Long time no see everyone,
Back in September (I know that’s like a whole two months ago now nearly), me and my boyfriend went on holiday to Malta. We did lots of touristy type things and heard a lot about the history of Malta. However, we heard snippets and the history would always vary ever so slightly so we never got a consistent view of the past of Malta.
So in the airport when we were leaving, I picked up a couple of books to educate myself. Now I know, and my readers of my blog will also know, that non-fiction is not really my category of choice. But I was genuinely interested in the history of Malta and so this was the first book I picked up and read.
The first thing I remarked to my boyfriend about when learning about the history of Malta through tourist attractions is that poor Malta always seemed to be ruled by someone other than themselves. Reading A Brief History of Malta made me realise that for thousands an thousands of years that people have lived on the islands of Malta, they have been ruled by others. They’ve never been in charge of their own destinies; their own fates.
A Brief History of Malta is exactly that, a concise overview through various points of history including the mega builders and Templar’s (who built stoney structures such as Ghar Dalam and Hagar Qim), structures which you can visit today (and we did); the Romans; The Knights of the Order of St. John, the French and the British to name a few and it brings us up to present day Malta.
From all our touristing, thee was a lot of emphasis from tour guides and places to visit which revolves around the Knights of the Order of St John in particular but the book skimmed over their stay in Malta and everything that happened whilst they were there. This surprised me because it seemed like they played a major role in Malta’s history. This is where the second book I got at the airport came in handy – The Knights of Malta.
The Knights of Malta takes you through the full history of the Knights, the good, the bad and the ugly and everything in between from start to end and then to the present day with their revival as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
We start at the birth of the Order in Palestine, and follow them through Cyprus, Rhodes until they eventually set up home in Malta in 1530, and here it stayed for 268 years! We follow all 28 of the grand masters, from their ascensions to that post to their deaths.
We learn about the knights day to day life as well as their warring prowess which show us all their strengths and weaknesses and everything in between. But not only that, it enhances the beauty of the buildings, the colourfulness of the cathedrals and fortifications and the preciousness of the culture and customs in Malta.
Yes both of these books were a bit bland, but they were both really interesting and I don’t regret reading either of them as it has made our visit to Malta more worthwhile as I knew landmarks they were talking about such as St John’s Co-Cathedral. I would recommend reading these books if Malta is ever on your travel list.
Until next time,