The International Institute for Baroque Studies at the University of Malta published this book authored by Fleur Brincat, an MA in Baroque Studies graduate of the Institute, entitled Bali de Tigne: Knight of Malta, Commissioner of Fortifications and Military Engineer. In the words of Dr Stephen Spiteri who edited this work, Ms Brincat’s dissertation merited publication since it is the first in-depth study of the life and the contribution of a prominent French military engineer who served the Hospitaller Order of Malta, namely the Balì François René Jacob de Tigné – here described as a competent, experienced, and dedicated military engineer, unflinching in his loyalty to the Order.
Although this new book revolves primarily around the life and achievements of the Bali, it also incorporates an expanded study of the uncle of the Bali, the Brigadier René Jacob de Tigné who had been personally sent by Louis XIV to head the military mission to Malta in 1715. This Jacob de Tigné was the architect of the definitive master scheme for the defence of the realm of the prestigious Order of Malta entitled Plan des Villes, Chateaux et autres Etablissements de l’Ordre de S. Jean de Hierusalem dans l’Isle de Malte. Dr Spiteri explains that Ms Brincat’s study, which was supervised by the director of the Institute, Professor Denis De Lucca, devotes a substantial part of itself to tracing the achievements and contribution of Louis XIV’s illustrious military engineer, building on previous research and publications on French military engineers in Malta in the Baroque age by Professor De Lucca. In this context, it is shown that the illustrious military and political career of the Brigadier’s nephew, the Balì de Tigné, a trained military engineer but also an outstanding personality within the political hierarchy and government of the Order, owed much to his familial connection with his renowned predecessor and kinsman which is meticulously traced in the genealogical table presented on pages 106-107.
This new publication of the International Institute for Baroque Studies also reveals that together, the two above-mentioned distinguished members of the Jacob de Tigné family exercised an important influence on the development of the Maltese fortified landscape and its military architecture, and on the later history of the Order of Malta, before Napoleon’s arrival. Based on research that was carried out by the author in the Jacob de Tigné family archive in France, this book offers new insights on the involvement of French military engineers in the building of fortress Malta in the Baroque age.