Chronicle of the Tocco

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The Chronicle of the Tocco is a chronicle in fifteen-syllable blank verse written in medieval Greek. It covers the period of 1375-1425 and focuses on the ascent of the Tocco family, and especially Carlo I Tocco, Count palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos, to the rule over the Despotate of Epirus, as well as Carlo's conquest of territories in the Morea.

The author, who remains unknown, described events that occurred during his own lifetime and must have been present in some of them. He possibly belonged to the court of Carlo I Tocco and came from Ioannina. From the text we can deduce that he was not particularly educated since he was using simple language.

The author describes the Toccos as fair governors, who care for the rights of their people. It is remarkable, that he does not mention the Latin descent of the noble family. He appears to cultivate a sense of early Greek nationalism and to hate the Albanians.

The Chronicle was published for the first time in 1975 by Giuseppe Schirò (Cronaca dei Tocco di Cefalonia; prolegomeni, testo critico e traduzione, Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 10. Rome: Accademia nazionale dei Lincei, 1975). It comprises 3923 verses and was found in the codex Vaticanus Graecus 1831. The beginning and the end of the text is missing. This codex was written before June 1429, possibly from the author, as G. Schirò believed. There is also a 16th-century copy of it, codex Vatic. gr. 2214. Elisabeth Zachariadou proved that the first pages of the codex were placed in a wrong order and suggested a different order for the first 1,000 verses, which makes the text more coherent and easier to understand.[1]

The Chronicle, despite its unimportant literary quality, has significant value as an historical source, as well as a linguistic source for the language of that era.


  1. ^ E. Zachariadou, "The first thousand verses in the beginning of the Chronicle of the Tocco (Ε. Ζαχαριάδου, «Οι χίλιοι στίχοι στην αρχή του Χρονικού των Τόκκων»), Ipirotika Chronika (Ηπειρωτικά Χρονικά) 15 (1983) 158-181 (in Greek)


  • Hans-Georg Beck, Ιστορία της Βυζαντινής δημώδους λογοτεχνίας [History of the Byzantine vernacular literature], translated by Nike Eideneier, Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ., Athens 1988. (in Greek)
  • G. Schirò, Το Χρονικό των Τόκκων. Τα Ιωάννινα κατά τας αρχάς του ΙΕ αιώνος [The Chronicle of the Tocco. Ioannina at the beginning of the 15th century], Etaireia Ipirotikon Meleton, Ioannina 1965 (in Greek)