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The Coat of Arms of Tocchi family

In the Castle’s Acropolis, there is a coat of arms engraved on a well. It belonged to Carlo I Tocco (1372-1429), who was the count of Kefalonia and Despot of Epirus from 1416 AD until his death. At first, Leonardo Ι Tocco, whose house came from Benevento, Campania, took over the county of Kefalonia, which was a fief of the Principality of Achaia, from Robert of Taranto. Later on, his son Charlos expanded his authority against the Albanians by occupying Arta in 1411. Finally in 1416 he was awarded the title of Despot by the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologos.

This elaborate coat of arms includes in the right half side the two-headed eagle, emblem of the Byzantine Empire and the Palaeologus family, and its left side is divided into two parts. The coat of arms of Tocco is depicted from the middle and below, and above is the coat of arms of Robert, who was the sovereign of Carlos. This part attributes Robert’s double capacity, as prince of Achaia and as heir to the throne of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.

The coat of arms of Carlo I Tocco at the Castle of Arta is a rare and valuable material testimony for the feudal organization in Greece during the late Middle Ages but also of the presence of an Italian ruler in Arta.

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