1336, Spain, Aragon, Pedro IV. Beautiful Gold Florin (Ducat) Coin. 3.48gm!
Mint Place: Barcelona Mint Period: 1336-1387 References: Friedberg 1, Cayon 1996. R! Denomination: Florin (early Ducat type, named after Florence, and and first struck there) Condition: Crudely struck (as usual) on a smallish, but thick planchet, otherwise VF-XF! Diameter: 19mm Weight: 3.48gm Material: Gold
Obverse: Standing nimbate figure of John "the Baptist", holding cross-topped banner. Legend: + S IOHA - NNES . B . *
Reverse: Large fleur-du-lis (initially representing the arms of Florence, later present on all Florentine-type (florins) gold ducat types). Legend: + ARAG - O REX . P .
Peter IV, (Balaguer, 5 September 1319 – Barcelona, 6 January 1387), called el Cerimoniós ("the Ceremonious") or el del punyalet ("the one of the little dagger"), was the King of Aragon, King of Sardinia and Corsica (as Peter I), King of Valencia (as Peter II), and Count of Barcelona (and the rest of the Principality of Catalonia as Peter III) from 1336 until his death. He deposed James III of Majorca and made himself King of Majorca in 1344. His reign was occupied with attempts to strengthen the crown against the Union of Aragon and other such devices of the nobility, with their near constant revolts, and with foreign wars, in Sardinia, Sicily, the Mezzogiorno, Greece, and the Balearics. His wars in Greece made him Duke of Athens and Neopatria in 1381.
Peter was born at Balaguer, the eldest son and heir of Alfons IV, then Count of Urgell, and his first wife, Teresa d'Entença. Peter was designated to inherit all of his father's title save that of Urgell, which went to his younger brother James.
Upon succeeding his father he called a corts in Zaragoza for his coronation. He crowned himself, disappointing the Archbishop of Zaragoza and thus rejecting the surrender Peter II had made to the Papacy, in an otherwise traditional ceremony. According to his own later reports, this act caused him some "distress". He did, however, affirm the liberties and privileges of Aragon. Also while he was at Zaragoza an embassy from Castile had met him and asked that he promise to uphold the donations of land his father had made to his stepmother Eleanor, but he refused to give a clear answer as to the legitimacy of the donations.
After the festivities in Zaragoza, Peter began on his way to Valencia to receive coronation there. On route he stopped at Lleida to affirm the Usatges and Constitutions of Catalonia and receive the homage of his Catalan subjects. This offended Barcelona, at which the ceremony had usually been performed, and the citizens of that city complained to the king, who claimed that Lleida was on his way to Valencia. While in Valencia he decided on the case of his stepmother's inheritance, depriving her of income and outlawing her Castilian protector, Peter Ponce of León and Jérica. However, Jérica had enough supporters within Peter's domains that Peter was unable to maintain his position and in 1338, through papal mediation, Jérica was reconciled to the king and Eleanor received her land and jurisdictional rights. Peter was largely forced to capitulate by a new invasion from Morocco aimed at Castile and Valencia.
In 1338 he married Maria, second daughter of Philip III and Joan II of Navarre. In May 1339 he allied with Alfonso XI of Castile against Morocco, but his contribution of a fleet had no effect at the pivotal Battle of the Saulty River (October 1340).
By the Pact of Madrid, Peter was constrained to aid Alfons XI of Castile in his successful attack on Algeciras (1344) and his failed attempt on Gibraltar (1349) by defending against a Moroccan counterattack.
As Peter had no male issue, his brother Count Jaume of Urgell was the presumptive heir to the Aragonese throne. Peter grew to mistrust the intentions of Jaume over time. Peter decided that he would instead name his daughter Constança as his heir notwithstanding the precedents established by Jaume I and Alfons IV to exclude females from the throne. To this end, he demanded that Jaume cede his post as procurator general, a position which, by tradition, was reserved for the second in line to the Aragonese throne. Jaume fled to Zaragoza where he gained the favor of certain nobles who wished to reassert their powers vis a vis the monarch. Peter eventually succumbed to the pressure to hold a cortes in Zaragoza where he made numerous concessions of royal authority to quell a rebellion he was not yet in a position to crush. One of such concessions was to revoke his attempt to name Constanca as heir, and to restore Jaume as procurator general. To avert additional damage, Peter dissolved the corts on the premise that he had to address a crisis developing in Sardinia. Not long thereafter, while Peter was in Catalonia, Jaume suddenly died. Many suspected Peter of having arranged to have Jaume poisoned. Deprived of their leader, the Union of Aragon was greatly weakened.
Venturing next to Valencia, Peter encountered the nascent Valencian Union which had taken its cue from its counterpart in Aragon. At Murviedro (Sagunt), Peter was forced to name his stepbrother Ferran as the new procurator general. Additional concessions of royal authority were made to appease the Unionists. This time when he attempted to leave a bad situation, Peter was held under guard in Valencia as a prisoner of the Union. Suffering perhaps his greatest humility, he and his queen were forced to dance with the common folk to show his subservience. Ironically, his salvation was the Black Death. Valencia was felled by this plague in May 1348, enabling Peter to escape amid the confusion. Assembling an army of increasingly powerful royalists in Aragon, Peter attacked the unionist forces at the Battle of Epila on 21 July 1348. Peter won a complete victory. Proceeding to Saragossa, Peter executed only thirteen Union leaders. By fourteenth century standards, this was a great display of magnaminity. Not the same can be said for the fate of Valencia. After being persuaded not to burn the entire city and sow it with salt, many were executed. Of particular note, he had the bell that the Valencian Union rang to summon its meetings melted down. The molten metal from the bell was then poured down the throats of the Union leaders so that they "should taste its liquor."
In 1356, he engaged with Peter I of Castile in what was called the "War of the Two Peters". It ended in 1375 with the Treaty of Almazan, without a winner due to the Black Death and several natural disasters.
He conquered Sicily in 1377 but the possession was given to his son Martin.
Throughout his reign, Peter IV had frequent conflicts with the inquisitor general of Aragon, Nicolas Eymerich.
In 1349, James invaded Majorca, but was soundly defeated by Peter's troops at the Battle of Llucmajor, in which he died. After James' death, Peter allowed James IV, his successor, to retain his royal title on purely formal terms until his death in 1375. After that date, Peter assumed the titular. Majorca remained one of the component crowns of the Crown of Aragon until the Nova Planta decrees.
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