like their Western counterparts, have not always agreed on the importance of the Battle. According to Bernard Lewis, "The Arab historians, if they mention this engagement [the Battle of Tours] at all, present it as a minor skirmish,"[45] and Gustave von Grunebaum writes: "This setback may have been important from the European point of view, but for Muslims at the time, who saw no master plan imperilled thereby, it had no further significance."[46] Contemporary Arab and Muslim historians and chroniclers were much more interested in the second Umayyad siege of Constantinople in 718, which ended in a disastrous defeat.

However, Creasy has claimed: "The enduring importance of the battle of Tours in the eyes of the Moslems is attested not only by the expressions of 'the deadly battle' and 'the disgraceful overthrow' which their writers constantly employ when referring to it, but also by the fact that no more serious attempts at conquest beyond the Pyrenees were made by the Saracens."
Thirteenth-century Moroccan author Ibn Idhari al-Marrakushi, mentioned the battle in his history of the Maghrib, "al-Bayan al-Mughrib fi Akhbaral-Maghrib." According to Ibn Idhari, "Abd ar-Rahman and many of his men found martyrdom on the balat ash-Shuhada'i ("the path of the martyrs)." Antonio Santosuosso points out in his book Barbarians, Marauders and Infidels: The Ways of Medieval Warfare, on p. 126 "they (the Muslims) called the battle's location, the road between Poitiers and Tours, "the pavement of Martyrs." However, as Henry Coppée has explained, "The same name was given to the battle of Toulouse and is applied to many other fields on which the Moslemah were defeated: they were always martyrs for the faith" [47]

Khalid Yahya Blankinship has argued that the military defeat at Tours was amongst one of the failures that contributed to the decline of the Umayyad caliphate: "Stretching from Morocco to China, the Umayyad caliphate based its expansion and success on the doctrine of jihad--armed struggle to claim the whole earth for God's rule, a struggle that had brought much material success for a century but suddenly ground to a halt followed by the collapse of the ruling Umayyad dynasty in 750 CE. The End of the Jihad State demonstrates for the first time that the cause of this collapse came not just from internal conflict, as has been claimed, but from a number of external and concurrent factors that exceeded the caliphate's capacity to respond. These external factors began with crushing military defeats at Byzantium, Toulouse and Tours, which led to the Great Berber Revolt of 740 in Iberia and Northern Africa."

[edit] References
Bachrach, Bernard S (2001). Early Carolingian Warfare: Prelude to Empire. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3533-9
Barbero, Alessandro (2004). Charlemagne: Father of a Continent. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23943-1
Bede, Giles, John Allen, Stevens, John, Gurvey, Anna and Petrie, Henry (1847). The Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England. H. G. Bohn.
Bennett, Bradsbury, Devries, Dickie and Jestice, Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World
Coppée, Henry (1881/2002). History of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab Moors, With a Sketch of the Civilization Which They Achieved, and Imparted to Europe. Vol II. Gorgias Press. ISBN 1-931956-94-4
Cowley, Robert and Parker, Geoffrey (Eds.). (2001). The Reader's Companion to Military History. Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 0-618-12742-9
Creasy, Edward Shepherd (1851/2001). Decisive Battles of the World. Simon Publicatons. ISBN 1-931541-81-7
Davis, Paul K. (1999) "100 Decisive Battles From Ancient Times to the Present" ISBN 0-19-514366-3
Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-24913-1
Fouracre, Paul (2000). The Age of Charles Martel. Pearson Education. ISBN 0-582-06476-7
Grunebaum, Gustave von (2005). Classical Islam: A History, 600 A.D. to 1258 A.D. Aldine Transaction. ISBN 0-202-30767-0
Hanson, Victor Davis. Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power. Anchor Books, 2001. Published in the UK as Why the West has Won. Faber and Faber, 2001. ISBN 0-571-21640-4
Hitti, Philip Khuri (2002). History of Syria Including Lebanon and Palestine. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 1-931956-61-8
Lewis, Bernard (1994). Islam and the West. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509061-6
Mastnak, Tomaž (2002). Crusading Peace: Christendom, the Muslim World, and Western Political Order. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22635-6
Reagan, Geoffrey, The Guinness Book of Decisive Battles , Canopy Books, NY (1992) ISBN 1-55859-431-0
Riche, Paul (1993). The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1342-4
Roberts, J.M. (2003) The New History of the World Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-521927-9
Santosuosso, Anthony (2004). Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-9153-9
Schoenfeld, Edward J. (2001). Battle of Poitiers. In Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker (Eds.). (2001). The Reader's Companion to Military History (p. 366). Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 0-618-12742-9
Torrey, Charles Cutler (1922). The History of the Conquest of Egypt, North Africa and Spain: Known as the Futūh Miṣr of Ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥakam. Yale University Press.
Watson, William E., "The Battle of Tours-Poitiers Revisited", Providence: Studies in Western Civilization, 2 (1993)
Wolf, Kenneth Baxter (2000). Conquerors and Chroniclers of Early Medieval Spain. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-554-6
Poke, The Battle of Tours, from the book Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World From Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Creasy, MA
Edward Gibbon, The Battle of Tours, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Michael Grant, History of Rome
Richard Hooker, "Civil War and the Umayyads"
Arabs, Franks, and the Battle of Tours, 732: Three Accounts from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook
The Battle of Tours 732, from the "Jewish Virtual Library" website: A division of the American-Israeli Cooperative.
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Robert W. Martin, "The Battle of Tours is still felt today", from

[edit] External links
Ian Meadows, "The Arabs in Occitania": A sketch giving the context of the conflict from the Arab point of view.
Poke's edition of Creasy's 15 Most Important Battles Ever Fought ACCORDING TO EDWARD SHEPHERD CREASY Chapter VII. THE BATTLE OF TOURS, A.D. 732.
Cassius Dio: Roman History
Medieval Sourcebook: Arabs, Franks, and the Battle of Tours, 732: Three Accounts
Medieval Sourcebook: Anon Arab Chronicler: The Battle of Poitiers, 732
History of Europe: The Battle of Tours