Milica Branković di Tocco

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Milica Branković di Tocco (Djurdjević Lazarević)

Death: 1464 (12-13)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Lazar Branković Đurđević and Helena Đurđević
Wife of Leonardo III di Tocco, duca di Leucade
Mother of Carlo III di Tocco, conte di Zante
Sister of Jelena Mara Branković Tomašević; Irina Branković Đurđević Lazarević and Jerina Scanderbeg Castreotti

Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Milica Branković di Tocco

The marriage between Leonardo III — the last member of the Tocco family who ruled the Heptanese (1448-1479) — and Milica Brankovic, the daughter of the Serbian Despot Lazar Brankovic and Helen Palaiologos, concluded in Dubrovnik on May 1 1463, is an intriguing issue: it was concluded under unusual circumstances, and its significance was variously presented by the couple's earlier and later contemporaries. An analysis of several historical sources (mainly those of documentary character, also some of a narrative nature) shows that, despite the bellitlement of its significance made by some of the pair's contemporaries, the marriage was generaly seen as a prospective alliance, designed not only to satisfy the existential needs of the couple, but also to enhance the interests of various important political factors of the time: Thomas Palaiologos, the authorities of Dubrovnik, the Roman Curia, and Cardinal Bessarion.

As widely known, the political prospectives opened by this marriage were not fully accomplished due to the short duration of this relationship (Milica died soon after the wedding). Yet this conjugal alliance proved useful for the Tocco party even after its conclusion. In the time following Leonardo's flight from the Ottomans to Naples (after 1479), he referred to the lineage with Milica as an alliance with the Byzantine imperial family, supposedly in order to achieve certain benefices from the Italian environment where he rapatriated.

In paralel to the analyisis of the sources about the motives and significance of the first marriage of the last Tocco despot, in this paper I also deal with several pro-sopographic and topographic details of regional importance, mentioned on the occasion of the Tocco-Brankovic wedding ceremony (e.g. Bishop of Bologna Blasius Constantii, Paliki, etc.).