Today (maybe) in European history: the Battle of Tours (probably 732)

Let’s get the big problem out in the open right up front: while October 10, 732, is the most widely accepted date for the Battle of Tours (Poitiers)—fought between an army of the Umayyad Caliphate and a European coalition under the command of Frankish majordomo Charles Martel (d. 741)—there are a lot of reasons to think that it isn’t the correct date. Christian sources, for example, tend to have the battle taking place on a Saturday, but in 732 October 10 fell on a Friday. Islamic sources have the battle taking place during Ramadan, but in 732 October 10 fell, as far as I can tell, in the month of Shaʿban on the Islamic calendar. So there’s reason to think the battle took place on another day, or maybe even in another year. Apart from calendar inconsistencies, the commander of the caliphal army at Tours (who was killed in the battle, in fact) is identified as having been the governor of al-Andalus, Abdul Rahman al-Ghafiqi. But it doesn’t seem from the sources that he’d been appointed to that job yet as of October 732, which has led some historians to argue that the battle actually took place in 733.

Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges!

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