Son of James I of Aragon, Peter III was King of Aragon from 1276-1285. Having married Constance, daughter of Manfred, he came forward as the representative of the claims of the Hohenstaufen in Naples and Sicily against Charles, Duke of Anjou. During the rebellion of the Sicilian Vespers (1282), he fought vigorously, reconquering the Sicilian kingdom from the French, and was thereby proclaimed king in 1282. Angevin efforts to regain the kingdom were futile, and Peter ruled Sicily until his death in 1285, leaving the throne to his sons, James II and Frederick III.
Dante speaks highly of Peter, placing him in Ante-Purgatory, stating that "d'ogni valor portÚ cinta la corda" (Purg VII.114). The Florentine chronicler Villani affirms that Peter was of excellent character, courageous and wise, a great warrior, and feared by both Christians and Saracens, "like no other king of his time" (Nuova cronica VIII.103). In Decameron II.6, Peter is depicted positively from the Ghibelline point of view of Currado II during the Sicilian Vespers; in X.7, Peter is portrayed as the subject of the passion of a young patrician woman.
(R.P./N.S.) Palumbo, Pietro. s.v. Pietro d'Aragona. Vol. 4. Enciclopedia dantesca, 5 vols. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 1970-78. p. 505-506; Toynbee, P. Dictionary of Proper Names and Notable Matters in the Works of Dante. Oxford: Clarendon, 1968. pp. 433-434.