Peter of Cantabria


Peter of Cantabria

Peter or Pedro (d. 730) was the duke of Cantabria. While various writers have attempted to name his parentage, (for example, making him son or brother of King Erwig), early sources say nothing more specific than the chronicle of 'Pseudo-Alfonso': that he was "ex semine Leuvigildi et Reccaredi progenitus" (descended from the bloodline of Liuvigild and Reccared I). He was the father of King Alfonso I and of Fruela, father of Kings Aurelius and Bermudo I.

According to the Moslem chroniclers, in the year 714, Musa ibn Nusair sacked Amaya, capital of Cantabria, for the second time. Peter, the provincial "dux", led his people into refuge in the mountains and then joined with Pelayo of Asturias against the invaders. After the Battle of Covadonga, in which Pelayo defeated an invading force, it seems likely that Peter sent his son to the court of Pelayo at Cangas de Onís. It had been a Visigothic practice to send noble children to the royal court, this was thus a tacit admission of Pelayo's regality. According to the "Crónica Albeldense", the territories of the two leaders were united by marriage between Peter's son Alfonso and Pelayo's daughter Ermesinda:

:"Adefonsus, Pelagi gener, reg. an. XVIIII. Iste Petri Cantabriae ducis filius fuit; et dum Asturias venir Ermesindam Pelagii filiam Pelagio proecipiente, accepit".

Alfonso later succeeded to the Asturian throne and was the first to use the title of king. While Iberian Muslim scholars would call his descendants the Beni Alfons ( _ar. بن إذفنش ("Beni Iḍfunš")) after his son, some modern authors refer to the family as the Pérez Dynasty for Peter.


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