Battle of Nîmes

Battle of Nîmes

The Battle of Nîmes took place shortly after the capture and destruction of Avignon in 737. Charles Martel failed to capture the Umayyad city of Narbonne but devastated most of the other principal settlements of Septimania, including Nîmes, Agde, Béziers and Maguelonne, which he viewed as potential strongholds of the Saracens. [Riche, Pierre (1993). "The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe". University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0812213424, p. 45.]

Following the battle Martel ordered the burning of the city gates of Nîmes and of the Roman amphitheatre, which had been turned into a fortress by the Visigoths. [Bomgardner, David L. (2000). "The Story of the Roman Amphitheatre". London: Routledge. ISBN 0203187989, p. 119.]

Charles probably could have taken Narbonne had he been willing to commit his army and full resources for an indefinite siege, but he was not willing to do so. He had accomplished his primary goals by destroying the Arab armies. The Arabs were temporarily contained to the city of Narbonne, though a second expedition was needed later that year to regain control of Provence after Arab forces returned. According to Paul the Deacon's "Historia gentis Langobardorum" the Arabs retreated when they learned that Martel had formed an alliance with the Lombards. [Fouracre, Paul (2000). "The Age of Charles Martel". Pearson Education. ISBN 0582064767, p. 97.] Martel's remaining years - he had only four to live - were spent setting up and strengthening the administrative structure that became the Carolingian Empire, and the feudal state that would persist through the Dark Ages. His son would return in 759 and finish his father's work by taking Narbonne and driving the Emirate of Cordova back over the Pyrenees.


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