Excerpt from Charles the Great
Ere the long, slow agony which I have called the death of Rome was completed, the world was startled by that outbreak of fierce Semitic monotheism which is associated with the name of Mohammed. In 622, rather more than two centuries after Alaric's capture of Rome, Mohammed escaped from Mecca to Medina, and in this retreat of his the followers Of his faith in succeeding ages have rightly seen the beginning of his career of spiritual conquest, wherefore they date all their events from the midnight journey of a fugitive, even as the other great Oriental faith has taken for its landmark the birth of a little child in a stable. Before Mohammed's death in 632 the career of Saracen conquest had begun. Ere the close of the seventh century Syria, Persia, Egypt, North Africa, were torn from the empire of the Caesars and obeyed the rule Of the Caliph. In 711 Europe saw the first breach made in its defences when the great Iberian peninsula (all save a few mountain glens in the remote north) was conquered by the Moors, and Mecca took the place of Jerusalem or Rome as the spiritual centre of gravity for Spain. The turbaned invaders crossed the Pyrenees; in 725 they penetrated as far as Autun, only 150 miles from Paris. Though defeated by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charle magne, in the great battle Of Poitiers, the Moors remained encamped on the soil of that which we now call France. Narbonne was in their possession at the time of the birth of Charlemagne, and remained so during the years of his boyhood, till won back for Christendom by his father in 759.
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