A Tale of Two Kings: The Use of King David in the Chronicle of Pere III of Catalonia
Pere III of Catalonia (1319-1387) began his reign in 1336. As count-king, he reigned over Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. The Chronicle of Pere III of Catalonia covers the years 1319-1369, fifty years of a nearly seventy year life. Pere wrote this chronicle in collaboration with his chancery office. Bernat Descoll was the main contributor from the chancery, and he consulted with the king as he wrote it. The chronicle reflects spiritual justifications for actions that occurred during Pere's reign, such as his conflict with the Uniòns of Aragon and Valencia, as well as his conflict with Pedro I of Castile. In the prologue to the chronicle, Pere compares both himself and Catalonia to several events in the reign of King David of Israel. References to Biblical kings are not featured in the rest of the chronicle; however, there are many general spiritual references to God. It is my contention that Pere chose to emulate David because David was a highly respected Biblical king, as well as the fact that David's history as a warrior could be used to spiritually justify the military actions of Pere. I will seek to prove this by reviewing ancient and medieval interpretations of David's reign, and by analyzing both the representations of David in the prologue and Pere's religious references in the main text of the chronicle. This study shows that Pere used the idea of King David in an aberrant way to serve his own purposes. Prior to Pere's usage, David typically served as an example of a humble, righteous, servant king in political and theological works, not the righteous warrior king that Pere co-opts to justify his reign.
0581: Medieval history