The Art of Fortress Building

In hospitaller Malta


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The Art of Fortress Building in Hospitaller Malta is a study that seeks too examine the manner in wich the Knights of the Order of St John and their military engineers went about designing, building, reparing, and arming their defensive works throughout the 268 years of their rule over the Maltese islands. This book seeks to provide an insight into the engineering, architectural, and organizational aspects of fortification projects within the Maltese and Hospitaller contexts, examiningg the nature of the local building materials, tools, and techniques, the minutiae of design and construction, the execution of works, and the type of technical and administrative problems that military engineers tad to contend with the implementation of fortress schemes. The study follows the construction of a complex work of fortification through its many stages, from the moment it was conceived during the deliberations of the Order’s Council down to the finishing of its barrack fixtures and its provisioning with weapons and munitions. It also looks at the organization of the workforc and the  fortification atelier, and examines the roles of military engineers, commissioners, surveyors, draughtsmen, master-masons, and the many skilled craftsmen and labourers employed a fortress construction site.

A crucial aspect of this research work has been the effort to see how the knights themselves recorded such activities and then goes on to correlate the information culled from the archival documentation to the physical evidence itself, wherever this still exists. This study draws heavily on the rich archieves of the Order of St John – engineers’ and commissioners’ reports, architectural plans, building contracts and ‘appalti’, minutes of the meetings of the Order’s Council and the Congregation of War and Fortification, testimonials, notarial deeds, and numerous ‘supplishi’ by master-masons and skilled craftsmen. The text is complemented by hundreds of illustrations, photographs, plans, sketches, and many graphic reconstructions drawn by the author specifically for this publication.

Additional information

Weight 1880.0000 g
Dimensions 24.8 × 17.8 cm
Pages 597
ISBN 978-99957-200-6-3
Year of publication
Note front cover is slightly damaged

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