The Summer Issue of Treasures of Malta commemorates the 450th Anniversary of the Great Siege


The summer issue of Treasures of Malta is dedicated exclusively to new research and discoveries connected with the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.

Exactly 450 years ago Malta was in the throes of a lethal siege, its chances of survival meagre indeed. The Ottoman Turks and their allies from North Africa were determined to put an end to the defiance by the Order of St John of their hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean. They had had enough of the Knights’ constant provocation, their defiant attacks on the merchant shipping lines of the Ottomans and their trading partners, of the relentless war of attrition carried on by the impertinent little mouse against the lion. Suleyman the Magnificent would teach a lesson to the insolent Order of Malta which it would not live to recount to others. How that attack eventually panned out is another matter altogether.

Treasures of Malta is joining the national celebrations to commemorate the Siege by embarking on something it had never done before. It dedicates the summer issue, a bumper one, to this exclusive theme: to new research and material relevant to the Great Siege of 1565. Its correspondents discover and discuss new Siege-related maps, fortifications, relics, music, armour, publications – even its usual conservation feature and its 'my favourite object' article this time hark back to the Siege. Most of what this issue contains the reader will not have come across elsewhere. That of Treasures will be a major brick in the wall of unashamedly celebratory national memory.

The Great Siege was, yes, mostly a battle between Ottomans and Knights, enemies fighting foreigners. But the battlefield was the land of Malta, and a victory for the Ottomans would have seen a Muslim foreigner replace a Christian foreigner. The Maltese then had little say in their destiny, but they fought, and bravely too, for the survival of the status quo. That they, and the Knights of St John, finally won, made sure that the continuance of the Christian ethos in southern Europe was reaffirmed.

This issue of Treasures updates a lot of what you thought you knew about the Great Siege.

ARTICLES

'Thieves of Time': A Tribute to Maurice de Giorgio (1924-2015)
Giovanni Bonello

A Recently Discovered Cartographic Delight: A study of a unique Venetian map of the Great Siege of Malta
William Soler brings to our attention a significant and hitherto unknown Siege map

Souvenirs of Ascanio della Corgna
Robert Dauber discusses this notorious character, who was the chief strategist and Field Marshall of the Gran Soccorso 

Sounds of war and the exotic alla turca
Anna Borg Cardona discusses the terrifying sound that would have accompanied the Turkish troops during the Great Siege, and its influence

The Great Siege Mosaic
Tony Rothman

Melitensia Curios
William Zammit

'Our Enemies are Gathered'
Alexander Vella Gregory

My Favourite Object
Martin Micallef

Melchor de Monserrat
Christopher Gerrard and Alejandra Gutierrez elaborate on one of the heroic figures of the Great Siege, the Monserrat family and the preceptory in Ambel, Spain

The Conservation of The Massacre of the Knights of Malta at Fort St Elmo in 1565, attributed to Bartolomeo Garagona

Is this Grand Master Jean de Valette's Armour?
Robert Attard examines the attributions and debates whether the pieces at the Palace Armoury in Valletta belong to the Grand Master

The Fortaleza of St Elmo
Stephen C. Spiteri discusses the architectural elements of Fort St Elmo, as well as the weaknesses that would contribute to its capture

The Cover
Giovanni Bonello

Cultural Calendar
Cecilia Xuereb

Diary of Events 


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