Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2010.

[p.456]

SCULPTURE IN MALTA IN THE EARLY POST-MUSLIM PERIOD

Charlene Vella*

This paper will focus on three significant examples of sculpture that there is reason to believe belong to the period between 1127 and 1282, namely (a) two Siculo-Norman capitals, (b) a Romanesque relief at the Gozo Archaeological Museum, and (c) ledger stones from a cemetery outside the Gozo Castello.

a. Two Siculo-Norman capitals

The two white marble Siculo-Norman capitals can possibly be associated with the nave arcade of the Cathedral built, perhaps on the site of the main mosque of the Medina, at an unknown period after the definite Norman conquest of 1127. We have very little information about the architecture of the old Cathedral but, if we are to trust the account given by Giovanni Francesco Abela in his 1647 publication, it was, as one would expect, a three-aisled Romanesque basilica of rather humble proportions.[1] Abela may have had access to documents that have since been lost. Mario Buhagiar, in his contribution to Anthony Luttrell’s Medieval Malta - Studies on Malta before the Knights, suggests not improbably, that it was built by Sicilian workmen brought to Malta for the purpose.[2] The Cathedral may, therefore, have been an essentially Siculo-Norman building. The two capitals are, as a matter of fact, good examples of Siculo-Norman sculpture. Their execution reveals an appreciable level of artistic sophistication and they also have significant iconographic and architectural interest.

[p.456] The first capital (plate 1) is now the central feature of a columnar cross in Howard Gardens outside the Main Gate of Mdina, where it was re-utilised at an unknown period after the demolition of the old Cathedral at the turn of the eighteenth century.`[3] It carries a high relief decoration and shows schematised animals, presumably lions and leopards, that stand on a ring of acanthus leaves and are in apparent combat against a background of formalised vegetation. Above the animals and serving as a backdrop, are palm trees and other stylised foliated motifs. The lions’ manes carry the typical fringed decoration characteristic of Romanesque sculpture and manuscript illuminations. Other details are difficult to decipher since the capital is being allowed to weather and because it is too high up to be properly studied.

The lion is the most represented of all quadrupeds in Romanesque art, and was used as a symbol of strength and a bulwark against sin and evil represented by other animals.[4] In this case, the presumed leopards may represent sin. In Norman Sicily, the lion features prominently in both ecclesiastical and domestic buildings. The lion also became ubiquitous in Romanesque churches and cathedrals in Sicily, all over Italy, and elsewhere in the Latin west. Decoratively stylised column-bearing lions are, as a matter of fact, a recurrent feature of the portals of numerous cathedrals and other ecclesiastical establishments.[5]  

The lions on the Maltese capital have a schematisation that recalls that of the stylobate lions (plate 2) that belonged to the twelfth-century Norman Cathedral of Mazzara (now in the Museo Civico of the town), particularly in the treatment of their mane and facial features.[6]  Vincenzo Scuderi suggests that these show the influence of Byzantine textile designs that were inspired by Assyrio-Babylonese terracottas.[7] The Maltese capital possesses an exotic appeal that, in a modest way, reflects the love for the esoteric that one sees in the decoration of ecclesiastical buildings of the Norman court in Sicily, such as Monreale Cathedral and cloister (plate 3), the capitals in the Church of San Cataldo at Palermo (plate 4) and in the decorations of Palermo Cathedral (plates 5 & 6), where floral motifs, birds and several beasts are given prominence.

[p.457]

Pl. 1. Siculo-Norman marble capital situated in Howard Gardens, Rabat, outside Mdina's Main Gate, surmounted on a column

 

 Pl. 2. Stylobate lions, Museo Civico, Mazzara

 

 Pl. 3. Capital at the Benedictine cloister at Monreale

 

 Pl. 4. Capital in the Church of San Cataldo, Palermo

 

 Pl. 5. Capital in the portico of Palermo Cathedral

 

 Pl. 6. Side of the portal of Palermo Cathedral

 [p.458] In a secular context, and nearer to the core of the royal court, are the mosaics in the Sala di Ruggero in the Palazzo dei Normanni, Palermo, where the lion features prominently (plates 7 & 8). Lions are also present on the royal throne in the Cappella Palatina (plate 9). This seems to suggest that Malta did, to an extent, benefit from the polyglothic artistic language of Norman Sicily. It should also be pointed out that the Maltese capital’s execution shows a discreet level of sophistication.

The second capital (plate 10) speaks in an entirely different tongue, and its stylistic idiosyncrasies distinguish it from the first capital. It is in the reserve collection of the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, where it has apparently been misplaced. It could not, therefore, be studied personally. As a result, the available photographic reproductions in the Museum archives are the only available source of information. These suggest a high relief capital of stocky, stylised figures with enlarged heads and chunky hands represented in a squatting position beneath an ornate arcade ornamented with a crisscrossed decoration. The figures’ proportions are obviously not based on actual observation, but rely on established Romanesque and workshop traditions.

The subject-matter has been generically interpreted as ‘a biblical theme’.[8] A more specific interpretation may, however, be attempted by a more in-depth study. The central figure, whose importance is emphasised by the large, heavy head, and the long beard, may be Christ. If the figure on the left is female, as seemingly suggested by the headdress and general characteristics, one of the following New Testament stories may perhaps be the subject-matter: (i) the miracle of the woman with the issue of blood; (ii) the woman anointing Jesus in the house of Simon the Leper at Bethany;[9] (iii) Martha (or perhaps Mary) greeting Jesus and his disciples after the death of Lazarus.[10] If, on the other hand, the figure is not female, a likely interpretation would seem to be Doubting Thomas. The Doubting Thomas theme was common in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Western Europe.[11]  Mosche Barasch emphasises that this theme was especially popular with the Crusaders because of the connotations that it could have had with the travels of the apostle to lands outside the Roman Empire which included India. Barasch, who is one of the best authorities on Crusader sculpture, has commented on various examples. In the Maltese context, where Malta had just been re-conquered for Christianity by the Normans, the theme would seem to make good sense.[12]

[p.459]

 Pl. 7. Mosaic, Sala di Ruggero, Palazzo dei Normanni, Palermo

 Pl. 8. Mosaic showing lions in the Sala di Ruggero, Palazzo dei Normanni, Palermo

Pl. 9. The royal throne, Cappella Palatina, Palermo

Pl. 10. Siculo-Norman marble capital, National Museum of Archaeology, reserve collection

Pl. 11. Capital from the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth, showing St James baptising the scribe

Pl. 12. Capital from the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth, showing Christ and St Thomas

 [p.460] There may, on the other hand, be, as perceptively suggested by Rita Wood,[13] an element of Crusader art influence in the general idiosyncrasies of the capital. Of particular interest is the use of arcading to frame the scene. Barasch focuses his attention, in particular, on five capitals from Nazareth that are topped by an elaborate architectural decoration of varyingly sized arches,[14] (plates 11 & 12) which he claims show the influence of Cluny[15] (plate 13). This, he maintains, may suggest the work of a stone carver from Burgundy.[16] He also hints at the fact that the squat figure was common to Romanesque sculpture of Southern France.[17] It should nonetheless be pointed out that the crowning of capitals by an elaborate architecture of arcades is widespread all over Romanesque France. The capitals on the Portail Royale of the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Chartres are an obvious example (plate 14). Nearer to Malta, the arcade also features prominently on a capital in Brindisi, now in the Portico dei Templari of the Museo Ribezzo that, possibly, came from the old Cathedral of Brindisi, a town that also benefited from Norman influence (plate 15).

The blind miniature arcaded frieze may not have been simply included as a decorative motif, but to indicate a building that Medieval man would recognise and associate with the place where the story unfolding would have taken place.[18] This may easily have been the case of the Maltese capital. The capital may reflect the cross-fertilisation of variegated artistic cross-currents. Its iconographic, sculptural and architectural idiosyncrasies may have reached Norman Sicily either from Romanesque France, or even from Crusader sculpture. The Normans, as a matter of fact, were very actively involved in the Crusades, and it is not impossible that a Norman sculptor, who had been to the Holy Land and possibly worked on the decoration of the Latin-Romanesque churches there, might have settled in Norman Sicily and was responsible for the production for this and other capitals. Moreover, another connection with Crusader art may have come about when Roger II married his third wife Beatrice of Bethel in 1151. Beatrice was the grandniece of Baldwin II, the third king of Jerusalem. All this requires a much more in-depth study of the influences conditioning sculpture in Norman Sicily.

[p.461] b. The Romanesque relief in the Gozo Archaeology Museum

 There were certainly other built churches in addition to the Cathedral on the Maltese Islands in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but these, if they still survive, are difficult to identify with certainty because building technologies and styles changed little in the course of the Middle Ages. Nonetheless, a church of unknown dedication in Xlendi Bay on Gozo may, on the stylistic considerations of a limestone relief of two male saints found on the site, be arguably dated to the period (plate 16). The remains of the church were discovered at the beginning of the twentieth century, but the circumstances are not known and no archaeological report has survived.[19] The limestone relief was fortunately preserved and is now on display in the Archaeology Museum in the Gozo Citadel.

The relief (60cm x 50cm x 11cm) shows two juxtaposed hieratic standing saints.[20] They raise one hand in benediction and carry an apparent symbol in the other. Their names were, as was customary in Siculo-Byzantinesque icons of the Norman period, written in elegant Latin script, as can be seen in Malta in the surviving wall icons at St Agatha, Abbatija tad-Dejr, and Mellieħa.[21] Only a couple of letters survive on the relief and this does not permit a reading. The identity of the saints remains unknown. The general bad state of preservation, due principally to weathering, mishandling and general ill-usage, does not permit a thorough art-historical evaluation, and it is impossible to say what the symbols that the saints carry represent. A decorative and elegant touch is introduced by the oversized haloes. The stylistic characteristics are Romanesque, but one can also detect Byzantine hangovers particularly in the strict frontality of the two figures.

The triangular shape of the heads, the large almond-shaped eyes, and the apparently very prominent nose that forms an accentuated arched bridge with the eyebrows, recall the already-mentioned two Siculo-Byzantinesque icons in the cave-church of St Agatha at Rabat, Malta, and seem to suggest the influence of Siculo-Byzantinesque iconography. The closest one gets to them are the reliefs on a twelfth-century capital that possibly came from the old Cathedral of Brindisi (plate 15). The figures on this capital show the same stylisation, particularly in the way the division of the body into two parts is accentuated at the hip. The oval heads and chief characteristics of the facial features also appear to be largely similar. The treatment of the hair, especially the way in which it is cropped low on the forehead, is particularly significant. The Brindisi figures are much better [p.462] preserved and show a use of the drill in the treatment of the hair. In its present state, it is impossible to say whether a drill was also used on the Gozo relief.

This stylistic similarity is a possible indication of artistic links between Malta and Apulia which require further investigation. Sicily was not the exclusive source of influence on the art and architecture of Medieval Malta. The Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria regions were also a very potential source of influence.

c. The Gozo ledger stones

 The Gozo Archaeological Museum has in its collection a number of ledger stones that come from a Late Medieval cemetery outside the walls of the Gozo Castello (plate 17). The cemetery, which is of unknown antiquity, can perhaps be identified with the one served by the Church of St Michael mentioned in the 1575 Apostolic Visitation Report of Mgr Pietro Dusina[22] who calls the church Sancti Michaelis delo Cimiterioand describes it in some detail, but makes no reference to the cemetery that presumably stood around it. The church may already have been in existence in 1441 because it was mentioned in a now lost Act of Notary Andrea de Beniamin reported in the chronicles of the seventeenthcentury cognoscente and antiquarian G.P.F. Agius de Soldanis written in 1746.[23] It appears to have been located in close proximity to the Augustinian Church and Convent for which there is apparent evidence in 1453.[24] In the same area stood the Church of St John the Evangelist.[25]  

The cemetery was apparently first mentioned in a now lost treatise by a certain Abbot Costanzo, about whom we have no information, and who is said to have lived in the fifteenth century.[26] Agius de Soldanis, who claimed to be familiar with the treatise, reports the following excerpt:

... In this cemetery here are buried a number of noble persons thought to have been brought to Gozo by Sicilian ships two hundred years ago, or even more than that, at the time when there was trouble with Djerba and Tripoli. There are many slabs that bear crosses that are a sign that important persons are buried under them.[27]

 [p.463] In his Pastoral Visitation Report of 1736, Bishop Alpheran de Bussan makes a specific reference to tombstones in the cemetery and claims, on no evidence, that they marked the resting place of high ecclesiastics who had died in 1270 during the unfortunate Eighth Crusade of St Louis of France (King Louis IX).[28] He instructed the preservation of these stones and had them incorporated, together with a Latin inscription, in a boundary wall that was certainly in existence in 1772 when it was mentioned by Count Giovanni Ciantar in Vol. 1 of his Malta Illustrata.[29] Count Johann Michael von Borch, who saw the cemetery in 1777, made a drawing of the boundary wall which was subsequently published in the collection of his letters from Malta and Sicily in 1782[30] (plate 18). It shows the inscription at the junction of two sides of the wall that incorporated the ledger stones. Count Borch, who believed in the connection with the St Louis Crusade, marvelled at the fact that none of the French Knights whom he had met on Malta and Gozo knew anything about the cemetery and its story which he considered to be one of great interest. The Borsch drawing shows nineteen ledger stones. Twenty-eight ledger stones are, on the other hand, reproduced by Count Ciantar.[31] Both drawings are of very great interest because they show the ledger stones when they were in a much better state of preservation than they are today, and they also illustrate stones that no longer survive.

Agius de Soldanis agreed with the St Louis Crusade theory of Bishop Alpheran.[32] On the other hand, this was dismissed by Count Giovanni Ciantar, who proposed instead that the stones marked the resting place of important personages who died in Gozo in different periods.[33] He noted their bad state of preservation due to natural and human agencies, and remarked that they were carved on the same type of limestone.[34]  The myth of the St Louis Crusade nonetheless gained substantial credibility as markedly shown by Count Borch’s account. Their history and origin is unknown, and as pointed out by Charles Dalli, they remain one of the most fascinating enigmas of Maltese late medieval art’.[35]  

The tombstones are carved in local soft limestone and their chief interest lies in the fact that they are decorated with seemingly ecclesiastical symbols, [p.464] apparent armorial crests and miscellaneous motifs. A date in the Angevin period is not improbable, and Mario Buhagiar suggests that they betray an element of French sophistication.[36] He sees superficial similarities with ‘some of the thirteenth century tombstones in the Musée de Cluny, Paris, such as those of Raoul Sarrazin and Guillaume de Vaugrignane’.[37] Dany Sandron of the Institut d’Arts at the University of Paris (Paris IV), Sorbonne, is in agreement and says that ‘they recall certain tombstones from Rhodes in the Musée de Cluny, Paris’.[38] Paul Williamson, Keeper of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, whose advice was sought, comments that ‘a French connection is very likely to be correct’, but that such ledger stones ‘were commonplace in Northern Europe in the 12th-15th centuries, with an iconographic vocabulary which changed very little over a long period.’[39] Dany Sandrone’s hunch of a Rhodian connection is also seen by Lawrence A.S. Butler, one of the leading authorities on Medieval tombstones in the UK, who in a personal communication writes that ‘... [the ledger stones] have a general resemblance to some Hospitaller stones on Rhodes (either in the Latin cathedral or in the Archaeological Museum in the medieval Hospital)...’ Referring to a measured drawing of the fourteen surviving tombstones (plate 17) that was sent to him for his comments, he continues:

‘Numbering the stones from 1-14 (top row 1-5; second row 6-9; bottom row 10-14) the stones under the Gothic arch with nail-head ornament look to be 13th century, probably mid-13th century when French influence was strongest on Malta and Gozo (stones 1, 6, 8, 10, 11); the stones with a Romanesque arch might be earlier - under Sicilian influence (2, 3) but I suspect that they are also 13th century. The shape of the shields is similar to the earliest memorials on Rhodes (i.e. post-1307) but those on Rhodes nearly always have inscriptions (1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14). The form of cross-heads can more often be found on French stones than on English ones, though the cross patonce (3, 4, 8) occurs on Purbeck marble slabs of c.1250-1300 as does the semi-circular base (2, 5, 7, 9). I can only think of a few examples in England of the triangular base (3). Similarly there are a few examples

[p.465]

Pl. 13. Capital from Cluny

Pl. 14. Capital at Chartres Cathedral, showing the theme of the doubting Thomas

Pl. 15. Capital, Museo Ribezzo, Brindisi

Pl. 16. Limestone relief of two standing male saints, Goxo Archaeology Museum

Pl. 17. Sketches of 14 of the ledger stones found in a cemetery outside the Gozo Citadel

Pl. 18. Ledger stones incorporated in a boundary wall as illustrated by Count Johann Michael von Borch. Image from T. Freller, Gozo the island of Joy, Malta 1997. p. 8

 [p.466] in England and Wales of the cross potent (7, 9) and of the variant (5). These three might be nearer 1200. I presume that (10) is another version of (6) which has lost its heraldry or symbol. The symbol of the scissors is more likely to denote a draper or silk weaver rather than be heraldic. On stone (1) the skull and cross bones looks to be a 17th century addition.’[40]

As perceptively remarked by Paul Williamson, ‘they are consequently both difficult to date accurately and to localise (if divorced from their original context).’

Therefore, the origin of the ledger stones remains unknown and, in the present state of our knowledge, one has to admit that they cannot be dated with precision. They may, as a matter of fact, come from different periods in the history of a cemetery that, judging from their quality and artistic sophistication, must have served a socially and ecclesiastically important community. An origin in the Angevin period, or perhaps even earlier, is a possibility that seems to be borne out by the apparent French idiosyncrasies that are manifest in what seem to be the earliest among them, namely slabs numbered 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 13. The presumed Rhodian connection, suggested by Butler and Sandrone, is more difficult to explain. An archaeological investigation might have gone a long way in answering some of these questions. Unfortunately, however, the cemetery was destroyed and entirely levelled out to provide space for an ecclesiastical establishment, a Salesian Oratory called the Don Bosco Oratory. The stones are today scattered between the Gozo Archaeological Museum (plate 19), the Don Bosco Oratory and the Augustinian Priory in Rabat, Gozo.[41]  

Pl. 19. One of the ledger stones, Gozo Archaeology Museum 



* Charlene Vella is an MA candidate and Research Assistant in the History of Art Department at the University of Malta specialising in the Late Medieval art and architecture of the Maltese islands in their Mediterranean context. She has attended seminars and has published papers on the subject. In addition, Charlene is art critic and reviewer on art books to The Sunday Times (of Malta) and a member of the committee of the Malta Historical Society.
Acknowledgements: the author gratefully acknowledges the help and assistance of Professor Mario Buhagiar, Ms Rita Wood, Dr Paul Williamson from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Professor Dany Sandrone from the Institut d’arte, University of Paris (Paris IV), Sorbonne, and Professor Lawrence A.S. Butler, and Ms Nicoline Sagona.

[1] G.F. Abela, Della descrittione di Malta, isola nel mare siciliano con le sue antichità, ed altre notizie, Malta 1647, facsimile edition by Midsea Books in 1984, 331-3.

[2] M. Buhagiar, ‘Medieval Churches in Malta’, in Medieval Malta: Studies on Malta before the Knights, ed. A.T. Luttrell, London 1975, 163-180.

[3] M. Buhagiar, ‘The Columnar Cross in Howard Gardens, Mdina’, Treasures of Malta, VII, 3, Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, Malta 2001, 7-11.

[4] É. de Bussac, Sculpteurs au Moyen Age, tr. by. A. Elvines, Collection Compas No. 4, Editions L’Instant Durable, Clermont-Ferrand, France 2007, 37.

[5] The lion is memorably used in San Zeno at Verona, in the Duomo at Parma, in the Church of San Ruffino in Assisi, and the Cathedral of Troia in the Apulia region which bear columns that support the church’s porches. Another important example exists in Brindisi, in the centralised church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro. In Catalunya, Spain, two lions flank the central high window on the Church of Sant’Pere at Besalú.

[6] As suggested by Professor Mario Buhagiar in a personal communication on 26 February 2010.

[7] These are now in the Museo Civico of Mazzara: V. Scuderi, Arte Medievale nel Trapanese, Trapani 1978, 14 and fig. 5.

[8] 8 M. Buhagiar, The Late Medieval Art and Architecture of Maltese Islands, Malta 2005, 28.

[9] Mark 14, 5-6; John 12, 2-4, identifies the woman with Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and says that the incident took place at Bethany in the house of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

[10] This last theme was suggested by Ms Rita Wood in a personal communication on 30 October 2009. Ms Wood also said that this subject came to mind due to a carving present in Yorkshire that she believes to have been copied from an ivory showing Jesus as a classical thaumaturge or miracle-worker.

[11] M. Barasch, Crusader Figural Sculpture in the Holy Land, Israel 1971, 116-117.

[12] The scene of Doubting Thomas survives on one of five Romanesque capitals of high artistic quality discovered during excavations of the old Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth in November 1908 by the French archaeologist Father Prosper Viaud that have been stylistically dated to the late twelfth century. The same theme features on the Portail Royale at Chartres Cathedral.

[13] Personal communication by Ms Rita Wood on 30 October 2009. Ms Wood was contacted following the publication of her study on two capitals in the Church of Sant Benigne, Lyon, in the Antiquaries Journal, 2009.

[14] In the Nazareth examples, the architectural decoration was used sensitively, where the arches more often than not frame separate figures.

[15] Barasch, 73.

[16] Ibid., 159, 164.

[17] Ibid., 107.

[18] Ibid., 74: ‘Representations of buildings are met frequently, and in various contexts, in Western sculpture of the twelfth century where architectural imagery always plays an important part in the decoration of capitals. ...the representation of buildings is usually determined by the story rendered on the capital.’

[19] 19 The only account of the discovery of the church is in A. Gauci, Gozo - a historical and tourist guide to the island, Malta 1966, 21. A. Gauci had access to manuscript records in the possession of his family. Information obtained from a personal communication to Professor Mario Buhagiar by Mgr A. Gauci in 1968.

[20] Ms Nicoline Sagona, curator of the Gozo Archaeological Museum, generously provided the measurements. The depth includes the relief, and was taken at a maximum point (roughly near the saints’ halo).

[21] For the Maltese examples: Buhagiar 2005, 59-67, 71-72.

[22] Apostolic Visitation Report of Mgr. Pietro Dusina transcribed and ed. in G. Aquilina & S. Fiorini, Documentary Sources of Maltese History: Part IV - Documents at the Vatican, No. 1 - Archivio Secreto Vaticano Congregazione Vescovi e Regolari. Malta: Visita Apostolica no. 51 Mgr Petrus Dusina, 1575, University Press, Malta 2001, ff. 113v-114 [p. 142].

[23] National Library of Malta Manuscript 145; G.P.F. Agius de Soldanis, Il Gozo. Antico-moderno e Sacroprofano, Isola Mediterranea adiacente a Malta Africana, translated into English by A. Mercieca as Gozo. Ancient and Modern, Religious and Profane, Malta 1999, 146-147.

[24] G. Bonnici, Ìrajjiet Agostinjani f’Malta, Provinçja Agostinjana Malta, Malta 1990, 7.

[25] Apostolic Visitation Report of Mgr. Pietro Dusina, ff. 112rv [p. 141].

[26] G.P.F. Agius de Soldanis, 148.

[27] Costanzo’s acount of the cemetery is transcribed in G.P.F. Agius de Soldanis, 148

[28] Archiepiscopal Archives Floriana, Visitatio Alpheran 1736-1740, f. 659v: ‘Coemeterium jam usque ab antiquis temporibus, quibus non in ecclesis sed in coemeteriis extra castra, & civitatis humabentur mortui, destinatum pro sepiliendis mortuis hujus insulae... Vel justa aliorum sensum paratum pro sepelundis Christi Fidelibus defunctis in bello sacro, redeunte anno 1270, exercitu S. Ludovici Regis ab Africa &c... Inspiciuntur multae lapides monumentorum cum aliquibus signis in superficie et specialiter in uno extant insignia episcopalia, nempe mitra et lituus pastoralis, non recurvus, sed instar fulcri subularis, quo utuntur episcopi graeci’.

[29] G.A. Ciantar, Malta Illustrata ovvero Descrittine di Malta, vol. 1, Malta 1780, 259.

[30] J.M. Borch, Lettres sur la Sicilie et ur l’Isle de Malthe, vol. 2, Torino 1782.

[31] Ciantar, vol. 1, pl. 8.

[32] G.P.F. Agius de Soldanis, 146.

[33] Ciantar, 358-360.

[34] Ibid., 359.

[35] C. Dalli, Malta: the Medieval Millennium, Malta 2006, 137.

[36] Buhagiar 2005, 32.

[37] Buhagiar 2005, 32. Professor Mario Buhagiar gives the Musée de Clunry Inventory Nos. as 14252, 18817.

[38] ‘Elles me faisaient penser à certaines tombes provenant de Rhodes conservées au musée de Cluny à Paris’. Personal communication by Professor Dany Sandrone on 11 February 2010.

[39] Personal communication by Dr Paul Williamson on 28 January 2010: ‘Ledger stones were of course commonplace throughout Northern Europe in the 12th-15th centuries, with an iconographic vocabulary which changed very little over a long period. They are consequently both difficult to date accurately and to localise (if divorced from their original context). But your surmise of a French connection is very likely to be correct, with the rider that such slabs are also to be found in England and elsewhere.’

[40] 40 Personal communication by Professor Lawrence A.S. Butler on 6 February 2010.

[41] For a general history of the ledger stones and the cemetery, see P. Mizzi, ‘French Cemetery in Gozo’, in Heritage: An encyclopedia of Maltese culture and civilization, ed. P. Mizzi, Malta 1979, 1-4, and C. Savona-Ventura, ‘Knight Templar Remains in Gozo?’, in The Gozo Observer, 19, Malta 2008, 6-11.