Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bob on Tours - history podcast review

The most productive of all history podcasts is History according to Bob. Bob Packett is a college history professor, who uses his spare time to crank out straightforward podcast episodes on a daily basis. He touches on the widest variety of subjects imaginable, but does this as part of various programmatic lines he commits to. For example, he has embarked upon a series to tell the history of the Franks. After many episodes, he has reached the first big known climax: Charles Martel's victory at the battle of Tours.

Recently we have had another podcast, with David Levering Lewis, touching upon this subject. (review) This took a detached, if Muslim, perspective on the battle. Bob, of course, takes the Frankish, Christian perspective of Charles Martel. He dedicated two podcasts to Charles Martel personally and one to the Battle of Tours. The latter, was actually an older podcast he had done many months ago, Bob has reissued. On a side note: we can see how Bob has developed over time.

Bob makes a very meticulous report of the Battle of Tours (732 AD). He sets the stage; showing the Arab advance into Europe, explaining the importance of Tours (holy site) and constructing the position of Martel. Martel was a lot stronger than the Arabs assumed. Martel was a good strategist and he had battle-hardened troops at his disposal. He also managed to rally the Church and through the Church the people to his personal cause. The Ummayyad cavalry was maneuvered in an unfavorable position, but decided to attack anyway. Martel's troops maintained formation and the Arab's were the first to break discipline, thus taking the loss. Ultimately Bob also analyzes the importance and effects of the victory (interestingly, not incoherent with David Levering Lewis) and as usual gives his sources.

Relevant posts:
Islam and Europe,
Making of the Modern World - UCSD,
Islam meets Europe,
The Franks,
Thinking Outside the European Box.

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