THE ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS HOSPITALLERS OF ST JOHN was founded in Jerusalem in 1099. Forced to leave the Holy Land after the fall of Acre in 1291, they first settled in Cyprus then Rhodes, from where they capitulated in 1522 to Suleiman the Magnificent after a six-month siege. The Order was granted the islands of Malta and Gozo by Charles V in 1530. This book traces their history in Malta through the biographies of the grand masters from their arrival in Malta till their departure in 1798.
THESE BIOGRAGHIES are based on the works of Abbé de Vertot Histoire des Chevaliers Hospitaliers De S. Jean de Jerusalem published for the first time in Paris in 1726. It was later translated into English and published in London in 1728.
COMMISSIONED BY THE ORDER, Vertot’s history remained the standard work for two centuries. The Abbé’s “talent as a historian was more of a literary than of a critical character” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907), which perhaps was fitting for the telling of a tale of such legendary scope and scale.
THE VOLUMES WERE ALSO ILLUSTRATED with maps and portraits of the grand masters engraved by the best artists in France, from the original paintings, under the supervision of Mons. Bologne, Director of the Royal Academy of Painting.
THE BIOGRAPHIES OF THE GRAND MASTERS of Malta in this book have been edited and revised by Maroma Camilleri.