Battle of Tours

Sunday, October 10, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

1268 years ago today, a  Frankish and Burgundian army under Charles Martel “the Hammer”, Mayor of the the Palace of Austrasia, defeated and turned back an Islamic army from Spain.  The battle was decisive in that it stemmed the tide of Islamic conquest in the West that had conquered virtually all of Spain in less than a decade.  Tours demonstrated that if the rest of Europe was to be conquered, it would take unending war against Christians who would never stop fighting against the followers of the prophet.  Europe would remain under siege from Islam for almost a thousand years, but Charles Martel and his men had scored the first decisive Christian victory in the long war which would ultimately turn back the first Islamic attempt to conquer Europe.


The Death of Wolfe

Sunday, October 10, 2010 \AM\.\Sun\.

The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West is a painting which has always fascinated me.  Wolfe’s victory at the Plains of Abraham in 1759 sealed the doom of New France and also the doom ultimately of British rule in the 13 colonies.  Freed from the menace of their ancestral enemy, the colonists were also free to rethink the ties that bound them to the British crown.  West’s painting captures a pivotal moment in American history.  Not only is Wolfe dying, but an old order in America, not only for France but also for Great Britain, is mortally stricken.  American independence would have appalled James Wolfe, who had little love for Americans, but it is given to none of us to know the impact of our lives after our deaths.  Wolfe of course had a death of legend during the battle, as the great historian of the struggle between New France and the British, Francis Parkman details: Read the rest of this entry »