Leonardo III Tocco
Leonardo III Tocco was the last ruler of Epirus, from 1448 to 1479.
Leonardo III Tocco was the son of Carlo II Tocco (count of Cephalonia and Zante, duke of Leukas, and ruler of Epirus) and Ramondina of Ventimiglia. On his father's death in October 1448, Leonardo succeeded as a minor to all his titles and possessions. He reigned as ruler of Epirus from Arta until March 24, 1449, when the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks.
His mainland possessions reduced to three fortresses, Leonardo established himself in Angelokastron. In 1460, this city was also lost to the Turks, leaving only Vonitsa in the possession of Leonardo, who moved to his islands. A new Turkish advance in 1479 captured Vonitsa and then Cephalonia, Leukas, and Zante later the same year. Deprived of both Epirus and the Ionian Islands, Leonardo fled to the Kingdom of Naples, where he was invested with several fiefs by Ferdinand I of Naples. He died in c. 1499.
Marriages and children
On 1 May 1463, Leonardo married his first wife Milica of Serbia. She was a daughter of Lazar Branković and Helena Palaiologina. Milica died in childbirth in 1464. Their only son was Carlo III Tocco (1464–1518). He succeeded his father as titular ruler of Epirus (Arta) and Zakynthos.
In 1477, Leonardo married his second wife Francesca Marzano, an illegitimate granddaughter of King Alfonso of Naples. According to William Miller, Leonardo believed the Republic of Venice would not extend their protection to his realm, and his second marriage was an effort to form family ties with the ruling house of the Kingdom of Naples and secure their support. However, Venice had no desire to see Neapolitan influence return to the Ionian Islands, and this marriage only alienated that power further. So when the Ottomans found an excuse to invade his realm, Leonardo offered no resistance and instead fled with his valuables, his wife, and his three sons for Taranto, and then to Naples. By Francesca Marzano, Leonardo III Tocco had five children. Their order of birth is unknown: Hippolyta Tocco, Leonora Tocco (a nun), Maria Tocco (who married Pietro Talamanca), Pietro Tocco (considered to have died young) and Ramondina Tocco (who married Federigo Pico della Mirandola).
Leonardo also had an illegitimate son, Ferrante Tocco (d. 1535). According to Miller, Ferrante served as Spanish ambassador to the court of Henry VII of England in 1506. Benet Tocco, a son of Ferrante, became Bishop of Girona from 1572 to 1583. Benet also served as Bishop of Lleida from 1583 to his death in 1585.
- Miller, (1908), p. 416
- Miller, (1908), p. 458
- Miller, (1908), pp. 485-489
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of Milica, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved July 2012
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of Helena, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved July 2012
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of Leonardo III, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved July 2012
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of the Arianiti family, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved July 2012
- Miller, (1908), pp. 485f
- Miller, (1908), p. 488
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- Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6
- Miller, William (1908), The Latins in the Levant, a History of Frankish Greece (1204–1566), New York: E.P. Dutton and Company
- Nicol, Donald MacGillivray (2010), The Despotate of Epiros 1267–1479: A Contribution to the History of Greece in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-13089-9
- Soulis, George Christos (1984), The Serbs and Byzantium during the reign of Tsar Stephen Dušan (1331–1355) and his successors, Dumbarton Oaks, ISBN 0-88402-137-8
|Ruler of Epirus