Public Women

Prostitute Entrepreneurs in Valletta, 1630-1798



This book draws fascinating portraits of some public women in their cultural, religious, social, and economic worlds. The realities of the lives of women like Catherina Mifsud an in-migrant, Battistina Sammut who married a miserly man, Ursula Gatt a battered wife, Rosa D’Arena who was a multi-tasking woman, Maria Fioccari a beautiful, indulgent woman and others , reveal the will-power to battle with life’s struggles and succeed, a propensity to be in control, the determination to support women in need and a compelling urge to invest in churches, monasteries and confraternities in Valletta and the three cities. The prostitute in Public Women is a female symbol of active cross-bearing, courage, charity, resilience, ambition, risk-taking and business acumen. This is a history from below of the lives, times and vicissitudes of some early modern women in Valletta who were prostitutes and whose life stories demonstrates that they were entrepreneurial women of substance.


Additional information

Weight 1350 g
Dimensions 24 × 17 cm
Year of publication
Pages 544
ISBN 9789995799533

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