Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Europe saved from Muslim conquest, 1,280 years ago today

Charles Martel is also credited as a
protector and patron of St. Boniface,
the "apostle to the Germans."
Today is the 1,280th anniversary of the Battle of Tours, the epic battle that turned the tide of Muslim conquest in Europe.

Imagine the world 1,300 years ago: United by their new religion, Islam, Arabs set out to conquer the world. In short order, the Holy Land, the birthplace of Christianity, fell before them, as did Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. Christian North Africa -- home of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, for example -- was swallowed whole, and the Arabs were not yet done. Throwing their armies across the Straits of Gibraltar, the Umayyads conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula and marched into the Pyrenees.

The Christian world was not then what it would become. Basically, Christianity had not traveled much beyond the historic boundaries of the Roman Empire -- meaning most of Germany, all of Scandinavia and Russia, and all of Eastern Europe north of the Balkans, were, in 732, for the most part, still cheerfully pagan.

In other words, the Arab-Muslim armies had already conquered the biggest and richest parts of the Christian world.

Without Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, would all of Christendom have fallen?

There are some historians who claim that the Battle of Tours was merely a raid on a wealthy monastery, but they are in the minority. And the fact is that Charles Martel's grandson would be Charleamagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor.

But, you may be saying, world-changing battles are not the sort of thing to celebrate in the tavern after work. Is there a fallback plan for today?

Well, yes.

Today is Emergency Nurses Day, the highpoint of Emergency Nurses Week. (Yes, we celebrated nurses in general back in May, but this celebration focuses specifically on nurses who work in the nation's emergency rooms.)

Your next encounter with an ER nurse may not be world-changing, like the Battle of Tours, but it may save your life.

Today is also World Mental Health Day, a United Nations World Health Organization observance that "promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is 'Depression: A Global Crisis'."

(We agree. But we thought most people were still referring to the global crisis as merely a Recession.)

You can also celebrate National Cake Decorating Day or National Angel Food Cake Day today, but why do you need to with all this other stuff to think about?

1 comment:

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