A decisive battle to decide the fate of Western civilization

  The French medieval heroic epic “The Song of Roland” describes the first expedition of Charlemagne to Spain in 778. The epic depicts an episode of the struggle between Christianity and Islam with graceful and rich brushwork. However, this is only a small incident after all, and the struggle between the two religions neither started nor ended here. Going back through history, of all the important struggles between Christians and Muslims, the Battle of Poitiers between the Franks and the Arabs in 732 was one of the first events to have a major impact on Eastern and Western civilizations.
  Poitiers in southwestern France is located on the main road to Paris. The importance of its location makes it one of the ancient battlefields of Europe. Of the many battles that took place here, the most important was the Battle of Poitiers, which stopped the Arab expansion. It not only thwarted the continued northward expansion of the Arabs, but also defended the independence of the Frankish kingdom.
  In the 7th century AD, with the rise of Islam, the Arab states united by loose tribes were established and embarked on a path of expansion. By the beginning of the 8th century, the Arabs had crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, occupied Spain, and were aggressively attacking Gaul. As invaders, they burned, looted, and ravaged the countryside, so they were derogated by the local residents who suffered greatly as the Moors. After defeating the Count of Aquitaine, the Moors continued northward along the Roman road to enter Paris. In the face of the invincible attack of the Moors, Charles Matt, the minister of the Frankish kingdom at this time, was ordered to lead well-equipped infantry and heavy cavalry to fight. When the two armies took up positions near the Loire, he first sent a cavalry around the opponent’s rear to cut off the enemy’s food supply. After the battle started, the Moors learned that the rear was robbed and the army was in chaos, and they no longer wanted to fight. Its commander, Abdul Rahman, tried his best to suppress the unrest and ordered soldiers to return to the battlefield, but to no avail. He had to retreat with his army. By the time they retreated to Poitiers, which had not yet been captured, the Frankish army had caught up. So the Moors decided to fight the Franks here.
  The main force of the Arab army is the cavalry, which wins with its speed. In the offense, the tactic it used in the past was that large-scale cavalry quickly rushed to the enemy camp, and gave heavy blows by disrupting and dispersing the enemy camp. The Frankish army consisted of infantry and cavalry. When Charlie Matt pursued the Moors to Poitiers, he chose to garrison the hillside in order to observe the enemy’s situation. In order to defeat the Moorish attack, he deployed his army as follows: the outermost was composed of infantry with spears, the middle was a solid line of defense with a huge square shield, and the innermost was a ballista phalanx. This arrangement later proved to be an excellent way to stop the Moorish cavalry. When the Moorish cavalry attacked on a large scale, the intensive ballista shooting could effectively destroy the cavalry formation and cause a certain degree of casualties. Even overcoming the ballista bombardment, the cavalry that came to the front of the Frankish army was attacked by the spears of the infantry. Some even crashed their horses into spears and died tragically. And the cavalry who escaped the spears had difficulty crossing the square shield formation in the end. Most of the Moorish machete cavalry were killed and wounded before they could get close to the enemy, and the result of the attack can be imagined. After thwarting the Moors’ attack, the Franks switched from defense to attack, dispatched heavy cavalry, and rushed towards the Moors in a wedge-shaped formation. As a result, the Moors without protective armor were defeated without any resistance or resistance. When the Franks attacked the Moorish camp, they found their commander-in-chief Abd al-Rahman dead. The leaderless Moors retreated across the board and retreated to Spain.
  The Battle of Poitiers is of extraordinary significance to the development of Eastern and Western civilizations. For the Arab world, the end of the campaign also heralded a halt to its imperial expansion to the West. By the middle of the 8th century, the huge empire established in the Arab world stretched from Congling in Asia in the east, bordering the Tang Dynasty in its heyday, Spain in Europe in the west, adjacent to the Frankish Kingdom, the Caucasus Mountains in the north, North Africa in the south, and across Asia. , Africa and Europe. For the Frankish kingdom, this battle not only consolidated the dominance of Charlemagne in the Merovingian dynasty, but also provided a stable external environment for the development and expansion of the kingdom. It is worth mentioning that its descendants established the Carolingian Dynasty and the Charlemagne Empire. During the reign of Charlemagne, the Carolingian Renaissance emerged in the Frankish kingdom.
  However, from a certain perspective, the battle has special significance for the development of Western civilization. Since the expansion of the Arab empire was accompanied by the spread of Islam, if the Franks lost the battle, they would not be able to escape the fate of being assimilated by Islam. In less than 300 years since King Clovis converted to orthodox Christianity, the Franks may have to face the choice of accepting the Islamic belief, and the Charlemagne Empire will not appear more than 50 years later, more than 300 years later. The subsequent Crusades will not be staged, nor will the grievances and entanglements between the two major religions become the main theme of the struggle between the East and the West for a thousand years. Of course, history cannot be assumed. The result was that the Franks won, and after several generations of management, they finally established the first feudal empire in the Western world, the Charlemagne Empire. Christianity also spread with the growing power of the empire. The Frankish kingdom in the early Middle Ages saved the declining Western Christian civilization from the fate of the Persian civilization. It carried forward the fire of Christian civilization and played an important role in the inheritance and development of Western civilization. The victory of the Battle of Poitiers is the premise and foundation of all these achievements.
  The Battle of Poitiers made 732 AD an important point in history. When we stand here reviewing the wind and rain of the past life and looking forward to the dust and smoke of the future life, we can’t help feeling that whose merits and demerits can turn things around. Since then, the surviving Christian civilization has gradually grown, and eventually became the name of Western civilization. It rivals the Islamic world, and it has gone through the millennium and has continued to this day.