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Denarius of Peter II, bearing his effigy
Another denarius (1196)

Peter II the Catholic (Huesca, 1178[1] – 12 September 1213) was the King of Aragon (as Pedro II) and Count of Barcelona (as Pere I) from 1196 to 1213.

He was the son of Alfonso II of Aragon and Sancha of Castile. In 1205 he acknowledged the feudal supremacy of the Papacy and was crowned in Rome by Pope Innocent III, swearing to defend the Catholic faith (hence his surname, "the Catholic"). He was the first king of Aragon to be crowned by the Pope.

In the first decade of the thirteenth century he commissioned the Liber feudorum Ceritaniae, an illustrated codex cartulary for the counties of Cerdagne, Conflent, and Roussillon.

On June 15, 1204 he married (as her third husband) Marie of Montpellier, daughter and heiress of William VIII of Montpellier by Eudocia Comnena. She gave him a son, James, but Peter soon discarded her. Marie was popularly venerated as a saint for her piety and marital suffering, but was never canonized; she died in Rome in 1213.

He participated in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 that marked the turning point of Arab domination on the Iberian peninsula.

Peter returned from Las Navas in autumn 1212 to find that Simon de Montfort had conquered Toulouse, exiling Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, who was Peter's brother-in-law and vassal. Peter crossed the Pyrenees and arrived at Muret in September 1213 to confront Montfort's army. He was accompanied by Raymond of Toulouse, who tried to persuade Peter to avoid battle and instead starve out Montfort's forces. This suggestion was rejected.

The Battle of Muret began on September 12, 1213. The Aragonese forces were disorganized and disintegrated under the assault of Montfort's squadrons. Peter himself was caught in the thick of fighting, and died as a result of a foolhardy act of bravado. He was thrown to the ground and killed. The Aragonese forces broke in panic when their king was slain and the crusaders of Montfort won the day.

Upon Peter's death the kingdom passed to his only son by Marie of Montpellier, the future James the Conqueror.

Ancestors

Peter's ancestors in three generations
Peter II of Aragon Father:
Alfonso II of Aragon
Paternal Grandfather:
Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Douce I of Provence
Paternal Grandmother:
Petronila of Aragon
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Ramiro II of Aragon
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Agnes of Aquitaine
Mother:
Sancha of Castile
Maternal Grandfather:
Alfonso VII of León and Castile
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Raymond of Burgundy
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Urraca of León and Castile
Maternal Grandmother:
Richeza of Poland
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Władysław II the Exile
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Agnes of Babenberg

References

  1. ^ Antonio Ubieto Arteta, Creación y desarrollo de la Corona de Aragón, Zaragoza, Anubar (Historia de Aragón), 1987, págs. 187-188. ISBN 84-7013-227-X.

Sources

  • Sumption, Jonathan. The Albigensian Crusade. 2000.
Preceded by
Alfonso II
King of Aragon,
Count of Barcelona

1196–1213
Succeeded by
James I
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PETER II., king of Aragon (1174-1213), son of Alphonso II. and his wife Sancia, daughter of Alphonso VIII. of Castile, was born in 1174. He had a very marked and curious personal character. As sovereign of lands on both sides of the Pyrenees, he was affected by very different influences. In his character of Spanish prince he was a crusader, and he took a distinguished part in the great victory over the Almohades at the Navas de Tolosa in 1212. But his lands to the north of the Pyrenees brought him into close relations with the Albigenses. He was a favourer of the troubadours, and in his ways of life he indulged in the laxity of Provençal morals to the fullest extent. We are told in the chronicle written by Desclot soon after his time, that Peter was only trapped into cohabiting with his wife by the device which is familiar to readers of Measure for Measure. In the year after the battle of the Navas de Tolosa he took up arms against the crusaders of Simon of Montfort, moved not by sympathy with the Albigenses, but by the natural political hostility of the southern princes to the conquering intervention of the north under pretence of religious zeal. His son records the way in which he spent the night before the battle of Muret with a crudity of language which defies translation, and tells us that his father was too exhausted in the morning to stand at Mass, and had to be lifted into the saddle by his squires. Peter none the less showed the greatest personal valour, and his body, recognizable by his lofty stature and personal beauty, was found on the field after the rout (Sept. 12, 1213).

See Chronicle of James I. of Aragon, translated by J. Forster (London, 1883); and Life and Times of James the First the Conqueror, by F. Darwin Swift (Oxford, 1894).


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