Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Proceedings of History Week 1984. [Malta: The [Malta] Historical Society, 1986(101-139]

[p.101] The Siege Map of Malta by Francesco De Marchi

Albert Ganado

            The year 1565 is a landmark in the history of the Maltese Islands. It was also a turning-point in the struggle of Christendom against he forces of the Ottoman Empire, on which the battle of Lepanto (1571) put the final seal. Despite these two disasters, the Turks continued to ravage the coasts of the western Mediterranean during the rest of the century, after having recoggggggvered Cyprus from the Venetians and Tunis from the Spaniards; but the decline of their empire was in sight.

            The siege of Malta, which lasted from May till September 1565, was watched with trepidation not only in Naples, Rome and Venice, but even in Vienna, London and Madrid, in Paris, Antwerp and Brussels. News of the slow progress of the besiegers and of the desperate defence of the island reached Sicily through letters written by Grand Master La Valette, battle-sketches despatched by the Knights of the Order of St. John and “Relationi” written by soldiers or seamen.[1] Thence it spread fanlike to all the centres of Christendom stretching from the Iberian peninsula in the west to Hungary in the east.

            Picture-maps of the siege were produced in France, Germany, Spain and Italy to illustrate for the layman the stand being put up by Catholic Malta against the armed might of the Crescent, the main centres of production being Rome and Venice, which even turned out several editions of various broadsheets to bring up to date the latest developments in the bitter and uneven struggle.[2]

            Most of those who could afford to buy these picture-maps did not trouble to keep them once they had served their immediate purpose, in much the same way as modern daily newspapers are treated by their readers. The select few preserved and treasured them for their historical or military content, or, purely, for their cartographic interest. Francesco De Marchi, military architect and engineer, was one of the select few.

De Marchi’s career

            Francesco, son of Marco Marchi, was born in Bologna in the year 1504. Nothing is known of his youth, except that for many years he received no education whatsoever. Although his pet subject was always military architecture, of which he seems to have acquired some practical knowledge in his young days, he confessed in one of his letters that he remained illiterate for many, many years and only started [p.102] learning the alphabet at the age of 32, senza maestro che gli mostrasse nè libro nè Salterio, nè dessegli penna o calamaio innanzi.[3] Indeed, De Marchi remained a bad writer and, until the end of his days, wherever possible, he sought the help and advice of men of letters.[4]

            In 1531, at the age of 27, Francesco was in the service of Alessandro de’ Medici, the Duke of Florence, nephew of Giulio de’ Medici, Pope Clement VII (1522-1523). It appears that he was a courier in the postal service of the Medicis and looked after their stables. Certainly, he was an expert horse-rider and, in his sixties, he regaled the public with balancing performances on the back of a galloping horse.[5]

            On the 6th January 1537 Alessandro was assassinated by his cousin Lorenzino.[6] In November 1538, his 16-year-old widow Margherita d’Austria married in Rome Ottavio Farnese, nephew of Paul III (1534-1549), and De Marchi now passed to his service. In a few years, De Marchi must have made great strides in the studies of military architecture and engineering, for Pope Paul appointed him on a commission he had just set up for the purpose of examining the new fortifications that were being built around Rome by the famous architect Giovanni da San Gallo. It was on this occasion that De Marchi received the citizenship of Rome which explains why he used to describe himself: Cittadino bolognese, gentiluomo romano.[7]

            Between 1539 and 1545 he was engaged on the fortifications of Camerino, Castro, Nepi and Pesaro and he started working in earnest on what was to become a monumental work on military architecture, of which more anon. In 1545, Ottavio Farnese received from the Pope the Duchy of Parma and, the year after, he led the papal army against the Huguenots. Political vicissitudes forced Ottavio to break with Charles V and in 1551 he was defending Parma against the Emperor and his ally the Pope, Julius III (1550-55). These wars saw De Marchi Commissioner for War and Commandant of the Artillery.[8] A truce made in 1552 allowed De Marchi to write a book on Artillery and to finish his Trattato di precetti di fortificazioni di terra which was never published.[9]

            In 1554 De Marchi was sent to England for the marriage of Philip of Spain to Mary the Catholic, Queen of England. He was invited to Greenwich by the King who was anxious to have sight of and discuss the treatise on military architecture with the author himself and he was full of praise for De Marchi.[10]

            De Marchi was engaged on the completion of the magnificent palace in Piacenza, called “La Cittadella,” when Philip II of Spain appointed his sister the Duchess of Parma (Margherita d’Austria, wife of Ottavio Farnese) to govern Flanders. In 1559 he followed the Court of the Duchess to Brussels where he was to remain for nine [p. 103] years,[11] although he was destined to serve the Spanish monarch as captain and engineer for twice as many years.[12]

            The Low Countries were in the throes of the spirit of the Reformation and the edicts of the Duchess Regent against heresy, ordered by her brother Philip, were in no way successful to stem the tide.[13] Indeed, some of the more prominent reformers were members of the Regent’s Council of State, to wit, William Nassau (Prince of Orange), Lamorale (Count of Egmont) and Philip Montmorency (Count of Horn and Admiral). De Marchi was a staunch supporter of the Catholic cause and he castigated the reformers very severely in his letters. For instance, when in December 1566 the Lutherans were routed between Tournai and Lille, De Marchi described the inhabitants as popolo perfido e crudele and erano e son peggio che non erano li turchi intorno a Malta l’anno 1565: dico che contro la Giesia questi son stati peggio.[14]

            It is reasonable to assume that De Marchi played a major part in the building and repair of the fortifications, new and old, of the Low Countries, particularly those of Antwerp.[15] He took under his wing Prince Alessandro Farnese, the son of his benefactress, and he might have instructed him in the science of military mathematics.[16]

            In 1565, Alessandro was united in marriage to Maria, daughter of Odoardo, brother to Giovanni, King of Portugal. The festivities in Brussels went on for weeks between November 1565 and January 1566 with De Marchi as the organiser of the events that were planned to celebrate the occasion. He also wrote a detailed account of what took place and sent it to Bologna where it was printed in that year.[17]

            When the Duchess of Parma gave up the government of Flanders, De Marchi followed her back to Piacenza, and thence to the Abruzzi. The party left Brussels on the 30th December 1567.[18]

            It does not seem that De Marchi was well-remunerated for his long, faithful and efficient services. He complained that on occasions he even lacked the essential materials for setting to paper the result of his studies! However, his attachment to the Farnese family induced him to refuse offers of more lucrative employment elsewhere. The future of his two natural children, Marc’Antonio and Cleopatra, must also have influenced his decision. When the family re-entered Italy, the [p.104] daughter was placed in a convent at the expense of the Duchess who also endowed her for the religious profession. Marc’Antonio was prepared by his father for an ecclesiastical career, but he eventually took up law and received a small subsidy from the Farneses. Later in life, he followed his father’s footsteps and in 1619 he was engineer to the Duke of Savoy.[19]

            De Marchi’s date of death had given rise to many discussions and uncertainties, until the epitaph of his tomb placed by his son was discovered and published in 1848.[20] He died in Aquila degli Abruzzi on the 15th February 1576 at the age of 72. Some authors maintained (even after this publication) that when De Marchi died he was in his nineties.[21]

Malta in his letters

            We have no evidence that the island of Malta came to De Marchi’s particular attention before the siege of 1565. But, in that year, Malta became a most vital piece on the European chessboard. For a military expert like De Marchi, what was happening in Malta had to be followed and digested with the utmost attention and diligence.

            Throughout his stay in Flanders, De Marchi carried on an intensive exchange of letters with Giovan Battista Pico, Secretary to the Duke Ottavio of Parma.[22] The first reference to Malta in this correspondence appears in a letter dated 25 June 1565. There is no mention in the two previous letters of the 17th and 24th June. The Turkish armada appeared off the island on the 18th May and it took between three and four weeks for news from Malta to reach Flanders.

            The last paragraph of the letter addressed to Pico on the 25th June reads thus:

            “Qui si dubita molto di Malta (che Iddio non lo permetta). Qui è nova che uno ambasciatore del Turco è nella Corte di Francia a domandare porto e vittovarie.”[23]

            It seems that the misgivings expressed by De Marchi were inspired by the news that the Turks had already landed on the island rather than by reports that Soliman was planning to invade it.

            On the 23rd June, Fort St. Elmo fell to the Turks after a month’s siege. De Marchi wrote to Pico as follows on the 26th July 1565:

            “Le nuove che qui si sono spante hoggi, che siamo alli 26, sono: che larmata del Turco ha preso il forte di Santo (Ermo) per forza; hanno impito li fossi di lana e altre cose, e tutti hanno morti quelli che dentro erano, con la perdita di molti Turchi, e che Dragut è morto e il figliuolo di Barbarossa; che li Turchi erano tutti in terra, e gran parte della ciurma, e che, tornando il Cardona con quattro galere, le quali havevano portato soccorso nel Borgo di Malta diede nuova a Don Garzia, chera in mare, con le navi e galere, che quasi tutta larmata turchesca era in terra, e così andarno a investire in larmata turchesca allimprovista, e lhanno tutta disfatta, o la [p.105] maggior parte; e che li Turchi restano perditori (così voglia Iddio) e molte altre cose; ma la conclusione è che li Turchi sono perditori. Di Franza e di Venezia e dAugusta[24] son tali avvisi a certi Signori di qui.”[25]

            This letter shows how well-informed the Court of Duchess Margherita was being kept about the happenings of the siege and that this information came through postal communication with France, the north of Italy and Bavaria.

            No reference to Malta exists in the letters dated 5 August, 25 August, 9 September and 14 September. On the 23rd September he informed Pico as follows:

            “Due nova stiamo ad aspettare con devozione: luna del soccorso di Malta e la rotta de’ turchi (che Dio se ne dia grazia); laltra che la nostra [armata] arrivi con la Principessa e tutti sani e salvi.”[26]

            The next letter expressed the hope that the siege would truly come to an end and De Marchi stressed the speed with which news from Malta was reaching Brussels through Venice. It is dated 30th September, and the following is written as a postscriptum:

            “Hoggi havevamo havuto nuova che lè dismontato nove mila e cinquecento fanti in lisola di Malta, e che li turchi si imbarcavano per fuggire. Qui si aspetta questa nuova con gran desiderio. Vedasi V.S. la diligenza che si fa per via di Venezia, che in ventiquattro giorni si ha nuova di Malta in Brusselle.”[27]

            A few days later, Brussels received confirmation that the island had been liberated. At the time, De Marchi was busily engaged on the elaborate preparations for the festivities to be held to celebrate the marriage of Alessandro Farnese. In a letter of the 7th October he gave Pico a preview of these preparations. After [p.106] referring to the games he was organising (prove di tornei e giostra; livrea; cocchio di lusso allitaliana), he wrote that he intended to illustrate by fireworks the siege of St. Elmo:

            “Se questa Principessa viene con felicità, siccome speriamo, se le fara gran carezze e feste solenni e di gran valuta.... Poi [io] proponeva che si facesse un castello in aria, e farlo combattere per uno de fuochi artificiali, a figure di cartoni, in quel modo che li turchi hanno combattuto il forte di Santo Ermo nellisola di Malta.”[28]

            The happy event was being organised on a grand scale, De Marchi wrote, and so many titled persons had been invited that, by themselves and without any professional support, they would have been able together to defend another Malta![29]

Malta in his works

            After having seen what is to be found on the siege of Malta in De Marchi’s letters, it behoves us to examine under the same aspect his monumental book on military architecture.

            The preliminary work on this treatise was started between 1539-1542 and completed in 1552-53.[30] Initially, he intended to write a book on civil architecture, and a separate one on military architecture. Whilst in Flanders, he expanded and amended what he had already written and he decided to merge both branches of architecture in a single book.[31] The finished product he submitted to the three members of the Council of State already mentioned. After having examined the work and compared it with what had been written till then on the subject by Pietro Cataneo da Siena, Jacopo Lanteri da Paratico, Francesco Montemellino da Perugia, Jacopo Castriotto from Urbino and Girolamo Maggi d’Anghiari, they decided that De Marchi’s treatise was superior by far to anything that had gone before. The Regent was therefore advised to order that the book be printed.[32]

            [p.107] The work was immediately taken in hand. The treatise was divided in 12 books and it was to contain 170 copper-engraved plates. Seven artists in Antwerp started working on the plates;[33] their names are not mentioned in De Marchi’s letters. A.L. Pinchart, writing in 1860,[34] mentions Cornelius de Hooghe as De Marchi’s chief collaborator and he attributes 166 engravings to de Hooghe, and 8 plates (among which portraits of Philip II and De Marchi) to Hieronymus Cock. This seems to be in conflict with De Marchi’s own statement. Possibly, de Hooghe was indeed responsible for most of the plates, but he had other engravers working on them in his own atelier, or under his supervision. The total amount paid by the Treasury for the engravings came to 1200 gold scudi, whilst the printing paper cost no less than 180 florins.[35]

            By November 1567 printing was ready to commence.[36] At the eleventh hour, the government of Philip II imposed a condition which De Marchi could not possibly accept. For fear that De Marchi’s novel ideas might be of some help to the enemies of Spain, the government decided to allow the printing of only 20 copies, and to deny the author even one single copy.[37]

            When De Marchi returned to Italy (early in 1568, as we have seen) he took the text with him[38] and tried to print the book in Piacenza, but his stay in the town was too short. In Abruzzo, De Marchi started developing new drawings of fortifications, in addition to those produced in Antwerp. He had in all 460 plans by August 1574. He proposed to Alessandro Farnese to have the new drawings engraved, but nothing came of it. Meantime, he donated to John of Austria a copy of the plates that had been prepared in Antwerp, but he was not destined to see his album in print.[39]

            Two decades after De Marchi’s death, the plates fell into the hands of Gaspare Dall’Oglio, a printer from Bologna who had a press in Brescia. In 1597 he printed [p.108] them with a dedication to Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua.[40] When he eventually found a copy of the text written by de Marchi in Flanders, he published another edition two years later which contained 161 plates with the explanatory text, divided in three books and followed by the Trattato sullArtiglieria.[41]

            By the time De Marchi had finished his book in November 1567, he had also had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the siege and to discuss the dramatic events in the light of military science with two renowned experts on fortifications: [p.109] Gabrio Serbelloni[42] and Chiappino Vitelli.[43] For more than three months before De Marchi’s departure, both were in Flanders in connection with the construction of the projected fortifications of Antwerp. Vitelli had come to Malta with the Gran Soccorso towards the end of the siege,[44] whilst both Vitelli and Serbelloni were present in Malta in April 1566 to examine on site with Laparelli and other military experts his projected new city-fortress on the promontory of Sceberras.[45] It is likely that, with their advice and interchange of ideas, Vitelli and Serbelloni made some contribution to De Marchi’s studies on military architecture, in the same way that the two military experts must have benefited from a perusal of De Marchi’s treatise on the subject.

            We have clear evidence that the reports and news-maps of the Maltese saga afforded De Marchi the opportunity to whet his study of military architecture, evolving novel methods of fortification, or merely confirming by practical experience the theories already propounded by him.

            There are five chapters in his book which throw light on the way De Marchi was influenced by the lessons learnt from the siege of Malta. The first one is Chapter 142 which seems to have been written between the 28th June and the 8th July 1565. De Marchi recalled that in Chapter 7 he had remarked on the usefulness of erecting ravelins to protect the walls of a fortress and he emphasised that he was the inventor [p.110] of this idea. His views had been disputed, but now (he wrote) the siege of St. Elmo had shown how right he was.

            In Chapter 146, De Marchi proposed a fortification on a promontory with a natural harbour on each side, quite reminiscent of Malta. Having fixed the counterscarp of the fortress on the brow of the promontory, De Marchi designed a ditch of considerable depth (circa i passi quindici) with the same width at its narrowest point. The purpose of such depth was twofold: to make it less accessible to the enemy, and, what was even more important, to make it more difficult for the attackers to fill it up, or cross it by artificial bridges. The Turks had resorted to both these means of attack in their assault on St. Elmo, and De Marchi thought that, had the ditch surrounding the fort been deep enough, they would have been unable to conquer it by reaching the batteries and overwhelming the defenders. He recognised, on the other hand, that there were not enough defenders to hold the fort: the fort was too small, he wrote, and the continuous pounding of the Turkish batteries killed too many Christians who had nowhere to take shelter.

            This chapter was written between the 7th August and the 10th September; therefore, De Marchi could also comment on the events that followed the fall of St. Elmo. He recorded that the Turks had started attacking the Borgo, Fort St. Angelo and Fort St. Michael on the 6th May, they had erected forts around them,[46] they had been using against them 60 cannon and more[47] for weeks, and the Christians were outnumbered twelve to one. Yet they were unable to overcome the valorous resistance of the defenders. Meanwhile, the Turkish forces had been depleted as the siege was now in its third month and they were not in a position to overwhelm these defences by sheer weight of numbers as they had done at Fort St. Elmo.

            All this went to prove how important it was to have the promontories on the flanks of the harbours fortified as well. Had St. Elmo been the only fort in the area, the fate of Malta would have been sealed.

            Chapter 150 discussed the project of a fortification on a site similar to the one proposed in Chapter 146, but the plan was more elaborate. Here De Marchi envisaged a fortress so strong that it could be manned by relatively few defenders. Without fear of contradiction, he felt he could say that St. Elmo would not have fallen had it been constructed in this fashion.

            The fortress proposed in this drawing was even stronger because it would not permit the enemy to make use of the harbours on its flanks. The experience of Malta taught that, as the Turks could make use of Marsamuscetto harbour after the fall of St. Elmo because it was not defended, the Turkish fleet became secure. He realised that this project could only be carried out at considerable expense; but it was also true that armies were very costly to support. The Spanish monarch was holding in Sicily a large army in readiness to go to the relief of Malta when the time was ripe. [p.111] He had available at least 105 galleys and 70 other armed vessels. The money required to erect such a fortress was being spent in one month for the upkeep of these forces. De Marchi also pointed out that a strong fortified place was in itself a powerful deterrent to the enemy. Had the Turks foreseen that they would have been engaged for so many months to reduce the fortress of Malta, they would have opted to try and conquer some other place with less effort and greater advantage.

            De Marchi then analysed the reasons why Malta was still effectively resisting the Turkish assault:

1. the mettle of the Knights and soldiers defending it who were prepared to die for the Christian religion and their own freedom;
2. the presence of four different fortified places in close proximity, to wit, St. Elmo, Borgo, St. Angelo and St. Michael;
3. the constant threat of relief from Sicily which prevented the Turks from dispersing their forces at any given moment, both on sea and land;
4. the scarcity of food, coupled with logistic difficulties of fresh supplies.

            This chapter is dated the 27th September. De Marchi ended by expressing the earnest hope that in eight days’ time news would have reached Brussels of the final defeat of the Turks.[48]

            The other two chapters mentioning the siege are Chapters 155 and 159. The latter merely makes a passing reference to the heavy artillery used against St. Elmo, whilst the former is mainly based on another lesson that came out of the Malta experience. In the drawing accompanying this chapter, De Marchi creates a fort surrounded by a wide and deep ditch hewn out of solid rock. As an example of the value attached to a similar fort, he refers to the Borgo and to Forts St. Angelo and St. Michael which the Turks were not able to subdue as they did to Fort St. Elmo. They succeeded in entering the ditches around the Borgo more than once, but they were forced to withdraw. As the ditches were enclosed by solid-rock walls, there was no way they could dismantle them to weaken the defences.[49]

            The last chapter (no. 161) published in De Marchi’s book corresponds to Chapter LX of Book VI of the manuscript copy. The latter, besides, contains other unpublished chapters in which a reference to Malta is to be found. They are: Chapter LXI (Cf. Drawing no. 167 – Marini edition).... One should not erect fortifications not worthy of the name, but such as could offer resistance to very powerful enemies; as was seen last year in Malta, and this year (1566) in Italy at the Fortress of Pescara and at the Isola di Tremiti.... ;

Chapter LXII (Cf. Drawing no. 164 – Marini edition)... If in Malta in the year 1565 there were a trench covering the walls of Fort St. Elmo, the Turks would not have overcome and conquered St. Elmo as they did. Now, in September 1566, they are trying to take Zeghet in Hungary.... ;

Chapter LXIII (Cf. Drawing no. 165 – Marini edition). In this drawing there is no harbour in which the enemy ships could take shelter, as the Turks did in Malta in 1565.... .[50]

[p.112] De Marchi’s siege map

            Apart from the drawings of De Marchi’s ideal fortifications, the book contains a map of the siege of Malta. It is the only plate of its kind, in that it depicts a contemporary historical event. Although it impinges on a number of chapters in the volume, as has been amply demonstrated, its presence in the book strikes a slightly discordant note. Why did De Marchi draw a map of the siege? Why did he have it engraved to include it in the book? Why was it inserted by Dall’Oglio between pages 127 and 128 of his publication ostensibly to illustrate an Espositione that has no connection with Malta or its fortifications?

            These queries can be answered satisfactorily, but from sources extraneous to what was printed by Dall’Oglio. The solution lies in a manuscript copy of De Marchi’s treatise, extant in Florence at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, known as the Codice Magliabecchiano.[51] It consists of three volumes of text Trattato darchitettura militare and two volumes of plans. Chapter LXV of Book VI is entitled ESPOSITIONE SOPRAL DISEGNO DELLA FORTIFICAZIONE DELLISOLA DI MALTA, and it starts as follows:

Discorso sopra la promessa chio feci nel Libro sesto a Cap.o XLVI di uoler parlare alquanto della honoratissima difesa della Fortificatione dellIsola di Malta.[52]

            It gives an account of the salient events of the siege[53] towards the end of which De Marchi refers to the siege map in the following terms:

Hora in questo disegno ritirato dal naturale potrete considerare la battuta , tempestosa, e flagellata Isola di Malta dalle gran forze del Gran Turco che con il suo orgoglio la volea sogioggare per impatronirse di detta Isola; .... hora non dirò altro se non che la gratia del S. or Dio sintermise per la difesa, et custodia di quella Isola et liberatione di quei inuincibili Caualieri, e soldati si come il Gran mro fece uedere grande opere dellanimo, ingegno, et forza sua, e il simile si può diri di tutti li difensori cominciando dal minimo sino à i principali, donne, huomini uecchi, preti, e Fr. di tutte le sorte che si puo narrar: hauendo si numeroso esercito contra, et alli uolsi con poca speranza di soccorso per molte cause che ho detto, e che si potriano addurre: le q. ali lasciarò dire ad altri, el à quelli che ui erano infatti, ma come io molto lontano da ditta Isola di Malta in quel tempo dellassedio io mi trouaua allaltro capo della Europa cioè in Fiandra sul mare Oceano uerso Ponente, e essa Isola è allaltro capo della Europa uerso Levante ult.a Isola nominata d’Italia, però io chera auisato da miei amici, di Napoli, di Roma, di Venetia, e di Bologna mandatomi in scritto parte delle cose che occorreano in quella guerra, con mandarmi più disegni di ditta Isola, e fortezze, e porti, e batterie, et assalti, e scaramuccie che se faceano. Io ne presi di quelli, quello che a me parui e ne fece un disegno, e uolsi scrivere una parte delli sforzi che fece il Turco ed altri Re in suo aiuto per pigliare Elmo, Il [p.113] Borgo, San Michele, e Agnolo, e la Terra di Malta, con lIsola e porti del che il S.r Dio non uolse per sua diuina bontà e misericordia.[54]

            We know therefore that De Marchi intended this chapter and the accompanying map to be published in his book, and this answers the first two questions. Why the chapter was omitted by Dall’Oglio is a matter of conjecture. The most likely explanation is that the text available to Dall’Oglio was different from the copy at the Library in Florence, and that it did not contain Chapter 45 of Book VI. Indeed, the text of the Codice Magliabecchiano has corrections which do not figure in the book published by Dall’Oglio and therefore one is entitled to assume that the text used by Dall’Oglio was a first draft of the treatise.[55]

            Dall’Oglio, on the other hand, published the siege map because it formed part of the De Marchi plates he acquired. But plate 78 happened to be missing and the Malta siege map came in handy to fill the gap. That is why the text on pages 127 and 128 of the publication has no relation to the siege map sandwiched between them.[56]

            When Marini issued the 1810 edition of De Marchi’s book, he noted that the Malta siege map “niente ha che che fare colla dichiarazione.” He decided to leave it out and substitute it by a drawing of his own based on the text of Chapter 78. By the time the engraving was ready, he came across the original drawing of plate 78 and he printed it in miniature alongside his own.[57]

            [p.114] We have seen that, apart from the accounts that were regularly reaching Brussels, De Marchi was also well-supplied with news-maps of the siege. We gather from Chapter 142 that, by the 7th July, De Marchi had received three picture-maps of the siege.[58] A month later, the number had gone up to seven according to a letter addressed to G.B. Pico on the 8th August 1565:

V.S. mi mandi un disegno di Malta, ma che sia fatto da’ 15 di luglio addietro, perchè penso avere tutti gli altri: son sette, che ne tengo, differenti luno dallaltro. Questi signori, cioè il conte di Agamonte, il conte di Horno, il principe di Orange, tutti me li danno, oltre chè da Venezia me ne sono stati mandati. Io sono il suo erario delli disegni delle fortificazioni.[59]

            By the time he made some corrections to the first draft of his treatise, he had received in all ten siege maps, because the word tre of the first draft is found corrected to read dieci in the Codice Magliabecchiano. From some of those ten broadsheets, he produced his own siege map for the book (see Plate 6).

            The map is a double-page copper engraving (413 x 545 mm.)[60] beautifully executed. A decorative cartouche at the top right corner carries the title:

Ritratto dallo istesso disegno mandato da Malta doue / sonno annotate per alphabeto le cose piu notabile

followed by heights of important places[61] and a key to place-names as hereunder:

            A            Castello S. Angelo alto dal piano del acqua, Canne                                     19
            B            Borgo la fronte alta            C.                                                                            12
            C            S. Michello alto dal piano            C.                                                                10
            D            S. Helmo alto dal piano   C.                                                                    18
            E            Monte del saluatore alto      C.                                                                    10
            F            Monte delle forche alto      C.                                                                    15½
            G            Colle do S. Margarita alto            C.                                                                15½
            H            Terreni lauorati cinti de muri secchi
            I            Forte cominciato dali Turchi


            L            Giardino dell et S.or Gran Mastro
            M            Casale
            N            Porto Musetto            

            Both the title and the place-names were copied word for word from a siege map published by Antonio Lafreri[62] in Rome in 1565;[63] even the spelling and abbreviations are exactly the same. The only difference between the two legends is that place-names marked O and Q[64] in Lafreri’s map were left out by De Marchi, whilst Fonte della Marza (place-name P) was also omitted, but the spring was shown in situ with the letter P next to it.

            On the other hand, the lay-out of De Marchi’s map, the coastline, the contours of the land and several other details were copied from the second state of another siege map by Lafreri dated August 1565, entitled:

Vltimo disegno dalli forti di Malta uenuto nuouamente : / Doue si vede la battaria che fanno li Turchi per li arte-/gliaria posta In diuersi luoghi. Appresso si mostra il / luogo de doue li Turchi hanno transportato li schifi è / Barche per Terra in Mare, per dare lassalto dImprouiso / à San Michele, et come sono state Affondate dalli ss.ri / Caualieri et soldati et si Vedo il porto di Marza musetto / doue hoggi sta lArmata del Turco segnato per lettera A. / et se il tutto non è cosi limato, come si douria Imputase / alli torbolenti tempi, che non lassano fare à quelli che / sonno in malta (quali hanno mandato il disegno) le cose con / quella Comodità che se recerca, et quello che si fà, tutto / è, accio li gentili spiritj habbino Continuo Cose nuoue: / Ant. Lafrerj Romae formis 1565 de mese Augusti:[65]

            These two maps, however, differ in their essential character. Lafreri’s map was produced as an illustrated war report, contemporaneous with the events it was [p.116] describing, and, therefore, particular care was taken to isolate and render faithfully the stage the battle had reached. It was meant to convey to the public viewing it the message that:

a) St. Elmo’s resistance was at an end;

b) the Turkish fleet had entered Marsamuscetto harbour;

c) the Turkish artillery was incessantly pounding from all sides Senglea, Fort St. Angelo and Il Borgo;

d) Senglea was also being assaulted from the sea on the Marsa side by boats carried across the neck of Sceberras peninsula (as explained in the legend of the map).

            De Marchi’s map, on the other hand, is a composite illustration of different stages of the siege. It shows:

a) the Turkish fleet advancing from both the east and west side of the harbour entrance engaging the ships of the Order at the mouth of Grand Harbour;
b) the assault on St. Elmo and the scaling of the walls on the side of Marsamuscetto;
c) the artillery action against the other three defensive sites afore-mentioned;
d) the boats carried overland attacking Senglea from Marsa.[66]

            De Marchi’s map depicts in the Porto delle Galere (Dockyard Creek) the big chain stretching from Castello SantAngelo to Punta deMolini (Senglea Point), the bridge linking Senglea to Borgo hastily erected in the second week of July, and the small chain deeper inside the creek protecting the Order’s vessels lying at anchor. These features were copied from Lafreri’s August map in its second state.

            Also in keeping with this map is the outline of fortifications at Senglea, Il Borgo and St. Angelo, but those drawn by De Marchi are more elaborate and sophisticated, though not necessarily more precise. For instance, he erects four towers joined by a long curtain skirting the south and west coast of Borgo.

            Other details in De Marchi’s map must have been taken from the other Lafreri map. An interesting feature is the Turkish “fort” erected on Mount Sceberras towards the end of May. This seems to have been a strong parapet on a level with the crest of the walls of St. Elmo, constructed with sacks of wool, earth and heavy timber. The top of the parapet was crenellated, and a pennon by each of the fourteen crenelles betokened the number of guns to be placed there.[67] Lafreri’s map shows nine guns operating from this fort.

            In De Marchi’s account of the siege, there are two entries referring to its construction. First, he says that on the 25th May the Turks started erecting un bastione dinnanzi a S. Elmo which was destroyed by the guns of the defenders. Then he writes that on the 27th the Turks fecino un forte uerso la banda del porto di Marza musetto on which they installed three pieces of heavy artillery which opened fire on the porto generale delle galere e lhabitatione del Gran Mastro, e lIsola della Sengle. Meanwhile, their trenches were getting nearer to St. Elmo.

            [p.117] Some siege maps of the period also depict the Turkish fort on Mount Sceberras. It is to be seen on the maps by Hans Wolff Glaser, Mario Cartaro, Hieronymus Cock, Mathias Zündt, the Palombis and on two other maps by Lafreri.[68]

            On the other hand, other Italian maps (one of which by Domenico Zenoi) and three French maps (including those by Pierre Woeiriot de Bouzey and André Thevet) show a Turkish fort at Ponta Santa Maria, on the west side of Marsamuscetto harbour.[69] The single Turkish fort blossoms into three, placed at St. Paul’s Bay, S. Giorgio and Monte delle Forche, on another map by Zenoi (which carries also the imprint of Donato Bertelli), whilst a further map by Zenoi adds two other forts to the east of the one at Gallows Point.[70] Some other maps give prominence to the Turkish trenches on Mount Sceberras, instead of to the fort.

            Another feature copied from the Lafreri Ritratto dallo istesso disegno mandato da Malta is the presence of three gardens, namely, that of the Grand Master, one at Marsa, and the other on the heights of Santa Margherita, where De Marchi places what seems to be the Turkish headquarters. The two windmills at Senglea also appear on both maps, although the siting in De Marchi’s map is somewhat different.

            Monte delle forche or loco di giusticia was the place of execution of those condemned to death by hanging: hence its name. Practically all the siege maps emphasise the presence of the square gallows on this spot. De Marchi drew a round gibbet next to the gallows, which is to be seen on only one other siege map, an anonymous Italian production.[71]

            An unusual feature on the De Marchi map is the fairly large church on Ponta Santa Maria which is not a mere conventional symbol. It does not appear to be derived from any of the siege maps and it may well be the result of the artist’s fantasy; in the same way that churches at Senglea and Borgo are endowed with a tall pointed spire reminiscent of Flemish architecture.

            In view of the prominence conferred by De Marchi on St. Elmo ravelin in one of his chapters, and considering that it played a major part during the siege of the fort, it is rather surprising that De Marchi left it out altogether from the map drawn by him.

            The ravelin can be seen on a number of siege maps, including those by Cartaro and Cock, Pittoni and Nelli, Zenoi and Lafreri.[72] Indeed, it is a distinct feature on Lafreri’s August map. However, taken together, these maps create confusion worse confounded! On some, the ravelin is triangular, on others, it has the shape of hook; on some, it is placed towards the north west, on others, towards the south west of St. Elmo; the worst offenders are those that site it towards the south east, on the side of Grand Harbour, instead of Marsamuscetto. Lafreri’s August map, on which De Marchi placed most reliance, complicates the issue further by drawing [p.118] what are apparently two ravelins, one at the north, the other at the north east side of the fort, instead of one.[73] What was De Marchi to do?


            Writers on the history of Malta’s fortifications have included in their works only passing references to De Marchi’s book.[74] Quite recently, however, a German writer, Hanno Walter Kruft, discussed De Marchi’s siege map in an article Reflexe [p.119] auf die Turkenbelagerung Maltas (1565) in der Festungs-literatur des 16. Jahrhunderts.[75]

            Instead of comparing De Marchi’s map to the contemporary European siege maps and, in particular, to the Lafreri maps, Kruft related it to a Turkish siege map on parchment preserved at the Topkapi Museum,[76] remarking that the artillery positions of the Turks were more or less the same on both maps. He added that De Marchi’s map is not exactly dateable, that it has very precise topographical details of Malta, which De Marchi himself could hardly have known, and that it was independent of d’Aleccio’s frescoes at the Magisterial Palace in Valletta and his subsequent engravings of 1582.[77]

            Contrary to what Kruft maintains, we are in a position to date the map from De Marchi’s own statements. Writing to Pico from Brussels on the 9th November 1567, De Marchi informed him that the Malta map was ready, waiting to be engraved:

Ora si ha da intagliare una Malta che io ho fatto, tolta da più disegni, e la impresa, e la effigie mia e una fortezza in prospettiva. Il mastro che la intagliava, fuggito, perchè dicono che lha rubato uno libro, cioè uno disegno per ogni stampa. Ne haveva da stampar uno, e ne ha stampati dua. E vi è pena 400 scudi, e più quello vorrà Sua Altezza. Quello è fuggito; però, non [essendo] finita lopera dintagliare, ho trovato dua altri mastri che la finiranno.[78]

Therefore we know exactly that the Malta siege map was drawn by De Marchi some time between the end of September 1565 and early November of 1567. This dating makes it quite obvious that the map is “independent of d’Aleccio’s frescoes” (painted between 1576 and 1581) or his engravings (published in 1582), but, on the other hand, it also rules out any connection with the Turkish map. It is unrealistic to think that De Marchi could have had sight of the Turkish map so soon after the siege, even if, as Kruft says, this map was made during the siege itself.

            According to the evidence, the Malta map was engraved towards the end of 1567. The artist to whom the work had been entrusted had to finish off four plates, including the map, when he fled the country. By November 9, De Marchi had engaged two engravers, instead of one, to complete the job. Completion was now a matter of urgency and, in any case, the engravers had ample time to finish their work by the end of December, when De Marchi departed for Italy. The name of the artist who transferred to copper the Malta map has still to be established.

            [p.120] Kruft pointed out that, already in September 1565, keeping in mind St. Elmo, De Marchi was working on plans for a fortified city which he thought would have withstood with a small garrison the Turkish attack. Kruft was referring to Chapter 150 of the 1599 Brescia edition of De Marchi’s treatise, and he reproduced in his article plate 150 of the book. One could add that the results of De Marchi’s study on the fortifications of Malta are scattered in more chapters than one, and the plates, at least, accompanying Chapters 142, 146 and 159 should be taken into account to appreciate De Marchi’s work in its proper perspective.

Manuscript plan

            Finally, mention has to be made of a manuscript coloured plan of the harbour area which has no connection with De Marchi’s book but which forms part of the collection of plans in the Codice Magliabecchiano (See Plate 10). It shows in outline the perimeter walls of the fortifications of Borgo, Senglea and the new city on Mount Sceberras with St. Elmo incorporated in the enceinte. The fortifications on the eastern side of the Grand Harbour are rather sketchy, but the drawing of the new city illustrates the integral plan by Laparelli. It looks more like Drawing No. 4 in the Codex Laparelli[79] in which the Mandracchio is elliptical, rather than No. 3 where it has a rectangular shape. The plan in the Codice Magliabecchiano makes it circular and it leaves out the town plan which appears on three (out of four) of the Laparelli drawings.

            It is not known whether the plan was drawn by De Marchi, as the plans in the Codice Magliabecchiano are without any accompanying text or description. The only pointer comes from the fact that, on his return to Italy, De Marchi continued producing new drawings of fortifications. Even if he never had the opportunity to examine Laparelli’s Codex, it is highly probable that the engravings of Laparelli’s plan made by Lafreri in Rome came to his knowledge.[80]

[p.121] Conclusion

            Undoubtedly, De Marchi was one of the great figures of the sixteenth century in the field of military architecture, and the quality and excellence of his inventions of fortifications are a shrine to his immortality. The military experts of all nations benefited immensely from his writings, especially those that dominated the scene in the seventeenth century, among whom, Pietro Paolo Floriani, Antonio Maurizio Valperga, Alain Manesson Mallet, Francois Blondel, Sebastien Le Prétre de Vauban. It has even been alleged that some of the French architects appropriated De Marchi’s inventions and made them their own.[81]

            We are more concerned, however, with De Marchi in relation to Malta. It transpires from his work that the siege of Malta and its lessons were uppermost in his mind for quite some time. Devotedly, he followed the alternating fortunes of the besiegers and the defenders; almost apologetically, he wrote that he was at the other end of Europe when the siege was taking place. A profound hope for the intervention of divine providence was a recurrent theme permeating his writings on the fate of the island at the southern extremity of Europe. He must have realised, perhaps more than others, the strategic value of Malta and how the whole future of Christian Europe for four long months hung in the balance. He will not be blamed if he experienced a moment of mad euphoria when news of the liberation of the island reached Brussels on the eve of the wedding festivities he was so keen on organising.

            Perhaps, it was his wish to celebrate the occasion by leaving to posterity a graphic memento made by his own hand. However that may be, his siege map served a twofold purpose: it was an object lesson of his inventions of military architecture and it also conveyed a palpable illustration of his account of the siege. Being the product of a scholar, it was meant to educate, in contrast to the picture-maps of the siege issued by the dozen from the printing presses for the dissemination of news and, possibly, for their propaganda content to induce the Christian princes to rally to the help of the island’s desperate defenders.

            The importance of these news-maps should in no way be underestimated. The astonishing number that was produced in so short a period shows how much they were in demand all over Europe. De Marchi himself could not refrain from keeping count of how many had reached him and he was always yearning for more. Apart from those sent to him by various friends in Italy, and other places, he also had the opportunity of viewing those that had been received by members of the council of state in Brussels.

            It is not known how many copies of each siege map were printed, but it is fair to think that all the Courts of Christian Europe used to look forward to receiving their share of what the Roman, Venetian and other publishers were placing on the market.

            [p.122] It took more than seventy years after the siege for the demand to dry up. In the seventeenth century, Giovanni Orlandi and, later, Henricus van Schoel were still printing reissues of some of Lafreri’s siege maps, whilst in 1631 Anton Francesco Lucini re-engraved the siege maps made by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio in 1582. Over a few years there were three editions of Lucini’s album.

            It is not easy for us today, in the era of mass media communication, to appreciate fully the value people living centuries ago used to attach to graphic illustrations of exciting events that were happening away from hearth and home.



            In reference number 60, the author wrote that the map in the Floncel copy at the British Library (61.g.11) appeared to be in manuscript. Mr. Tony Campbell (Research Assistant, Map Room, British Library) kindly consented to examine the map, together with Mr. Peter Barber. They agreed that the map was definitely in manuscript. It was drawn on a separate sheet of browned paper which was stuck down to the appropriate leaves in the book. This confirmation reached the author when the article was already at the printer’s. Grateful thanks are due to Mr. Campbell and Mr. Barber.

[p.123] APPENDIX I


1. (Camocio, Giovanni Francesco) – Disegno del Porto di Malta, come al pre = /sente si troua assediato da turchi, cauato / da altri disegni mandati da Malta /fidelisimi, con la nota del campo d’infide = /li et altri particolari, che fin qui non si / sono ueduti. / In Venetia alla libraria dlla piramid. (1565). (330 x 460 mm).

2. Same map, second state, with the addition beneath the imprint: .A. forti Fati da turchi n sua difesa.

3. Same map, third state, with the insertion of a panel at bottom right corner with the legend: Alli Benigni Lettori L’Anno .M.D.LXV. / Essendo alli .7. di Sett: il soccorso catholico smontato a Malta.... /.... Idio li conceda Vittoria.

(Note – Possibly, there was another state between the second and the third).

4. Zündt, Mathias – Gewisse verzaychnis der insel vnd Porto Malta.... / Zü Nurmberg bey Mathias Zündten / auff S. Katterina hoff von Neyroem / aufsgangen Ao 1565. (318 x 490 mm).

5. Intiera descrittione de L’isola de Malta assediata / di Turchi co el numero de L’essercito d’essi. (260 x 187 mm).

6. La Isla de Malta. (227 x 340 mm).

7. Same map, second state.

8. l isle de Malte situee entre / la Sicile et l Aphriq ou / le pole est esleue de 34 / degrez 40 m sa longi-/tude 38 degrez 45 / mi a enuiron 30 lieues / francoyses de circuit. (290 x 380 mm).

9. Woeiriot de Bouzey, Pierre – L’ISLE DE MALTE, / ET LA VICTOIRE / des Chrestiens contre le Turc. / Stampato in Lione al di 10. di/Novembre, / 1565. PWDB F. (monogram = Pierre Woieriot De Bouzey Fecit). (260 x 193 mm).

10. Lafreri, Antonio – ISOLA DI MALTA / Disegno dell Isola di Malta con li porti et forti, come / al presente si vede, cauato dalli disegni mandati da Malta / et insieme del Campo de infideli dal quale hora si troua / assediata, et il tutto annotato per Alphabeto, /.... / In Roma per Antonio Lafreri nel anno 1565. / Con gratia et priuilegio. (372 x 514 mm). (T.360).

(Note – This is the second state of map no. 50 infra)

11. Lafreri, Antonio – Nobili, Pietro de – Reissue of map no. 10 with the additional imprint: Petri de Nobilibus Formis.

12. Pittoni, Giovanni Battista – MALTA / A letori / Volendo dimostrare pr la confusione di disegni / Quanto sieno lontani dala uerita ho uoluto da-/rre ala stampa il uero disegno qual il giorno doppo / lasalto fu portato in cicilia dal .S. rafaelo saluago / et un altroo(sic) Cap.o et e confirmato et reuisto da molti intendenti / tra li altri dal S. aurelio cicuta dottiss.o in ogni faculta dipoi / da me batt.a pittoni uicentino datto ala stampa In uenecia co puilegio. (309 x 447 mm).

13. Cartaro, Mario – Malta di nouo, et fidelmente ritratta con / i suoi forti principali et fortezze, et con i / luochi doue i Turchi ha posto l’assedio et lor / artigliarie, stampata in Roma jl 20 jugnio /1565. MKV (monogram = Marius Kartarus Viterbensis). (320 x 454 mm).

14. (Palombi, Ascanio ?) – NOVISSIMO ET VLTIMO RTTRATTO (sic) DEL’ISOLA DI MALTA / Fecit Romae / Con priuilegio. (250 x 293 mm).

15. Cock, Hieronymus – MALTA / La vraye et nouelle description de Malta / auecques les principales forteresses contrefaic=/tes au vÿf Imprime par Jeronimus Cock / aupres la nouuelle bourse aux quatre / ventz en Anuers le .24. d’octobre .1565. / LAET. DEN. COCK. COKEN / OM. TVOLCKX. WILLE. (230 x 328 mm).

16. Lafreri, Antonio – Nuouo disegno dell’Isola di Malta et suoi forti, Con li / Isola di Comino, Gozo, et altre Isole vicine, et Mostra / di parte della Sicilia, Barbaria, è, Sardegna, et l’An=/notatione della distansa di detti luoghi da Malta, / per numero de Miglia.... /.... / Ant. Lafrerj Romae Anno: 1565. (377 x 450 mm). (T.377).


18. Same map, second state.

19. NVOVO ET VERISSIMO RTTRATTO (sic) DEL’ISOLA DI MALTA / Cu gra et priuilegio. (291 x 471 mm).

20. Same map, second state.


21. Same map, third state.

(Note – This corresponds to Tooley 380, although he writes RITRATTO instead of RTTRATTO).

22. Palombi (Pietro Paolo and Ascanio?) – NVOVO ET VERISSIMO RITRATTO DEL ISOLA DI MALTA. / Vltima stapa recorretta da tutte l’altre / gia fatte fin a questo di 4 di Agosto 1565. / Palumbi Nouarien curabant Romae 1565 cú priuilegio. (313 x 424 mm). (T.379).

(Note – Erasures indicate that this is a second state of the map. A copy of the first state has not yet come to light).

23. Palombi (Pietro Paolo and Ascanio?) – Alberti, Gaspare – Same map as no. 22, but another state, with the additional imprint: Gaspar Albert. successor Palumbi, and a change in date to: 21 d Settebre 1565.

24. Nelli, Nicolo – IL PORTO DI MALTA / Nicolo Nelli uen. f. 1565. in Venetia. con Priuilegio. (312 x 444 mm).

25. Same map, second state, with the inclusion of a portrait of Jean Parisot de la Valette and the legend: L’Illustr.o F. Giouanni de Valletta gran maestro della / religione Gierosol.a nel tempo, che fu assediata Malta.

26. Zenoi, Domenico – PORTO DI MALTA / Il Vero Disegno del Porto, di Malta con le sue /Fortezze, Misure, confini, et assedio d’jnfideli, / et altre cose memorabile, per ordine d’Alphabeto, /..../ Domenico Zenoi F. (266 x 354 mm).

27. Same map, second state.

28. Zenoi, Domenico and Bertelli, Luca – Same map as no. 27, with the additional imprint: Luca Berteli formis; third state of no. 26.

29. Zenoi, Domenico – PORTO DI MALTA / Il uero ritrato uenutto nouamente, delli Porti, dll / Isola di Malta, co la pianta della nuoua cittade doue / habiterano quelli che stano hora nel borgo qui disegnato /.... / Domenico Zenoi exci. (263 x 352 mm).

30. Zenoi, Domenico – Il Porto di Malta di nuouo da molti erori / emendato, et con ogni diligenza ristampato, / con l’assedio, batterie. et Assalti, nouamete / dati da jnfideli, con le misure alteze de / ogni loco, /. . . ./ Domenico Zenoi Venetiano f. LXV. (332 x 428 mm). (See Plate 9).

31. Same map, second state.

32. Nelli, Nicolò – IL PORTO DELL’ISOLA DI / MALTA. La perfettione del quale, per no/ metter confusione fra tutti li altri, che da diuersi / diuersamente sono stati fatti, taccio; perche troppa / fatica sarebbe la mia il nominar l’infinito numero / di quei signori, che di parer conforme dicono, che / fra gl’altri quest’è ’I piu giusto. / Nicolo Nellj Ven. F. addj 8 Luglio / 1565 con Priuilegio. (395 x 310 mm).

33. Same map, second state, dated: 4 Agosto.

34. Same map, third state, dated: 5 Agosto.

35. Same map, fourth state, dated: 12 Agosto.

36. Same map, fifth state, dated: Agosto. (T.366).

37. (Nelli, Nicolò and) Duchetti, Claudio – Same map as no. 36 reissued with the cancellation of Nelli’s imprint and date and the insertion of: Claudij ducheti formis.

38. Zenoi, Domenico – Il prio lelibeo uolta al Ponete, posto nelli gra, 36,.... / .... La Citta di Malta è fondata nel’ / ombelico del’ isola posta i alteza di gra, 34, et, 40. m. et in longhezza di, 38, / gra, et 48, m. la lunghezza del’isola corre p 20, miglia, ponete et leuate / et di larghezza da l’ostro á tramontana farra da, 14 miglia in circa. / Questa isola era assai famosa appresso gli antichi, massime doppo il naufra/gio di S. Paulo, in quel luogo, ma famosissima é á nostri tempi, p esser posse-/duta da’ Caualieri dell’ordine di S. Giouani, a quali la diede Carlo, V, Imp. / Domenico / Zenoi exci. (263 x 356 mm).

39. Lafreri, Antonio – Ritratto dallo istesso disegno mandato da Malta dotte / sonno annotate per alphabeto le cose piu notabile. /.... / In Roma per Antonio Lafreri nel anno 1565. / Con gratia & priuilegio. (373 x 492 mm). (See Plate 7).

40. Same map, second state. (T.383).

41. Lafreri, Antonio – Vltimo disegno delli forti di Malta uenuto nuouamente: /.... / et se il tutto non è cosi limato, come si douria Imputase / alli torbolenti tempi, che non lassano fare à quelli che / sonno in malta (quali hanno mandato il disegno) le cose con / quella Comodità che se recerca, et quello che si fà, tutto / è, accio li gentili spiritj habbino Continuo Cose nuoue: / Ant. Lafrerj Romae formis 1565 de mese Augusti: (355 x 510 mm). (See Plate 8).

42. Same map, second state. (T.384).


43. Lafreri, Antonio – Orlandi, Giovanni – Same map as no. 42, reissued with the additional imprint: Ioannes Orlandi formis romae 1602.

44. Zenoi, Domenico – L’Vltimo disegno de l’jsola di Malta, con la / uera liberatione dell’inimiche forze, quale dopo / l’hauer lungo tempo assediato & dato jnfiniti / Assalti alle forteze & d’esse la maggior parte / Rouinate, si parte & fugge dalle mani dell’inuitiss.o / S. D. Cartia /.... / Domenico Zenoi Venetiano.f. 00 D LXV. (337 x 431 mm). (T.385).


46. Zenoi, Domenico – Verissimo disegno del Porto di Malta con le sue fortezze, / misure et assedio d’jnfideli, et altre cose memorabile per / ordine d’Alphabeto, et prima dimostra la lettera, /..../ Domenico Zenoi, Venetiano, F. 1565. con jl mio priuilegio. (375 x 520 mm).

47. Zenoi, Domenico – Bertelli, Donato – Same map as no. 46, second state, with the additional imprint of Bertelli: In Venetia Alla libraria del S. Marco, D. B.

48. Same map as no. 47, third state of no. 46.

49. Same map as no. 47, fourth state of no. 46. (T.387).

50. Il Vero Disegno dell’Isola di Malta / con li suoi Porte, Fortezze, Confini, et / assedio d’jnfideli, et cose memorabili / fatte fino à questo di .10. Giugno .1565. (372 x 514 mm). (T.368).

(Note – This map was reissued by A. Lafreri with his imprint, a different title and some alterations to the plate. The reissue is described under no. 10 supra).

51. Nelli, Nicolò – IL VERO RITRATTO DE L’ISOLA D MALTA / MELITA Insula, quam hodie MALTA uocant, medio fere / mediterranei maris transitu,..../.... nunc Sacri Hierosol: ordi: equites / contra Turcarum impetus eandem cum ingenti gloria sustinent. / Nicolo Nelli V. F. 1565. (275 x 362 mm).

52. Thevet, André – Le vray portraict de l’Isle, & des forts de Malte, Asiegee Ian .M.D.LXV. PAR. LES. TVRCS. / ANDRE. THEVET. MA. FAICT. 1565 (410 x 570 mm).

53. Franck, Mattheus – Warhafftige beschreibung der Porto von Malta mit allen jren vestungen sampt der / belegerung des Erbfeinds dess Türcken.... / Getruckt zu Augspurg durch Mattheum Francken. (259 x 347 mm).

54. Glaser, Hans Wolff – Zeitung auss der Insel Malta welche den Herren Rittern Johanniter ordens zugehörig /.... /.... Auss Messina gesch ziben den 21. and 24. Junij diss Lauffenden 1565 Jars. / Zu Nurmberg bey Hans Wolff Glaser. (400 x 486 mm).



Alberti, Gaspare – 23

Bertelli, Donato – 47 – 49

Bertelli, Luca – 28

Camocio, Giovanni Francesco – 1 – 3

Cartaro, Mario – 13

Cock, Hieronymus – 15

Duchetti, Claudio – 37

Franck, Mattheus – 53

Glaser, Hans Wolff – 54

Lafreri, Antonio – 10 – 11, 16, 39 – 43

Maître – V. Palombi, Ascanio

Maître D B – V. Bertelli, Donato

Maître T B – 45

Nelli Nicolò – 24 – 25, 32 – 37, 51

Nobili, Pietro de – 11

Orlandi, Giovanni – 43

Palombi, Ascanio – 14, 22 – 23

Palombi, Pietro Paolo – 22 – 23

Pittoni, Giovanni Battista – 12

Thevet, André – 52

Woeiriot de Bouzey, Pierre – 9

Zenoi, Domenico – 26 – 31, 38, 44, 46 – 49

Zündt, Mathias – 4

(Maps nos. 5 – 8, 17 – 21 and 50 are anonymous).



1. The number given in brackets at the end of some maps, e.g. (T.360) at the end of map no. 10. is a bibliographical reference to R.V. Tooley’s list, namely, “Maps in Italian atlases of the sixteenth century,” Imago Mundi, Vol. 3 (1939), pp. 12-47. Some of the variants listed in this Appendix do not have a separate number in Tooley’s list. The author has applied Tooley’s number to the state which is the more common. For instance, under no. 383 Tooley records eight copies extant in various libraries. Almost all the copies he mentions belong to the second state of the map; therefore, Tooley’s number has been applied in the Appendix to map no. 40 rather than to no. 39 which is the first state.

2. Although in the text of the article they have been throughout referred to as ‘maps,’ all the siege maps listed herein are either maps of the island or plans of the harbour area. There are 22 maps and 32 plans as hereunder:

(a) maps – nos. 4 – 11, 14, 16 – 23, 38, 44, 50 – 52;

(b) plans – nos. 1 – 3, 12 – 13, 15, 24 – 37, 39 – 43, 45 – 49, 53 – 54.

3. All the maps listed herein were printed on white paper, except Lafreri’s Ritratto dallo istesso disegno .... (plate 7), both in the first and second state (nos. 39 and 40), for which grey-blue-paper was used. A late impression of another Lafreri map (no. 10) was printed on green-blue paper.


Extracts from

DELLA ARCHITETTVRA MILITARE, del CAPITANIO FRANCESCO DE’ MARCHI BOLOGNESE, GENTIL’HVOMO ROMANO. Brescia, 1599. Appresso Comino Presegni. Ad instanza di Gasparo dall’Oglio.

p. 236 Espositione sopra il Disegno della pianta CXXXXII, Capitolo Centesimo qvarantesimo secondo. Qvesta è vna Cortina con doi Bellouardi, con le Casematte retirate ll’indentro, & ha vn Caualliero posto al mezzo della Cortina, & ha doi Pontoni, & vn Reuellino dinanzi delle mura, & vna strada coperta all’intorno de fossi: si come mostra ’l dissegno....

  237 ....Ad ũque questi Potõni, e Reuelini sono bonissimi, & vtilissimi, come dico hauer scritto nel discorso della Piãta settima, e perche alle volte ho hauuto da disputare, e da parlare vn poco alto cõ alcuni, che nõ voleuano, che detti Põtoni, e Reuelini fossino buoni, per che era cosa nuoua à loro, il nome, e figure de Põtoni, né Reuelini, fatte in questa figura per essere io stato il primo l’inuẽtore, li pareua cosa strana: hora Iddio me ha fatto gratia, che almeno se non hò veduto cõ l’occhio corporale, ho visto con la vista della mente: si come hò sentito dire l’effetto, che fanno li Reuelini fatti in questa figura: dico che hoggidì siamo alli 28. di Giugno, & alli 4 e 7 di Luglio 1565. Ho veduto tre[i] dissegni dell’Isola di Malta con la fortificatione fatta da quelli valorosissimi Cauallieri di S. Giouañi: nella quale fortificatione è vna fortezza detta S. Ermo, situata alla bocca delli doi porti: si come mostra li tre disegni fatti da diuerse persone, ma tutti tornano quasi à uno, almeno à situare la fortificatione fatta dalli Cauallieri, e massime la fortezza di S. Ermo; perche ella è la prima saltata dalla gran armata Turchesca, doue passa ventimila[ii] fanti Turchi da combattere, e passano ducẽto vele; la qual armata è vna delle grandi che il Turco habbia mandato mai fuori de Constantinopolj, ò altri paesi suoi. Hora questa fortificatione di S. Ermo, ha un Pontone, ò reuellino dinanzi staccato dal circolo delle mura, come la ragione vuole: del che non lo sò de certo, se nõ come dicono le scritture che vẽgono: hora li Turchi hanno battuto sette giorni con quattordeci Cannoni da cinquata libre di palla, e con vn Basilisco che porta cento libre di palla, & hanno battuto vn Caualliero, Bellouardi, & altre diffese al solito secondo la relatione: poi hãno battuto il Reuellino, e fatteli batteria: in modo che all’hora pareua fosse assai per potere pigliare detto Reuellino: e così gli lanizeri, & altra forte de Turchi andarno all’assalto, la doue ne morirono de molti: diceua il primo auiso cinquecẽto, e doi Sãghiachi, del che per la gran moltitudine delli Turchi vinsero li Cauallieri & altri diffensori, che erano nel Reuelino: li quali eran pochissimi rispetto alli Turchi, ma fecero gran diffese, e belle proue del valore loro, dove ne restorno morti da trẽta delli Christiani: li Turchi presero il Reuellino, ma furno rebuttati adietro da quelli della fortezza; perche arriuãdo gli Ianizeri, & altri Turchi sopra la Piazza del Reuellino, nõ haueuano riparo nessuno dinanzi, doue cõ l’Archebuseria, e l’Artegliaria, & altri simili instromenti: gli valorosi Cauallieri, & altri diffensori li riggitorno fuora del Reuellino, cõ perdita de molti de loro Turchi, e de molti feriti che restorno nelli fossi: li quali Turchi domãdauano in gratia la morte, & altri da bere; il che non sò quale li fosse concesso, pensarò alcuni la vita, & altri la morte. Adunque li Pontoni, e Reuellini, & Alloni son utilissimi, si come s’è veduto in effetto nell’Isola de Malta l’anno 1565. il Mese di Maggio, e de Giugno, tale nuoue haueraño per tutto il 8. del Mese di Luglio, ma del successo aspettaremo altre nuoue de detto forte S. Ermo: hora tornaremo alli Reuelini, se la batteria che fatto haño li Turchi nel Reuellino ò Pontone hauessero fatto nelle mura la medesima batteria, ò farsi piu haueriano fatto nella Cortina, e il medesimo, ò più assalti, ò con maggior numero d’huomini haueriano dato l’assalto alla fortezza di S. Ermo: la quale saria stata in pericolo la di nõ essere presa da Turchi, e per l’aiuto, e diffesa del Reuellino non la presero, e così voglia Iddio, che nõ possino hora ne mai pigliare cosa de Christiani....

242          Espositione sopra il Disegno della pianta CXXXVI. Capitolo Centesimoqvadragesimosesto.

Qvesto è vn dissegno d’vna fortificatione di quattro Bellouardi con le Casematte in essi retirate all’indentro, e sei Cauallieri, & vna strada coperta alla diffesa d’vna Cortina, ancora che quattro Cauallieri possono diffendere vn’altra parte della fortezza, si come si puo comprendere nel dissegno: hora si propone che questo sito sia nella punta d’vn Promontorio de Mare, si come è [p.128] alcuna fortezza, e si propone, che dalle doi bande vi sia porti con Isole in esse: e che detto sito sia ripido, & alto almeno fuori d’ogni gran scala, che s’vsa in guerra, che sarà de quattordeci in quindeci brazza. Dico, che la fortezza si deue fare in su ’l filo del Mõte..... Adunque bisognerà....che l’armate non possano intrare nelli doi porti, ne stare sotto il monte al sicuro, sarà necessario à cauare vn largo fosso, e farlo profondo la metà della larghezza se sarà possibile, a tale nõ sia così facile à intrarui, ne à vscire de essi, ma quello che più importa, è che non si possa riempirui, ne gittarui ponti sopra artificiati, si come è stato gittato ad alcuna fortezza da settãt’anni innãzi....3 Hora li Turchi alla presa del forte di S. Ermo, nell’Isola di Malta per pigliare detto forte hanno fatto simili ponti, ma il primo li fù rotto, & abbrusciato, così dice gli auisi, e lettere stampate, il secondo che fecero lo copersero di terra, e di pietra; perche non lo potessere brusciare; e perche non se rompesse l’appontarono con l’antene delle Galere, e con esso arriuorno alla batteria: però se il fosso fosse stato largo, e profondo, non saria stato così facile à gittare detto ponte, e se li fossi fossero stati profondi, non sariano stati così facili da riempire, come fecero, ancora che li siano costo cari: ho hauuto vna lettera dal Mag. M. Girolamo Bernardo gentil’huomo Venetiano con vn dissegno di Malta, con il forte de S. Ermo: il quale me scriue, che quattro mila Turchi son morti in più volte, per pigliare il detto forte de S. Ermo, e cinquecãto Christiani: li fossi furono riempiti de fascine, e de palle di lana, e de Turchi, e Mori, che quiui morsero. Adunque se li fossi fossero stati più larghi, e più profondi, non saria forsi perso il detto forte di S. Ermo, ma quello che più importaua era che non haueuano huomini da stare alle diffese, oltra che il luoco era piccolo, e l’Artegliaria battẽdo le mura cõ li pezzi della pietra amazzaua molti de Christiani: per non ui essere cosa doue stare potessero al ridosso, per saluarsi

243   da quelli frangenti di pietra. Però è buono hauere grossi Cauallieri, e più ancora altri luochi da starui al coperto da tali pericoli, e conseruare li diffensori per il tempo della diffesa da gli assalti....

244         Poi quelle Isole, che li sono dalli lati; fortificaria secondo fosse la lor grandezza, e la necessità di fortificare: del che saria di parere, che se fortificassero, pur che vi fosse la commodità del tutto, & il tempo me fosse concesso, à tale se li nemici pigliassero vna fortezza, non per quello fossero patroni del luoco, ma che hauessero da combattere più luochi, si come hanno hora li Turchi nell’Isola di Malta: se non vi fosse stato se non la fortezza di S. Ermo, già li Turchi haueriano potuto andare à fare vn’altra impresa; perche l’è vn’armata de ducento Galere, e più senza le Naue, & altri Legni, trà grandi, e piccoli, doue passano venticinque milla huomini, e perche vi è ancora la fortezza del Borgo: e quella del Castello S. Angelo: e quella di S. Michele: non hanno ancora potuto pigliare il tutto, tale nuoua hauemo hoggidì che siamo alli 7 d’Agosto 1565. e li Turchi gli andorno sopra alli sei di Maggio, e per essere più luochi da combattere non hanno per ancora potuto farsi patroni de detta Isola de Malta. Adunque sarà pur buono hauere più luochi da combattere, massime doue non se li può dar soccorso così facilmente: ho voluto far questo discorso sopra di questa Pianta, in risposta de alcuni che dicono l’è poca cosa al fortificare, sì à parole, ma à fatti vi è da dire assai, e più da fare à chi si vuole gouernare con ragione.... Tornando al proposito di Malta hoggi che siamo alli dieci di Settembre 1565. non hanno ancora li Turchi preso la Fortezza di S. Michele, ne ’l Borgo, ne ’l Castello S. Angelo, ma hãno ben fatto de molti forti all’intorno, e con sessanta, e più Cannoni hanno battuti, con gran prestezza molte settimane detti luochi, e per ancora son fuori, e spero che resteranno con perdita, e vergogna tutti loro Turchi, e Mori, & altre nation infedeli: questi tre luochi son diffesi dalli valorosissimi Cauallieri dell’ ordine di San Giouanni, con Signori e Cauallieri, e Soldati Italiani, Spagnoli, e Francesi: li quali l’vn, e l’altre nationi sono da cordo in questo luoco, e senza timore della vita loro combatteno, e cõseruano dette fortezze, contra la forza del Turco: doue sono più de dodeci Turchi contra à vn Christiano à proportione del gran numero delli Turchi. Adunque se io ho detto che le fortezze che hauerãno più d’vna forza da combattere non dissi male; perche se vn solo luoco haueua da cõbattere li Turchi in quella Isola era dubbioso che non la pigliassero in principio per il gran numero ch’erano li Turchi, e per il gran numero d’Artegliaria grossa, e monitione, & vittouarie che con essi haueuano, e hora nõ hanno più le forze à vn gran prezzo che haueuano prima: perche hò detto in alcuni luochi che le fortezze, che non se li può dar soccorso facilmente, che per forti che le siano sono pericolose, dannose, de non se perdere. Vedasi hora, la Maestà del Rè Filippo hà in Cicilia vna grossissima armata de Galere cento, e cinque, e sessanta Naui armate, & vn grosso Galeone di Portogallo, senza gl’altri Vaselli minori, con vn essercito grosissimo de Italiani, e Spagnuoli, & altre nationi mescolate con essi, e per generale di detto essercito è l’Illustrissimo Don Garcia de Toledo, con molti altri Signori e Cauallieri de grand’ingegno, & [p.129] valore della vita loro, delle nationi su sopra: dico se detta armata potrà passare in detta Isola à combattere con li Turchi, che se li mangiaranno con li denti, ò li diliuuieranno, come fa il Mare alcuni legni per fortuna: dico ancora che se fossero minor numero, si come per relatione hauemo dal detto Ill. Sig. Ascanio dalla Cornia, che vn dieci milla fanti che li diano nell’Isola, s’obligat di fare fuggire li Turchi, e leuare l’assedio, ò rõpere essi Turchi per forza, ma il rischio di maggior cosa che non è Malta tiene l’Eccell. di Don Garcia, & tutto il suo Consiglio, à non auinturare, e porre à risco l’armata, cioè cento, e cinque Galere, contra ducento, e più che ne tiene il Turco: ho voluto adurre à memoria il discorso mio fatto sopra le Fortezze, che non se possono soccorrere facilmente, e de questa opinione de fortezze di che ho narrato di sopra, ho sempre sentito essere l’illustrissimo Signor Conte d’Aghamonte.

252            Espositione sopra il discorso della Pianta CL. Capitolo Centesimoqvinqvagesimo.

Qvesto è vn Discorso sopra d’vna Fortificatione, de otto Bellouardi, & otto Cauallieri, e cinque Pontoni, e doi Alloni dalli lati circondati da fossi con vna strada all’intorno, e coperta da vn Parapetto. Se propone che questo sia vn sito alla ripa del Mare, e che detta ripa sia di pietra, e ripida, & alta fuori de scala: si come de molti se ne troua, & da quella parte verso Terraferma; doue si può andare con esserciti, e che si può battere à quella parte, se li deue prouedere al più che sarà possibile; cioè de fossi, de Pontoni, de Reuellini, de Alloni, de Casematte, e refugij, e molte altre cose che non le scriuerò per non replicare. Adunque à quelle Citta, ò Terre, ò Castelli, ò Fortezze, ò Rocche, che saranno situate in luoco per doue non se li possa andare, se non per vna via. Dico che quanto alla fortezza sarà forte, circa al combattere detto luoco: ma lasciaremo da banda gli inconuenienti, che occorreno à quelle fortezze, che sol per vn luoco andare se vi può; ma sole attenderemo alla fortificatione. Circa del combattere detto luoco: dico che con minor numero d’huomini, e de Artegliaria se possono guardare dette fortezze, del che se ne sente vn vtile grande, circa alla spesa del danaro, per stipendiare li Soldati, e così per la gran quantità delle vittouarie che gli vuole; poi la spesa dell’Artegliaria è grãde, doue ne auuiene che à quelle fortezze che bisogna tenerle fornite per tutto, e che à ogni hora son molestate da correrie de nemici da ogni banda, del che dano occasione d’hauere à tirare con Artegliaria; si come hò veduto fare in più luochi, e come à me è occorso de fare: dico che gran quantità de poluere, e palle se tira via, le quali palle, e poluere sogliono mancare, e presto: si come in molti luochi assediati è mancato detta monitione, e per tale effetto si son persi, ò resi. Adunque la fortezza che sarà situata, si come io la descriuo, e dissegno, sarà fortissima, & auantagiosa per il Patrone di essa, per le cause su sopra, e molte altre se ne potria dire, che per breuità non scriuo. Se me potria dire, che il poco numero d’huomini, non può resistere contra il gran numero de nemici, per gli assalti reforzati, che danno più volte con gran numero de scale, ò senza, ma per le batterie fatte vogliono intrare, si come ha fatto hora l’anno mille cinquecento e sessanta cinque, il Turco nell’Isola di Malta al forte di Santo Ermo, il Mese di Giugno adì 28. il quale v’era con vn essercito tanto grande, che il detto forte doppò sette assalti si perse per li pochi diffensori, l’è vero che li pochi contra li molti sono pericolosi, per forte che sia il luoco: ma se io dico pochi diffensori vorriano à questa fortezza, dico à proportione de quelli che gli voriano se la se hauesse da guardare all’intorno: si come sol da vna banda se potrà,

253    almeno tenere vn terzo meno de Soldati, e così d’Artegliaria, e se potrà tenere forniti tutti li Pontoni, & Alloni. Tornando alla fortezza di Santo Ermo, se l’hauesse hauuta questa fortificatione dinanzi, come io descriuo, e disegno: dico che non l’haueria mai presa, perche il Turco non haueria potuto battere le mura di Sant’Ermo, se non dal cordone in sù, e più assalti saria stato bisogno che l’hauesse dato: dico che sette assalti saria stato bisogno dar prima, che ’l fosse peruenuto alle mura della fortezza à volerse impatronire delle diffese della fortezza, e forsi ne haueriano dato molto più, e doppò che hauessero preso vn Pontone, ò Allone sariano stato regittati adietro, ò amazzati da gli Archibusieri, & Artegliaria delli diffensori, che se sà bene che non si può portare riparo à vn’assalto che resista all’Artegliaria, malamente all’Archebusiate, & non per tutto il corpo, saluo al capo, & al petto, & la schiena, à pena si può portare questo, e se li Turchi fussero intrati nelli fossi per scalare le mura, li diffensori delli Pontoni, & Alloni haueriano offesi li Turchi per li fianchi, e per le spalle, che da questa offesa malamente nessuno si può diffendere, e quelli della fortezza gli haueriano battuti per li fianchi, del che senza dubio per vn Turco che morisse, ne saria morti almeno quattro, ò più; perche da quattro luochi potriano essere stati offesi: cioè tre in faccia, & vno per le spalle, se non hauessero voluto pigliare le diffese che dissegno nelli fossi: poi dissegno vna retirata, che doppò che fossero superate tutte le forze dinanzi, quelli diffensori che restati fossero se possano retirare in saluo, doue minor numero [p.130] bastarà à diffendere detta retirata: la quale ha vn largo, e profondo fosso dinanzi, con doi mezzi Bellouardi, e li daria questa figura curua, perche da se medesima si potesse diffendere con li tiri de gli Archibusi, & Artegliaria, come si può considerare per quelle linee che vsiscono fuori: auuertendo che in quella piazza, che è tra la retirata, & il cinto delle mura, non le faria habitatione nessuna; ma lasciarla solo piazza, ouero li faria capane di paglia, e legni, che facilmente se potessero disfare, ò brusciare, questo se potriano fare in tempo di guerra per poterui tenere li Soldati al coperto, ma solo bastarà ordinariamente l’habitatione delli Corpi di Guardia, li quali si potriano fare nelle Piazze delli Bellouardi: io lasciarò iudicare à ogni huomo che se intenda de fortificare: se gli valorosi Cauallieri della Religione di San Giouanni, con gli valenti Soldati, che con essi haueano: se il Turco con quanta possanza tenga, se hauessero hauuto la sua fortificazione de Santo Ermo, in questo modo se l’haueriano mai persa, nè con le sue batterie, nè con li suoi assalti, nè con scale, nè con li ponti portatiui che fecero: nondimeno dalli sei di Maggio per fino à hoggi che siamo alli ventiotto di Settembre 1565. non hauemo nuova in Fiandra, che li Turchi habbiano con il suo grande, & sforzato essercito potuto vincere, nè superare quelli valorosi Cauallieri di Malta, con li suoi valenti, & honorati diffensori, che in esse sono: vi è ancora il Forte di Santo Michele: il Borgo, & il Castello Sant’Angelo da combattere, & la Terra di Malta dentro nell’Isola, doue sono gli huomini dell’Isola. Tornarò al mio dissegno, dico che quella parte verso il Mare, che non farei mai andare il circolo delle mura sù per il filo della ripa del scoglio, à tale che le armate de nemici non possa mai battere le mura: ma saluo possano discoprire li Cauallieri dal Cordone in sù, & ancora non molto appresso, ma tanto che l’Artegliaria delli Cauallieri possa arriuare alle sue armate con vn tiro visto de Artegliaria, e perche questa Fortezza essendoui retirata à questo modo indentro, che le armate non la possano battere. Dico che la fortezza non può ancora lei nocere alle armate de nemici, e che le uerriano sotto alla ripa, e seriano sicure ogni volta che le fossero tanto lontane, che gli Archibusi non le potessero molestare. Adunque per questo io faria vn fosso largo, & all’intorno vna strada coperta, e se fosse il sito di pietra, che non se potesse cauare se non con grauissima spesa, e tempo, e fatica assai, io lo cauaria puoco, & nella ripa, e strada di fuori cauaria de molte Cannoniere, le quali vscirebbono fuori del scoglio, e le squarzaria assai di fuori, e li daria gran pendio, à tale io potessi accommodare Artegliaria nelli fossi per potere offendere le armate de nemici, che quì intorno fossero: si come si può vedere, e considerare nel dissegno: & se per sorte il scoglio non fosse in alcuna parte così ripida, come si cõueria, dico che si deue scarpare se sarà possibile, ouero serrare con grossi, & alti muri, che li nemici non possano salire sù per il scoglio, & il detto scoglio non vorria essere meno alto de vn’arboro de Naue, ò de Galera, à tale che gli arbori, e gaggie, non seruissero, come fecero ad Alessandro quando combattè la Città de Tiro, che fece come vn Castello in cima dell’arboro, della sua Naue: si come scrive Quinto Curtio nelle guerre, ò vità de Alessandro. Adunque questo sito saria fortissimo, e tanto più saria forte; perche non haueria porto per li nemici: la Penisola, ò Promontorio faria porto per la commodità de potersi porre al ridosso per la trauersia de alcuni venti: questo non hauere porto sicuro doue li nemici si possono porre à disbarcare, rende ancora fortezza, si come ancora si può vedere per esperienza nell’Isola di Malta, che per la commodità de

254    porti non diffesi, li Turchi son stati sicuri, e per il contrario si vidde nel Giero quãdo l’Imperatore Carlo V. vi andò con vna grosissima, e fiorita armata l’anno 15 . e per non hauere porto doue se potesse sbarcare, vna crudelissima fortuna li gittò vna parte delli suoi vaselli à trauerso, come si legge in più Istorie. Se detta fortezza fusse in vna Isola, e la non hauesse porto buono, e sicuro non la stimaria forte per quãto buone qualità l’hauesse; perche vna fortezza nell’Isola senza porto nõ la stimo, perche sempre saria assediata da se per molte cause, che le lascierò trascorrere, à chi de tal’essercitio si diletta: ma à vna fortezza che sia in Terraferma, non gli accade così il porto, come si può considerare: vero è, che quando vi fosse, e posto in modo che li nemici, non se ne potessero impatronire, che saria più forte, e più potria venire grãde d’Imperio, e de richezze....

255    ... Si me potrà dire che questa fosse vna gran fabrica, e spesa, io non nego che non sia così, ma quanto maggior fabriche ha fatto la Maestà dell’Imperatore Carlo Quinto, e la Maestà del Rè Filippo Catolico de Spagna, e la Maestà del Rè Francesco di Franza, e del Rè Henrico, e li Serenissimi Signori Venetiani in più luochi ogn’uno delli sopranominati, .... Tornando al nostro proposito non sara meglio il fortificare da vera, che da burla? & in modo che si leva l’animo alli nemici de volere assalire vna fortificazione non sarà minore spesa? considerando gli esserciti grandissimi che fanno li Rè, e gl’Imperatori, per diffendere alle volte vn luoco, ò per darli soccorso: vedasi il Rè Francesco de Franza, che essercito fece per dar soccorso à Landersì nel Paese d’Artusi, & [p.131] all’incontro quello che fece la Maestà dell’Imperatore Carlo Quinto per vietarli, & il luoco non è se non vna piccola Fortezza in vn padullo. Non si vede hora la Maestà del Rè Filippo Catolico, che per dar soccorso alli valorosi Cauallieri de Malta contra la forza del gran Turco, che con più de 215. Galere senza le Naue dette Maone, & altri legni armati, e con tanta Artegliaria, il qual Turco stà nell’Isola di Malta, lontano da Cecilia sessanta miglia, & il buon Rè per la salute delle anime, e delli corpi Christiani, se apose à questa gran forza, & armato cento e cinque Galere, e settanta Naue, e se più Galere si trouasse più ne armaria: oltra questa spesa de l’armata ha ancora armato in Cecilia, e nel Regno de Napoli, e in altri luochi, doue fà vna spesa intollerabile, per non lasciare andare i Christiani in mano d’infedeli, à ogni Mese li costa più che non farà questa fortificatione. Adunque si deue pensare di fortificare in modo che nessuno basta l’animo de pigliare detta fortezza, se non è per doi cause, vna per tradimento, e l’altra per assedio. Se il Turco hauesse pensato de stare cinque Mesi sopra à Malta, con così granda armata, son di parere che non haueria mandata in tale luoco, ma in altri, che con minore fatica haueria forse prese, e fatto maggior guadagno: la causa che non ha presa detta Malta: la prima dalli buoni Cauallieri, & altri Soldati, che non curano la morte per la Religione Christiana, e per la libertà loro: poi per la fortezza delli quattro luochi appresso l’vn all’altro, in modo che se poteuano soccorrere l’vn all’altro, cioè il Borgo capo de tutto, per essere il maggiore, e doue stà l’Illustrissimo gran Maestro; per il Castello S. Angelo, e per il Castello di San Michele, e per il Porto di S. Ermo. Adunque per li più luochi da combattere, e per li buoni diffensori, e per il soccorso grandissimo che tiene la Maestà del Rè Filippo in ordine, fa che li Turchi non se attentano à stare in terra, nè in mare se non in Grosso, massime dapoi che son stati rebattuti, e disfatti in più fattioni: ancora li Turchi patiscano del magnare estremamente, perche non de legiero li può venire vittouarie: del che quì in Brusselles si spera di sapere in termine d’otto giorni al più d’hauere buona nuoua contra li Turchi, cioè che siano rotti, ò fuggiti, ò che contra la forza loro sia soccorso l’Isola di Malta con le fortezze. Adunque Serenissima Madama Margherita d’Austria gran Gouernatrice di Fiandra, e delli Paesi Bassi, che possede la Maestà del Rè Filippo, in compagnia de gl’Illustrissimi Signori del

256    gran Conseglio de Stati di Fiandra, e de tutto lo Stato per di quà, che è l’Eccellentia dell’Illustriss. Conte Amorales, ò d’Aghamonte, e l’Eccellenza dell’Illustriss. Prencipe d’Oranghie Gulielmo di Nasao, e l’Eccellenza del Cõte d’Horno Filippo Baron de Memoransi, & Armiraglio: che tutti questi tre sono del Cõseglio maggiore, e Gouernatori de Prouincie, e Città, e Terre, e Fortezze, e Rocche, e Castelli. Adunque Illustrissimi Signori, perche l’Eccellenze vostre son Prencipi, e Signori de grande affare, e della guerra Maestri, si come più volte, & in più luochi l’Eccellenza vostre l’hanno fatto vedere, e sempre che se gli appresentarà l’occasione faranno il medesimo per l’honor suo, e per seruitio del suo Rè, e delli Popoli di questi Paesi, & altri doue se ritrouaranno à tal’imprese. Adunque à questo fauijssimo, & alto, e poderoso Consiglio lascierò considerare non tanto questa figura de fortificatione, ma tutta l’opera giunta insieme, perche cominciando dall’altezza di Madama Margherita d’Austria figliola dell’Imperatore Carlo Quinto, & à voi altri Illustriss. Prencipi sopranominati del Consiglio, quelli vederanno la longa fatica, la pacienza, la spesa, che và in fare vna tale opera, però con tutt’il cuore la dono, e la presento alla Maestà del Rè Filippo Catolico di Spagna, & appresso all’altezza di Madama Margherita d’Austria, mia antica Padrona, & à voi altri gran Prencipi sopranominati, con altri Prencipi, e Signori di questi honoratissimi, e buoni paesi bassi della Maestà del Rè Filippo Catolico di Spagna.

            Di Brusselles adì 27. di Settembre 1565. Francesco de Marchi da Bologna Cittadino Romano: Questo Disegno, e Discorso è al numero di cento cinquanta.

            Espositione sopra il Disegno della Pianta CLV. Capitolo Centesimoqvinqvagesimoqvinto.

Qvesta è vna fortificatione di sette Bellouardi, & vna Piattaforma, e tre Cauallieri, con vn largo, e profondo fosso..... ma che diremo più, vedasi nell’Isola di Malta, come hanno fortificato il forte di S. Ermo vltimamente, e il forte di San Michele, & il Borgo, che con tirare alte, e durissime pietre hanno fatto larghi, e profondi fossi che senza quello li Turchi acquistariano il forte di S. Michele, & il Borgo, & il forte di S. Angelo, sì come fecero il sito di S. Ermo, che non era così bene fortificato, e se detta fortezza fosse situata in luoco doue la pala, e zappa, e garauma hauesse potuto operare, li Turchi l’haueriano presa nõ solo cõ e zappe, ma cõ il graffiare delle mani tanti erano, e cosi potẽti: ma per il sito di pietra non poteuano minare, nè tagliare, nè zappare, nè vangare, nè farsi repari dinãzi, la doue ne fu morti de molti de Turchi, per non hauere terreno da repararsi dall’Artegliarie de gli valorosi Cauaglieri dell’ordine di San Giouanni: li Turchi [p.132] intrarono più volte nelli fossi de Borgo, e non poteuano far nulla per essere la ripa, ò riparo tagliato nel sasso. Adunque per il valore delli Cauallieri, & altri diffensori, e per la fortificatione del sito, il Turco con quanta forza hauea mandato non puote pigliare tal fortezza, e parti cõ

267            vergogna, e danno con gran perdita de Soldati, e ciurma de legni nauigabili....

274            Espositione sopra il Disegno della Pianta CLIX. Capitolo Centesimoqvinqvagesimonono.


Qvesto è vn dissegno d’vna fortificazione di noue Bellouardi senza Casamatta, ma le Canoniere delli fianchi son retirate all’indentro.... dinota d’hauere vn largo, e profondo fosso all’intorno

275    senza acqua.... Adunque questa saria vna fortezza d’vna grandezza, che vi potria capire sette, ò otto milla combattenti in essa, doue si potria tenere Caualleria per la sua capacità, e saria di poca spesa, cioè à quella che s’vsa in questi tempi, ma chi volesse fare detta fortificatione de minore spesa, facciala di terreno cõ vna camiscia di lotta erbosa, e senza legnami in essa, la quale saria fortissima essendo in questa figura, e di questa grandezza, & chi la volesse fare in piu breue tẽpo, se nel detto luoco sarà comodità de stippa, ò fascine, ò frasce, riẽpiscasi li repari di questo legname susopra che in breue se alzarà li repari, e questo lo dico per quelli che dicono che saria vna grandissima spesa à fare d’alcune di queste mie fortificationi, che sono dissegnate, e scritte in questa mia opera, ma voria sapere da quelli tali che fortificano in questo modo di fascina grassa, e terra per quanto tempo le fanno, e per diffendersi da chi, e da che forte d’instromenti, massime il sito sarà in luoco doue si possa battere, e dare assalti generali, dico che quelli che fortificano in quel modo, e per poco tempo, perche da se rouinano, e se le faranno assaltate, e battute da nemici con Canoni da cinquanta, e da sessanta, e da Basilischi da cento libre di palla, come vsa il Turco, & hora l’ha fatto vedere nel forte di S. Ermo nell’Isola di Malta, si come egli fece ancora à Castel nuouo di Barbaria, dico che tali repari non vagliano niente, che all’hora li Rè, e grandi che hãno fortificato è stata spesa gittata uia, oltra la spesa l’incontra peggio, che per tale occasione perdeno gli esserciti è Stati, è Regni...........

Note – The treatise on military architecture ends on page 279 of the volume. It is followed by “Libro Quarto” on li modi di fabricar lArtegliaria & la prattica dadoperarla..... (pp. 1-22). Ciasca wrote (p. 374) that, in one of the reprints of the 1599 edition, the essay on Artillery preceded the treatise on military architecture.


Bibliography and abbreviations used in the references

Balbi (1961):                Balbi di Correggio, F. The siege of Malta 1565. (Translated from Spanish. Published by O.F. Gollcher and O. Rostock), Copenhagen (1961).

Balbi (1965):                Balbi da Correggio, F. Diario dellassedio di Malta 18 Maggio – 8 Settembre 1565, Roma (1965).

Bosio :                           Bosio, G. Istoria della Sacra Religione Militare di S. Giovanni Gerosolimitano, Roma (1594-1602).

Cassi-Ramelli :            Cassi-Ramelli, A. Dalle caverne ai rifugi blindati, Milano (1964).

Ciasca :                        Ciasca, R. Francesco De’ Marchi e il suoTrattato sullArchitettura Militare.” In Archivio Storico Italiano, Serie V, Tomo XLVI, (Feb. 1911) pp. 363-375.

Cousin :                        Cousin, R.J.D. A diary of the siege of St. Elmo, Malta, 23rd May to 23 June 1565, Malta (1955).

Ganado :                      Ganado, A. Matteo Perez dAleccios engravings of the siege of Malta of 1565. In Proceedings of History Week 1983, Malta (1984) pp. 125-161.

Hoppen :                       Hoppen, A. The fortification of Malta by the Order of St. John 1530-1798, Edinburgh (1979).

Hughes (1969): Hughes, Q. Fortress. Architecture and military history in Malta, London (1969).

Hughes (1970): Hughes, Q. The planned city of Valletta. In Larchitettura a Malta. Atti del XV Congresso di Storia dellArchitettura, Roma (1970) pp. 305-333.

Hughes (1974): Hughes, Q. Military architecture, London (1974).

Kruft :                           Kruft, H.W. Reflexe auf die Turkenbelagerung Maltas (1565) in der Festungs-literatur des 16. Jahrhunderts. In Architectura (Munich) (I, i, 1982) pp. 34-40.

Lancetti :                      Lancetti, V. Francesco deMarchi. In Iconografia Italiana by A. Locatelli, Milano (1836) Vol. IV, pp. I-IX.

Marconi :                      Marconi, P. I progetti inediti della Valletta dal Laparelli al Floriani. In Larchitettura a Malta. Atti del XV Congresso di Storia dellArchitettura, Roma (1970) pp. 353-386.

Marini :                        Marini, L. Architettura militare di Francesco DeMarchi, Roma (1810).

Origlia :                        Origlia, G.G. Dizionario storico...., Napoli (1756-57) Vol. II, pp. 17-18.

Ronchini :                     Ronchini, A. Cento lettere del Capitano Francesco Marchi Bolognese conservate nellArchivio Governativo di Parma ed ora per la prima volta recate in luce, Parma (1864).

Sisi :                              Sisi, E. Nascita di una città: La Valletta. In Urbanistica (Roma) XXII (1957) pp.121-126.

Tooley :                        Tooley, R.V. Maps and map-makers, London (1959).

Venturi :                       Venturi, G.B. Memoria intorno alla vita ed alle opere del Capitano Francesco Marchi presentata al Cesareo-Regio Instituto di Scienze ed Arti in Milano il giorno 4 Aprile 1816, Modena (1816).

Zabarella :            Zabarella, C. Sanminiatelli. Lo assedio di Malta 18 Maggio–8 Settembre 1565, Torino (1902).


Plate 1 [5] Portrait of Francesco De Marchi: Engraving by Magonio.


Plate 2 [6] Francesco De Marchi's siege map published in Piante di fortezze diverse, Brescia, 1597, and in Della Architettura Militare, Brescia, 1599.


Plate 3 [7] Antonio Lafreri's Ritratto dallo stesso disegno mandato da Malta (first state, map 39, Appendix 1).


Plate 4 [8] Antonio Lafreri's Vltimo disegno delli forti di Malta uenuto nuonamente (first state, map no. 41, Appendix 1).


Plate 5 [9] Domenico Zenoi's Il Porto di Malta di nuouo da molti erori emendato (first state, map n. 30, Appendix 1).


Plate 6 [10] Manuscript coloured plan of the harbour area, showing Francesco Laparelli's new city of Malta.

[1] Quite a number of these letters and reports were published during the siege, or immediately after, in Rome and Venice, Bologna and Naples, Paris and Lyons, Antwerp and Ghent as Avvisi, Histoire, Lettera, Discours, Relatione, Nues (sic), etc. One of these reports was translated into German and it was published by Mathias Franck to accompany his siege map (see Appendix I, map no. 53). This was the original Italian title: Relatione che da Orlando Magro Piloto della Galera Capitana del Gran Mastro quale arriuò in Messina, a XXII. Di Giugno 1565.

[2] The author has so far listed 55 maps of the siege (including variants) published in Italy in 1565, 3 in France, 3 in Germany, 2 in Spain and one in the Netherlands. It is quite likely that others have yet to come to light.

[3] Ronchini, p. XXIV and p. XXX, note 10.

[4] Ronchini, pp. XIV, XXIV.

[5] Ronchini, p. XXX, n.10.

[6] Lancetti, p. 11. Also Ronchini, p. VI.

[7] Ronchini, pp. Vl-VII. See also the title of his book Chapter 150 (Appendix IIl infra).

[8] Ronchini, p. VII.

[9] Ciasca, p. 366.

[10] Ronchini, pp. VIII-IX.

[11] Ronchini, p. IX.

[12] Lancetti, p. V. Ciasca incorrectly says that De Marchi served Philip II for 32 years, because he took 1591 as De Marchi’s date of death.

[13] Ronchini, p. X.

[14] Ronchini, p. 132, letter dated 5 January 1567. De Marchi’s letters were not published by Ronchini in their original version, but with corrections which he deemed necessary to make them intelligible.

[15] Lancetti, p. V. Ronchini, pp. XV-XVII. The latter, however, states that the drawing for the fortress of Antwerp submitted by De Marchi in 1567 was discarded and the one by Francesco Paciotti from Urbino was adopted.

[16] Lancetti, p. V. But Ronchini (p. XXXIX, n. 42) is not of the same opinion.

[17] NARRATIONE PARTICOLARE del Capitan Francesco de’ Marchi da BOLOGNA, DELLE GRAN FESTE, E TRIONFI FATTI IN PORTOGALLO, ET IN FIANDRA nello sposalitio dellIllustrissimo, & Eccellentissimo Signore, il Sig. ALESSANDRO Farnese, Principe di Parma, e Piacenza, e la Sereniss. Donna MARIA di Portogallo. Bologna, Alessandro Benacci, 1566.

[18] Ronchini, p. XVIII.

[19] Ronchini, p. XX-XXI; p. XLIII, n. 70.

[20] Leosini, Angelo, Monumenti storici e artistici della città dAquila, 1848, p. 110 – quoted by Ronchini, p. XXII, and XLII, n. 73.

[21] Ciasca, p. 368. Writing in 1911, he says that De Marchi died between 1591 and 1597.

[22] Ronchini, p. XI.

[23] Ronchini, pp. 26-27, Lett. XV. Transl:– Over here the fate of Malta is giving rise to serious doubts (may God not allow it to happen). News has reached us that a Turkish emissary is at the French Court to request a haven and victuals.

[24] The City of Augsburg was a banking centre, and it was renowned for its trade in books and prints.

[25] Ronchini, pp. 28-29, Lett. XVI. Transl.– Today, the 26th, the following news are circulating: that the Turkish army has overpowered and taken Fort St. Elmo; they have filled up the ditches with woollen and other material, and all those that were inside are dead; the Turks have suffered severe casualties, Dragut and the son.of Barbarossa being among the dead; that the Turks had all landed, and a large part of the crews, and that when [Juan de] Cardona went back with the four galleys that had brought reinforcements to the Borgo of Malta he met the ships of Don Garcia [de Toledo] and informed him that the Turkish army had disembarked; they therefore went to attack the Turkish army by surprise, and they defeated it, or a large part of it; and that the Turks had lost (may this be God’s will) and many other things; but the conclusion is that the Turks have lost. These are the news that have reached some gentlemen here from France and Venice and Augsburg.

[26] Ronchini, pp. 36-38, Lett. XXII.
Transl.– Two items of news we are piously expecting: firstly, the relief of Malta and the rout of the Turks (may God grant us this grace); secondly, the arrival of our forces with the Princess, all safe and sound.
Writing the last part of Chapter 150 (p. 255) on the 27th September 1565 De Marchi expressed the same wish regarding Malta: here in Brussels we hope to have, within eight days at the latest, good news unfavourable to the Turks, namely, that they have been defeated, or that they withdrew, or that the Island of Malta has been relieved against their forces (See Appendix II).

[27] Ronchini, pp. 38-39, Lett. XXIII.
Transl.– Today we received the news that nine thousand five hundred soldiers have landed on the island of Malta, and that the Turks were embarking to escape. Here this news is awaited with great hopes. You can see for yourself the speed with which news reaches us by way of Venice; news from Malta arrive in Brussels in twenty four days.
Indeed, the Gran Soccorso arrived in Malta on the 7th September, and, by the end of the month, De Marchi was fully apprised by the situation. The Turks gave up the siege on the 11th September and sailed for Constantinople the day after.

[28] Ronchini, pp. 39-41, Lett. XXIV.
Transl.– If the Princess arrives safely, as we trust, she will be honoured with solemn feasts of a high order ..... I then planned the erection of a castle in the air made of papier maché; and will have it assaulted, with artificial fireworks, in the same way as the Turks assaulted Fort St. Elmo on the island of Malta.

[29] Ronchini, pp. 42-3, Lett. XXVI dated October 29, 1565: “Qui si pone a ordine cose grandi; saranno invitati tanti signori titolari (sic), che loro soli averiano ardire di difendere una altra Malta, senza li cavalieri e gentiluomini particolari.”

[30] V. supra, p. 102.

[31] Rondoni, p. XXXVII. n. 32.

[32] Ronchini, pp. XIII & XXXVII, n. 33. Ronchini lists the following works with which De Marchi’s treatise was compared: Cataneo’s Quattro primi libri darchitettura (1554); Lanteri’s Due dialoghi del modo di disegnare le piante delle fortezze (1557); and Fortificatione delle città (1564) which contained the writings of Montemellino, Castriotto and Maggi.

[33] Ronchini, p. 110. He wrote in October 1566 that over 100 plates had already been engraved and that there were sette mastri working on them che non fanno altro.

[34] Archives des Arts, Sciences et Lettres. Gand, 1860, I, 149, quoted by Denucé (Vol. I, p. 123). I thank Dr. H.A.M. van der Heyden for this reference and for translating into English the relevant text.

[35] Ronchini, pp. XIV, 150, 157 and 170.

[36] Ronchini, pp. XIV, 151.

[37] Ronchini, pp. XIV-XV.

[38] Ronchini, p. XVIII. Uscendo di Fiandra, egli recò seco i caratteri acquistati da quel Governo per la stampa del volume; e, giunto in Piacenza, trattò cogli amici di farlo imprimere nellofficina di Vincenzo Conti. Another writer says that the Spanish monarch did not return the original script to De Marchi who had to “recopy” it from scratch (Cassi-Ramelli, p. 326).

[39] Ronchini, pp.XVIII-XX.

[40] Ronchini, pp. XXII-XXIII.
In the 18th century one of the copies of De Marchi’s book on military architecture, now in the British Library (BM.G.11), was in the collection of Alberto Francesco Floncel, Avvocato nel Parlamento, Censore Reale de’ Libri che fu già Primo Segretario e Consigliere di Stato del Principato di Monaco e doppo Primo Segretario successivamente di M. Amelot e del Sig.r Marchese dArgenson Ministri degli Affari Esteri dal 1739 al 1747. In a manuscript note on the flyleaf, Floncel wrote in 1756 that the only edition ever published was the one he had, that of 1599, and he discounted that there existed a first edition of 1577 as claimed by Fontanini, Haym and Maffei.
The other copy at the British Library (C.83.1.1) happens to be the same edition as the first one. Ciasca (pp. 370-374) wrote that there were two different editions of the book on military architecture, one published in 1597, the other in 1599. There were some plates by De Marchi published in book form before 1597 (one with 31, the other with 83), but they could not be described as editions of the treatise. Indeed, they might even have been published by plagiarists, as De Marchi himself had occasion to complain that he had been defrauded of his work by some publishers. According to Ciasca, there are some slight differences between the editions of 1597 and 1599: the first one contains a few plates and chapters that were omitted in the second edition. There were two printings of the 1599 edition, in one of which the essay on Artillery precedes the three books on military architecture. After 1599, the book again appeared in print with a different frontispiece, the first time without date, and then another edition dated 1603 published in Brescia appresso Gio. Batt. e Antonio Bozzoli fratelli.
              Apart from the copies at the British Library, the author has had occasion to examine:
(a) two copies at the National Library in Vienna one of which is the 1599 edition published by C. Presegni (72.Q.17) whilst the other is undated (BE.5.F.21).
However, the second copy has an introduction dedicated to Don Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duca di Mantova e di Monserrato, which is dated Brescia, 12 May 1600. If this second copy is identical to the copy at the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence, it would explain why the catalogue at the Riccardiana gives 1600 as the year of publication (Cf. Ciasca, p. 374, n. 1);
(b) the copy at the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome (R.1.17 in C.C.). It is identical to the second copy at the Vienna Library referred to above.
The 1599 edition was used for the publication of a de luxe edition in six volumes in 1810 by Luigi Marini at the instance of Conte Francesco Melzi d’Eril. It was dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte.

[41] Ronchini, p.XXIII. In his introduction to the 1600 reprint (see note 40), G. Dall’Oglio explained that three years before he had dedicated the publication of De Marchi’s plates to Gonzaga because it was he who in a short time had built una Cittadella per forzezza del Monserrato, sopra Casale. He further stated that, now that he had come in possession of the Dichiarationi e Discorsi written by De Marchi, he was keeping his word to print them together with the plates.

[42] Ronchini, p. 144, letter to Pico dated 21 September 1567. Marconi (p. 372) wrote that it does not appear that Serbelloni went to Flanders after 1566. Actually, he went twice: in 1567 and 1577. Gabrio Serbelloni (1509-1580), born in Milan, had a distinguished career lasting fifty years. Cervantes described him in Don Quixote as grande ingeniero y valentisimo soldado. He fought bravely in Italy, Hungary, France, the Low Countries and North Africa, and was captain of a galley at the battle of Lepanto (1571). He erected fortifications in Barbary, Flanders and various places in Italy, including the Borgo of Rome. When a first cousin of his was elected Pope (Pius IV) in 1559, he was appointed captain of the guard, governor of the Borgo, inspector of fortifications, general of the ecclesiastical militia and commander of the galleys. He entered the Order of St. John in 1561 and became Prior of Hungary. In 1573 he designed and built the fortress of Tunis. Still incomplete, it was conquered by the Turks (1574) and Serbelloni, governor of the fortress, was taken prisoner, but was exchanged the year after. In 1577 he joined John of Austria in Flanders and erected several fortifications. He died in Milan in Jan. 1580. A set of five manuscript drawings of fortifications by Serbelloni is extant: they are plans of Trapani and Sciacca, Goletta and Biserta, and Malta (Pianta della Citta di Malta Vechia, ms. in colours, 648 x 455 mm).

[43] Chiappino Vitelli, a soldier of fame and fortune interested in military engineering, was a close associate of Gabrio Serbelloni. In July 1555, when 4000 Turks landed near Piombino, Vitelli requested the help of Serbelloni who was in charge of a German regiment nearby, and together they routed the enemy. Two years later, they kept the bastions of Borgo San Sepolcro under constant review. In 1564, Vitelli distinguished himself at the conquest of Peñon de Velez de la Gomera in Barbary (Morocco) and he came to Malta in 1565 with the Gran Soccorso at the head of a small band of Italian Aventurieri. He declined to accept any official post of standing, but his strong personality earned him the respect and affection of the whole Italian and Spanish infantry. In 1567, he went to Flanders with the army of the Duke of Alva to quell the rebellion in the provinces. He was appointed Maestro di Campo Generale, whilst Serbelloni was the Generale Supremo delle Artiglierie.

[44] According to De Marchi’s manuscript account of the siege, Vitelli came as the generale delli venturieri, but Bosio wrote that he held no particular post.

[45] Bosio, III, 746E.

[46] V. infra. p. 117.
In his manuscript account of the siege (Codice Magliabecchiano) De Marchi records the erection of other Turkish forts at a later stage:
6 July – fecino tre bastioni sopra Corradino che batteua detto Fortezza (S. Michele);
8 July – fecino unaltro bastione alla Mandraccia che batteua pur S. Michele;9 July – fecino .. altra ........ a S.ta. Maria che batteua il Borgo e S. Michele;
10 July – .... altri bastioni a Santa Margherita che batteua il Borgo e S.Angelo.

[47] De Marchi recorded in his manuscript account that on June 26 (after the fall of St. Elmo) the Turks positioned 14 batteries with 70 cannon and 3 basilisks.

[48] On September 11, the Turks were completely routed by the relief force, the order to embark was given and the siege was abandoned. According to one diarist they had lost 35000 men.

[49] See Appendix II which reproduces the Italian text of the Chapters herein quoted taken from the 1599 Brescia edition.

[50] These extracts are taken from Venturi, pp. 41-44.

[51] Mss. II.I.277-281. The author thanks the Director of the Florence Library for the contents of his letter dated 15 November 1983.

[52] Transl.– Discourse in accordance with the promise I made in Chap.XLVI of Book VI to write at length on the most honourable defence of the Fortress of the Island of Malta.

[53] Mss.II.I.279, ff. 130r-140v.

[54] Op. cit., ff. 137v-138v.
Transl.– Now in this drawing made after nature you will be able to see the Island of Malta battered, stormed and ravaged by the great hordes of the Grand Turk who determined to satisfy his ambition to make himself master of the Island; ... now l wish to say only that it was the grace of God that intervened for the defence and protection of the said Island and for the liberation of those invincible Knights and soldiers, and the Grand Master as well did great things as a result of his spirit, ability and strength, which can also be said of all the defenders from the lowest to the highest, children, women, old men, priests and brothers (?) of all sorts one can think of: faced as they were with such a large army, and at times with so slender a hope of relief, for the reasons I have given, and others which may be adduced: which I shall leave to others to bring forward, and to those that were there, because I was at the time of the siege very far away from the said Island of Malta being at the other end of Europe, namely, in Flanders towards the West on the Ocean sea, whilst the said Island is at the other end of Europe towards the East, the remotest island of Italy, although I was being kept informed by friends of mine in Naples, Rome, Venice and Bologna who were sending me written accounts of some of the events of that war, as well as drawings of that Island, its fortifications, harbours, and batteries, and of the assaults and skirmishes that were taking place. I chose from those what I thought best and I made a drawing of my own, and I wanted to write on some of the efforts made by the Turk and other monarchs who went to his help to capture St. Elmo, il Borgo, St. Michael, and St. Angelo, and the open country of Malta, in short, the Island and its harbours, something which, through his divine goodness and mercy, God did not allow.

[55] This is also the opinion of Venturi (pp. 13-14) who wrote: È questo una prova di più, che lo stampato è preso da un Codice anteriore alle Correzioni del Magliabecchiano; e che queste sono opera dello stesso Marchi ritornato in Italia. Ronchini (p. L, ftn. 4) holds that the text of the Magliabecchiano is a third revision.

[56] Understandably, Kruft (V. infra 118) could not figure out why De Marchi’s Malta map in the 1599 edition had no connection with the text in Chap. 78 and he attributed the anomaly to the personal whim of Dall’Oglio.

[57] Marini, Vol. II, Cap. LXXVII, p. 141.

[58] See Appendix II, Chap. 142.

[59] Ronchini, pp. 30-31, Lett. XVIII.

Transl. – Sir, do send me a sketch of Malta, but one which was made after the 15th July as I think I have all the others: I have seven different ones. These gentlemen, namely, Count of Egmont, Count of Horn and the Prince of Orange pass on to me these sketches, and I receive others from Venice besides. I have become their repository of drawings of fortifications.
              These are some of the maps produced in Italy presumably before the 15th July: numbers 8, 10, 12-14, 17-19, 26, 29, 32, 38-40, 46, 50-54 of Appedix I.

[60] The map in the Floncel copy at the British Library (BM.G.11) seems to be in manuscript. It could be the original made by De Marchi for the engraver. There are some marked differences between this map and the printed one. For instance, the height of St. Angelo is given as 9 Canne instead of 19; the word secchi in the legend is misspelt seechi; the cartouche is different both in size and decoration.

[61] This seems to be the first printed siege map which gives the height from sea or ground level of the fortifications and elevated areas. Later, other siege maps followed suit, namely, the series of plans by Nelli (nos. 32-37 of Appendix I), the plans by Pittoni (no. l2), T.B. (no. 45) Zenoi (nos. 30, 31, 45-49) and Camocio (nos. 1-3). All these maps gave the altitude in braccia, three of which were equivalent to one canna. Another plan by Zenoi (nos. 26-28) used canne like the Lafreri prototype, whilst Lafreri once more gave the altitude in canne on a rather crude map which shows the arrival of the relief force (no. 16).

[62] De Marchi had established a business relationship with Antoine Lafrery, born in Orgelet (Burgundian diocese of Besançon) in 1512, very soon after the latter started operating in Rome. In 1542, De Marchi had prepared some drawings for the erection of new fortifications in the eternal city which were copper-engraved by “the lame Frenchman” and they were printed by Lafreri in that same year (i quali disegni fece poi intagliar in rame al zoppo francese, e Lanferiero borgognone li stampò in quel medesimo anno. See Venturi, p. 15; Ronchini, p. VII). By 1545, De Marchi had completed most of his work and to this, he wrote, Antonio Salamanca and Antonio Lafreri, could bear witness: Perche lanno 1545 io aveva la maggior parte dellopera mia in ordine.... essendo io in Roma in tempo di Paolo III, e per testimonio citero solamente Salamanca spagnuolo, stampatore in Roma, et Antonio Borgognone, medesimamente stampatore in Roma (See the Proemio of Book III of the 1599 edition. Quoted by Ciasca, p. 370 and Venturi, p. 18).

[63] There are two states of this map by Lafreri, both of which were printed on greyish-blue paper. The first one was published in mid-June, with a key to place-names A to Q in a cartouche at top left corner, and it has an empty panel at the bottom right corner (See Plate 7); the second one must have been produced towards the end of the month because it mentions in the said panel the death in St. Elmo of Capitan Medrana spagnolo which occurred on June 17. In the second one there is an addition in the key to place-names:
R           descrittione delli assalti secodo lAuiso del et Gra Mastro.

[64] O       Porto de Marza sirocco da doue sono entrati / li Turchi
Q     La ponta di Santa Maria di Marza musetto donde ora li / Turchi batteno il Castello S. Helmo.

[65] This map is extant in two states (See Plate 8). In the second state, Lafreri added in the Porto delle Galere the bridge linking Senglea to Borgo and the small chain further inside the creek. The plan was then reissued with the imprint: Ioannes Orlandi formis romae 1602. It is one of three Lafreri maps of Malta that are known to have been reprinted by Orlandi.

[66] In his manuscript account De Marchi wrote that the King of Algiers arrived on the 12th July with 2200 soldiers. He requested the Turkish commander to allow him to assault St. Michael and for this purpose he ordered 90 boats to be transported overland by his men from Marsamuscetto to Marsa (e così il Re d’Algieri fece trasportare per terra da novanta barchette, e barconi per forza dhuomini dal porto di Marza musetto sino alla Marza).

[67] Zabarella, pp. 202, 206; Cousin, p. 52.

[68] See Appendix I, nos. 54, 13, 15, 4, 22, 23, 35, 16.

[69] See Appendix I, nos. 14, 20-22, 29, 9, 52.

[70] See Appendix I, nos. 47-49, 30-31 and Plate 9.

[71] See Appendix I, no.5.

[72] See Appendix I, no.13, 15, 12, 26-27, 24, 41-43.

[73] De Marchi might have been unaware at the time that St. Elmo had both a cavalier and a ravelin on the seaward side.
            Fort St. Elmo was built in 1552 as a star-shaped fort without any outworks. In 1554, a high cavalier outside the enceinte was added on the northward side, à guisa di Sprone verso il Mare (Bosio, p. 353A). In April 1565, a Riuelino o sia Bastione was hastily constructed dallo parte, che verso Maestrali risguarda (Bosio, p. 539D) in quel luogo, doue il fosso girando verso il Caualiero, forma lvltimo suo angolo, nel fine di essa contrascarpa (Bosio, 499D-E). There can be no doubt that both the cavalier and the ravelin were outworks completely cut off from the fort: Talmente, che due Membri, che fabricati serano, per fortificare, & ingagliardir S. Elmo, cioè il Riuelino, & il Caualiero, essendo dal suo corpo disgiunti, ..... (Bosio, pp. 570E-571 A).
              The exact position of the cavalier and the ravelin is shown on Lafreri’s August map, and it corresponds to the siting on a contemporary manuscript sketch that might have travelled during the siege from Malta to Lafreri’s workshop.
              The cavalier is also to be seen on three anonymous plans of the harbour area produced in Rome before the siege:
1. MELITA NVNC MALTA / Li porti dellIsola di Malta con la pianta della / noua Cittade doue habiteranno quelli che / stanno hora nel Borgo qui / disegnato. / Romae 1563, cum gratia et priuilegio. (282 x 415 mm). (T.375).
2. MELITA NVNC MALTA / Li porti del isola di malta con / la pianta de la noua citiade doue / habiteranno quelli che stanno / nel borgo qui disegnato. 1563. (270 x 381 mm).
3. Same map as no. 2, without date.
              The author thanks Professor Lorenzo Schiavone for drawing his attention to map no. 2.
              Balbi de Correggio confirms that there was a torreon outside St. Elmo, towards Capo Passero, started under Grand Master Homedes and completed by de la Sengle: Fuera del fuerte, hazia cubo paxaro hay vn torreon, ..... este empeço Homedes y lo acabo la Sengle. (Balbi de Correggio, F. La verdadera relacion de todo lo qve el anno M.D.LXV ha svccedido en la Isla de Malta. Barcelona, 1568, p. 15v.)
              This torreon, perhaps not as it was during the siege, is shown in detail on a contemporary plan of the harbour area entitled: Nuouo dissegno della fortezza di O.S. Ermo ritratto / secondo la sua uera et propria forma con un nuouo / fosso uerso il porto di marzamusetto.... /.... /...aggionteui le comodità dell’ / infermaria e molini al ridosso della fortezza e del / caualtere.... / Palumbi Nouarieñ curabant Romae 1566 cum priulegio. (460 x 318 mm). There is a second state of this map with the additional imprint: Gaspar Albertus successor Palumbi. Possibly, there was an original plate preceding the Palombi print in its first state.

[74] Hughes (1969) said that De Marchi’s book was published in 1546 (p. 117); Hughes (1970) referred to drawings by De Marchi (1597), P.P. Palombi (1565) and Paolo Floriano (1566) - recte Forlani - showing a Turkish fort on Mount Sceberras (p. 332); Hughes (1974) said that De Marchi’s treatise on military architecture was written about 1565 and was published in 1599, but did not quote anything regarding Malta (p. 107).
              Hoppen (pp. 14, 181) merely said that De Marchi’s book was written about 1540 and published in 1599.
              Marconi (p. 358) said that De Marchi was one of those who wrote about Valletta, in the book published in 1599. Valletta was planned and built after De Marchi had finished writing his book.
              Sisi (p. 122) said that De Marchi’s siege map was a drawing of 1597. He was obviously misled by the publication date.

[75] In Architettura (Munich) 1.1.1982, pp. 34-40. My thanks are due to Mr. Anton Scicluna of Marsalforn, Gozo, for providing the translation of the article.

[76] This map was loaned for the Thirteenth Council of Europe Art Exhibition held in Malta in 1970.

[77] On D’Aleccio’s siege maps: See Ganado.

[78] Ronchini, p. 151.
Transl. – Now these plates have to be engraved: a [map] of Malta which I have prepared from various drawings, the frontispiece (?), my portrait and the view of a fortress. The engraver who was working on them has escaped because, it is said, he has stolen a whole book, that is, a print from each plate. He had to print one, and he printed two [of each]. This is subject to a fine of 400 scudi, and more as willed by Her Highness. That one has escaped; but I had to find two other engravers to complete the work as it was still unfinished.
              In his late thirties, De Marchi had tried his hand at copper-engraving. Some of the 30 plates of his drawings produced in the 1540s were engraved by him. It seems, however, that his work was not of a high standard (Venturi, p. 18; Ronchini, p. XXXI, n.11).

[79] Marconi, p. 357.

[80] The author has in mind the second state of the following plan:
DISEGNO VERO DELLA NVOVA CITTA DI MALTA / Questa Citta principiata dal Mons.r frà Giouannj di Valetta detto parisotto Gran / Maestro della religione, si chiamara Valette.... / Ant. Lafrerj Formis Romae 1566. (542 x 392 mm) (T.362).
              The first state shows only the perimeter walls of the new city and the Mandracchio is absent. It was, however, added on to the plate in its second state, together with other new features. The shape is elliptical and it is indicated as Darsena per x galee.
              The second state of this plan was reissued with the additional imprint: Petri de Nobilibus formis (T.363). In a subsequent reissue, the imprint G.R.FO replaced that of Nobili.
              The following other plans of the new city of Valletta were published between 1566 and 1569, but they do not include the Mandracchio:
a) DISEGNO VERO / DELLA NVOVA CITTA / DI / MALTA. / Questa Citta principiata dal Mons.r frà Giouannj di Valetta detto parisotto Gran Maestro della religione si chiamara Valette .... /.... /.... In Venetia per Paulo Forlani Veronese, jntagliata accomodo dogni uno. alljnsegna della Colona, lAnno .i566. (419 x 272 mm).
There is a second state of this plan, which was reissued with the additional imprint: Ferando Bertelli EXC.
b) VALLETTA / NOVA CITTA / DI MALTA / Al segno della colonna. (173 x 131 mm). Published in Il primo libro delle città et fortezze principali del mondo, by Paolo Forlani, (Venice), 1567. This plate was used repeatedly by the Bertellis and Camocio for their books on towns and islands. At one stage, the no. “74” was engraved on the plate.
c) (Domenico Zenoi) – VALETTA / NOVA CITTA DI / MALTA. (177 x 134 mm). (T.386) Published in Statuti della Religione de Cavalieri Gierosolimitani, tradotti di latino in lingua Toscana dal R.F. Paolo del Rosso. Fiorenza, 1567. Two states of this plate are known.
d) VALETTA / NOVA CITTA / DI MALTA. Dnco Zenoi. (203 x 147 mm). Published in De’ disegni delle piu illustri citta, et fortezze del mondo. Parte I. by Giulio M. Ballino, Venice, 1569.

[81] Origlia, p. 18.



[i] See ref. 55 (supra) and the text to which it relates.

[ii] In his ms. diary of the siege, De Marchi wrote that on the 20th May 20,000 Turks landed in Malta. According to Balbi da Correggio, the military force which sailed from the East to attack Malta consisted of 28,500 fighting men. Later, with the Moors of Dragut, Pasha of Tripoli and Hassan of Algiers, and including oarsmen and volunteers, the total went up to 48,000, not counting the sailors and camp followers. The island was defended by 6,100 men fit for service (Balbi. 1961, pp. 39, 44).

3 In this context, De Marchi mentioned the Castello at Bologna and un luoco d. Lauuara Palazzo del Rè Filippo in Barbantia.