Muslim funerals – in France

We have spent some time looking at the Muslim presence in western Europe during the early medieval era, including a survey of the age, a review of Martel’s campaign in 727, as well as the ever-popular Battle of Poitiers. There are plenty of primary and secondary sources available for anyone who wants to know more. One point worth noting is that our information is almost exclusively textual, as the archaeological evidence is practically non-existent. Until now.

Excavations carried out in 2006 by the French rescue archaeology company INRAP1.Last seen excavating a well packed with bodies. in the city of Nimes revealed three Muslim burials. Recently eight of the investigators released a multi-disciplinary study in the journal PlosOne that opens a fresh chapter on the study of eighth century Muslims in France.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Last seen excavating a well packed with bodies.

The Most Famous Battle of the Eighth Century

Let’s look at the most famous battle of the eighth century, and one of the most famous in world history, the Battle of Tours.

First we have to figure out what to call it. Battles are usually named for a location, but the archaeologists have yet to pinpoint the exact location of this battle. It was fought somewhere between the towns of Poitiers and Tours, and so you’ll see it called either one of those. There was another Battle of Poitiers fought during the Hundred Years War, which is one reason why more people refer to the Battle of Tours, to avoid confusion.

The battle was fought in 732 between Charles Martel, father of Pepin and grandfather of Charlemagne, and the Arab ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi of the Umayyad dynasty. The result was a sharp defeat for the Arabs, who withdrew to their kingdoms south of the Pyrenees and along the Mediterranean. Let’s set the stage:

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