Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 October 2013
This article will examine the nature of the military operations conducted by the armies of the duke of Cephalonia, Carlo I Tocco (c. 1375–1429). The Toccos were originally from Benevento and served the Angevin rulers of Sicily for many years. In 1330/31 Carlo's grandfather, Guglielmo, was appointed captain of Corfu. In 1357, Carlo's father, also Guglielmo, was appointed by Robert of Taranto count of Cephalonia and Zakynthos and soon added Vonitsa (Bonditsa) and Leukas to his domains. Guglielmo Tocco died in 1375/76 while his sons, Carlo and Leonardo were still infants. Their mother, Maddalena Buondelmonti, who was acting as their regent, had their titles confirmed by Queen Joanna of Naples. When he took over the reins of his principality, Carlo I Tocco exploited the extreme political fragmentation, which ensued after the collapse of the Serbian empire of Stefan Dušan (1331–55) and the dramatic territorial reduction of the Byzantine empire, to expand his principality in Western Greece, in Albania and in the Peloponnese. His military exploits are the subject of an anonymous chronicle known as the Chronicle of the Toccos which covers the period 1375–1422 and its compilation was completed in 1429. It is likely that this anonymous work was commissioned by Carlo I Tocco himself. Nevertheless, in spite of being a work of propaganda, the chronicle of the family of the Toccos is an excellent source of material on the warfare between the small political entities that were established in Western Greece and Albania in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.