Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 1(1954)3(187-192)

[p.187] Society and other News (1954)

Joseph Cassar Pullicino

Minutes of Meetings

February 12, 1954 — The seventeenth general meeting of the Society was held in the Old Library of the Royal University of Malta at 5.30 p.m., the President, Mgr. A. Bonnici, in the Chair.

The minutes of the previous five meetings having been read and confirmed, the Chairman read his report on the work of the Society during 1953. The Treasurer also gave his report on the Society's finances during the year.

The election of the Committee for 1954 was then held. Mgr. A. Bonnici was confirmed as President by acclamation. The following members were elected: Dr. J. Galea, Prof. W. Ganado, Mr. E. R. Leopardi, Mr. J. Cassar Pullicino, Dr. A. Ganado, Prof. Can. E. Coleiro, Fr. A. Velia, O.P., and Chev. Vzo. Bonello.

The meeting was adjourned sine die.

April 7, 1954 — The eighteenth general meeting of the Society look place in the Aula Magna of the Royal University of Malta at 5.15 p.m., the President, Mgr. A. Bonnici, in the Chair.

Mgr. Prof. A. Bonnici, D.D., B.A., B.L.Can., H.E.L., read a paper on The Oath Question in Malta in the fìrst half of the Nineteenth Century".

June 2, 1954 The nineteenth general meeting of the Society was held in the Old Library of the Royal University of Malta at 5.30 p.m., the President, Mgr; A. Bonnici, in the Chair.

Professor Harrison Smith, Ph.D. (Georgetown), Visiting Fulbright Lecturer m History, gave a lecture on Some Facilities for Research about British Malta in United States and Continental libraries".

The meeting adjourned sine die.

[p.188] Seminar on Maltese History

During the first week of November, 1953, the Malta Historical Society held a Seminar on Maltese History in the Aula Magna of the Royal University of Malta, Valletta. The Seminar consisted of five lectures, i.e.

Tuesday, 3rd November: Prehistoric, Carthaginìan and Roman Malta. Lecturer: Bro. Alfred, F.S.C., B.A., Dip. Educ. Chairman: Mr. J.P. Vassallo, Director of Education.

Wednesday, 4th November; The Order of St. J.ohn — Its origìn and History. Lecturer Chev. Han. P. Scicluna, M.B.E., Hon. M.A. (Oxon), F.S.A., L.P. Chairman The Hon. Mr. Justice Harding, B.Litt., LL.D.

Thursday, 5th November: Political Development under British Rule. Lecturer. Dr. Albert Ganado, LL.D., B.A. Chairman; The Hon. Mr. Justice A,J. Montanaro Gauci LL.D.

Friday, 6th November: Art in Malta. Lecturer: Cav. Vincenzo Bonello. Chairman: Dr J. Flores, LL.D., B.L.Can., M.L.A.

Saturday, 7th November: Malta in European History up to 1814. Lecturer: The Very Rev. Mgr. Prof. A. Bonnici, D.D., B.A., B.L.Can., H.E.L. Chairman: Prof. J.A. Manche, B.Sc., M.D., Vice-Chancellor and Rector Magnifìcus of the Royal University of Malta.

This series of lectures was in the nature of an experiment. In his inaugural speech the President outlined the Society's purpose in holding this Seminar: It has been decided to start this year with a general survey of our history, without any pretension to new contributions, at least with regard to the greater part of the talks of this week. This year's Seminar should be rather considered as a new campaign to foster amongst our people the study of local history. We hope that this humble beginning will develop into something more important and more scientific. It might develop into an annual congress which might attract not only the Maltese but also foreign historians.

The lectures aroused considerable interest and attracted a good audience, with a fair sprinkling of ladies. By and large the talks were invaluable in presenting the latest information on the subjects treated. It is hoped that this year's Seminar will have the more specific purpose of filling a few of the many gaps that still remain in the study of the History of Malta.


Archaeological Survey of the Maltese Islands.

Considerable interest was aroused last year by two lectures on The Early Cultures of the Maltese Islands, delivered by Mr. John Davies Evans, M.A., at the British Institute, Valletta, on the 27th October, and the 12th November, 1953. For several months Mr. Evans has been engaged on research work connected with the archaeological survey of these Islands and his lectures were mainly based on the results which the survey has yielded so far.

The Survey originated in 1949, when the Secretary of State gave approval to a scheme for the holding of a survey of research in archaeology in Malta, such scheme to be held under the auspices of the Royal University of Malta, and financed out of the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund. Mr. J.B. Ward Perkins, M.A., F.S.A., Director of the British School at Rome, and Professor Stuart Piggott, Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology in the University of Edinburgh, accepted an invitation from the Royal University of .Malta to form a commission to review all the work of research already accomplished in the field of prehistoric archaeology, to arrange for the compilation and publication of a report and to advise on future research. The University also appointed a Standing Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chancellor and Rector Magnifìcus, including the two Commissioners and the Director of the Museum among its eight members.

By 1951 the Survey was well in hand and one of the Commissioners, Mr. J.B. Ward Perkins, explained the purpose of the work in a letter appearing in "The Archaeological News Letter" (April, 1951), in which he stated: "......the Royal University of Malta has proposed a survey of the island's pre-Phoenician antiquities, with a view to their publication in a form approximating to that of the volumes produced in England by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments except that it will include not only the ancient sites and buildings, but also the material recovered from them...... Work is already under way in two sections of the survey: on the compilation of a schedule of sites, and on the re-survey, under the direction of Professor Robert Galea, of the major megalithic sites. The scope of the works, has, till the present, been deliberately restricted to the pre-Phoenician period, [p.189] for two reasons. The one is a reason familiar to all archaeologists — the amount of money available; the other is that Malta's resources of trained archaeological skill are inevitably limited and are, in any case, already deeply involved in other, urgent work. For both these reasons, it has seemed prudent to concentrate money and effort, and to limit the initial objective to the pre-Phoenician period......".

In October, 1952, on the recommendation of the two Commissioners, the University acquired the services of Mr. John Davies Evans, a graduate of the University of Cambridge, to prepare the catalogue and the index of the archaeological finds in the Museum, to supervise and help in the survey of the monuments and to help in the compilation of the report. Most of the neolithic and bronze age pottery has since been catalogued and indexed; the potsherds and other prehistoric finds are now being tackled. The Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Tarxien, Imgarr and Ggantija temples, as well as the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum have been surveyed, and plans of them have been drawn up and duplicated. Drawings of complete pots of the neolithic period and of the bronze age are being prepared and work is in hand for drawing potsherds, statuettes, implements and other finds in the Museum. Individual objects catalogued are being photographed, and the neolithic monuments will be photographed from the air by the lime the Survey comes to an end. A bibliography on the neolithic monuments of these islands has also been compiled. Mr. Evans visited Sicily for purposes of comparisons with the neolithic monuments and pottery of that island.

As regards the results of the survey Mr. Evans writes: "The chief new result of these researches has been the elucidation of the sequence of pottery-styles in the island during prehistoric times. Whereas previously only "Neolithic" and "Bronze Age" pottery were distinguished, no less than eight distinct phases can now be clearly seen. Five of these correspond to the old "Neolithic" and three to the "Bronze Age" period. Most of them can now be firmly linked with pottery-styles prevalent in neighbouring countries, particularly in Sicily, where the sequence has long been known, and has recently been confirmed by stratigraphical excavations in Lipari.  Thus for the first lime it has become possible to assign fairly secure relative and absolute dates to the prehistoric cultures of the Maltese islands.

Furthermore, a sequence was observable in the design of the temples themselves which seemed to correspond to that of the development of the pottery during the first five phases. This development, and that of the pottery as well, has now been demonstrated stratigraphically by a series of small excavations in various temples, undertaken with the aid of a grant from the B.B.C.

Apart from these major advances, a great deal has been learned about the cultural and trade connections of prehistoric Malta with neighbouring countries and with the civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean".

Three talks given on the B.B.C. Third Programme recently touched on various aspects of the Survey. They have since appeared in "The Listener": Megalithic Temples of Malta, by J.B. Ward Perkins (June 3, 1954); New Light on Malta's Earliest Inhabitants, by John D. Evans (June 22, 1954) and Magic Island-Sanctuaries of the Mediterranean, by Prof. Stuart Piggott (August 5, 1954).



Readers of Melìta Historical will welcome the news that a Malta Archaeological Society has been formed on the initiative of the British Council Representative at the British Institute, Valletta. The aims of the Society are (1) to further an interest in the antiquities of the Maltese Islands and in archaeological research in general, (2) to arrange lectures on aspects of local archaeology and general archaeological subjects, (3) to arrange a programme of excursions and conducted tours of monuments, and (4) to undertake such additional activities from time to time as will further the aims of the Society, viz: exhibitions, supply of archaeological literature, photographs, etc.

A preliminary meeting was held at the British Institute, Valletta on Tuesday, 16th March, 1954 at which a provisional committee was elected. A set of Rules has since been approved by the Society. The Committee for 1954 has been elected as follows: Chairman:

Mr. J. Davies Evans; Hon. Secretary and Treasurer: Miss E. Farrugia; Members: Dr. J. Baldacchino, Rev. G. Seaston, the Noble J. A. Sant Manduca, Mr. J. Cassar Pullicino, Bro. Alfred. The Society is under the patronage of the Hon. Dr. A. Paris, Minister of Education.

The activities of the Society between March and June, 1954 included a lecture on Stonehenge by Prof. Stuart Piggott at the British Institute, Valletta; excursions to Ta' Hagrat, Imgarr and to Tarxien Neolithic Temples, and a lecture-demonstration by Mr. J. D. Evans» at the British Institute, Valletta, on The Pottery Sequence of the Maltese Temples.

J. C. P.

[p.190] Viceroys of Sicily and Naples

Students of Maltese History often come across documents referring to names of Viceroys in Sicily or in Naples. In, the Aragonese and Castilian periods especially these Viceroys played a most important part in Maltese affairs. Viewed from an administrative point of view, they represented a different type of overlord from the feudal ones who had the sway over these islands since 1285 and who had left such a legacy of cruelty behind them that their last period (1392-97) carne to be known as the Time of the Tyrants. The power of the Viceroys were limited, and their period roughly coincides with the first stage of constitutional development in these islands and with the grant of various royal privileges to the Consiglio Popolare.

The need of a hand-list of Viceroys with their term of office has long been felt among students of Maltese History. There are some important points to remember in this respect. The first Viceroy during the Aragonese period appeared in 1415 under Ferdinand, "the just". From this date we find an uninterrupted series of Sicilian Viceroys. In 1503 Naples was united to the Kingdom of Sicily under Ferdinand, "the Catholic", and henceforth we find another Viceroy in Naples. With the coming of the Order to Malta in 1530 the importance of these Viceroys declined somewhat, but for military and other reasons they continued to figure in local matters even after the crushing defeat of the Turkish armada at Lepanto in 1571.

The list which follows is taken from A. Cappelli's authoritative work Cronologia, Cronografia e Calendario Perpetuo (2nd ed., Hoepli, 1930, pp. 439-440; 452-453), which embodies the fruits of the latest researches in this field. It is reproduced here as a guide to would-be research workers who might need lo check a date or verify a name without wasting undue time and effort in the process. The list does not go beyond the reign of Philip II of Spain and those wishing lo look up the names of Viceroys after 1621 are referred to the above mentioned work for further particulars. The Viceroys are listed according to the regnal periods as they appear in Cappelli's work.

(28/7 1412 — † 2/4 1416)

Viceré: Giovanni, Conte di Pegnafiel, figlio di Ferdinando I, 1414-ag. 1416.

ALFONSO I, il Magnanimo
(2/4 1416 — † 27/6 1458)

Viceré: Antonio Cardona e Domenico Ram, vesc. di Lerida, 1416-19; Ferdinando Velasquez Martino de Torres e il Cardona, 1419-21; Giov. Podio de Nucho, Arnaldo Ruggero de Pallas, Niccolò Castagna, 1421-22; Ferd. Velasquez, de Nucho e de Pallas, 1422-23; Niccolò Speciale, 1423-24; Pietro, princ. d'Aragona, 1424-25; Niccolo Speciale 1425-29; Guglielmo Moncada e N. Speciale, 1429-30; Giov. Ventimiglia, Ce. de Gerace, N. Speciale e Gugl. Moncada, 1430-32; Pietro Felice e Adamo Asmundo pres. 1432-33 Pietro, princ. d'Aragona, 1435; Ruggero Paruta, 1435-39; Bernardo Requesens, 1439-1440; Gilberto Centelles e Battista Platamon, 1440-41; Ramón Perellos, 1441-42; Lopez Ximen de Urrea, 1445-59.

GIOVANNI, fratello di Alfonso
(27/6 1458 - † 19/1 1479)

Viceré: Giov. de Moncayo, 1459-62; Gugl. Raimondo de Moncada (inter.) 1462-63; Bemardo Requesens, 1463-64; Lopez Ximen de Urrea, 1464-75; Giov. Moncayo (inter.), 1475; Gugl. Peralta e Gugl. Pujades, 1475-77; Giovanni Cardona, Ce. di Prades. 1477-79.

FERDINANDO II, il Cattolico
(19/1 1479 - † 23/1 1516)
(Rè di Napoli 1503)

Viceré dì Sicilia: Gaspare de Spes, 1479-87; Raimondo Santapace e José Centelles, 1487-88; Ferd. d'Acuna, 1488-94; Giov. de Lanuza, 1495-1506; Raimondo de Cardona, 1506-09; Ugo de Moncada, 1509-16.

Viceré di Napoli: Consalvo di Cordova, 1504-07; Giov. d'Aragona, Ce. di Ripacorsa 1507-09; Raimondo di Cardona, 1509-22.

[p.191] CARLO II [V] d'Absburgo-Austria, Rè di Spagna
(23/1 1516 - rin. 16/1 1556; † 21/9 1558)

Viceré di Sicilia: Ettore Pignatelli, Ce. di Monteleon, 1517-34; Simone Ventimiglia, march. di Gerace (int.), 1534-35; Ferd. Gonzaga, 1535-46; Ambrogio Santapace, march. di Licodia (int.), 1546-47; Giov. de Vega, 1547-57

Viceré di Napoli: Raimondo di Cardona, 1516-22; Carlo di Lannoy, 1522-24; Andrea Carafa, Ce. di S. Severina, 1524-26; Ugo di Moncada (regg. 1523), 1527-28; Filiberto di Chàlons-Orange, 1529-30; Pompeo Colonna, 1530-32; Pedro di Toledo, march. di Villafranca, 1532-53; Card. Pedro Pacheco, march. di Villena (Pro-Vicerè 1552), 1553-55; Bern. di Mendoza, 1555.

FILIPPO I, figlio di Carlo II [V]
(16/6 1556 - † 13/9 1598)

Viceré di Sicilia: Ferd. de Vega (int.), 1557; Giovanni della Cerda, duca di Medina Coeli, 1557-65; Garcia de Toledo, 1565-66; Carlo d'Aragona, duca di Terranova (int.), 1566-68; Franc. Ferd. d'Avalos, march. di Pescara, 1568-71; Gius. Frane. Ce. Di Landriano, 1571-76 (?); Carlo d'Aragona, princ. di Castelvetrano, 1576-77; Marcant. Colonna, duca di Tagliacozzo, 1577-84; Giov. Alfonso Bisbal, Ce. di Briatico (int.), 1584-85; Diego Henriquez de Guzmàn, Ce. d'Alba, 1585-91; Enrico de Guzmàn, 1592-95; Giov. Ventimiglia, march, di Gerace, 1595-98.

Viceré di Napoli: Fernando-Alvarez di Toledo, duca d'Alba, 1555-58; Federico di Toledo, Juan-Manriquez de Lara e Card. Bartol. de la Queva d'Albuquerque (inter.) 1558; Perafan di Ribera, duca d'Alcala, 1558-71; Card. Ant. Perrenot (Granvella), 1571- 75; Inigo Lopez Hurtado di Mendoza, Princ. di Pietrapersia, 1575-79; Juan de Zuniga, 1579-82; Pedro Girón, duca d'Ossuna, 1582-86; Juan de Zunga, Ce. di Miranda, 1586-95; Enriquez de Guzmàn, Ce. d'Olivares, 1595-99.

FILIPPO II, figlio di Filippo I
(13/9 1598 - † 31/3 1621)

Viceré di Sicilia: Bernardino de Cardines, 1598-1601; Giorgio de Cardines (int.), 1601-02; Lorenzo Suarez de Figueróa, duca di Feria, 1602-06; Giov. Ventimiglia, march. di Gerace (int.) 1606-07; Giov. Ferd. Pacheco, duca d'Escalona, 1607-10; Giov. Doria, card. (int.), 1610-12; Pietro Girón, duca d'Ossuna, 1612-1616; Franc, di Lemos, 1616-22.

Viceré di Napoli: Fernando-Ruiz de Castro, Ce. di Lemos, 1599-1603; Juan-Alfonso Pimentel d'Herrera, Ce. di Venevente, 1603-10; Pedro-Fernando de Castro, 1610-16; Pedro Girón, duca d'Ossuna, 1616-20; Card. Gaspare Bornia, (int.) 1620; Card. Antonio Zapata, 1620-22.

The publication of similar lists in respect of Inquisitors, Jurats of the Università at Imdina, Valletta, Birgu and Gozo, of Castellani and other dignitaries, etc. should engage the early attention of the more studious members of the Malta Historical Society.

J. C. P.

Archive News

The following information on the measures taken to preserve the ecclesiastical archives during the War supplements the account given in respect of Government archives in war-time in the second number of Melita Historica.

On Italy's entry into the War in June 1940, the volumes which form the so-called Archiepiscopal Archives were taken for safety to the spacious subterranean vault of St. John's Co-Cathedral, where the Grand Masters lie buried. Temporary wooden shelving was constructed for the purpose and some 1,000 volumes were accommodated and so arranged as to allow easy and quick access to those most needed for frequent consultation.

These volumes belong to several collections, among which the most important are those containing the Correspondence with the Holy See, with the Government, with the Cathedral Chapter and with other bodies as well as with individuals. Other collections include Papal Rescripts, Petitions, Marriage Dispensations, Holy Ordinations, Pious Administrations, Marriage Legacies, Benefices, Pastoral Visitations, Diocesan Synods and Civil Deeds.

A few volumes which were needed for quick reference and consultation were removed to Cini's Institute at Hamrun when, during the peak period of the blitz, the Bishop's Curia was transferred there and accommodated in three rooms, One of these rooms was hit by [p.192] an enemy bomb and some of the volumes kept therein were slightly damaged. The Bishop’s Curia, together with the volumes which had been brought from Valletta, was consequently removed to St. Joseph's Institute at Hamrun, where it remained till the end of the War.

The Cathedral Archives, consisting of some 500 volumes, were left in their place in the upper room adjacent to the Chapter Hall of the Cathedral at Imdina, where they were deemed to be in a sufficiently safe area. No damages were suffered during the War.

The Archives of the Inquisition, too, which number about 500 volumes, were likewise left in their original wooden cases in the vaulted basement of the Archiepiscopal Palace, in Valletta, which was considered to be as safe as the subterranean vault of St. John's.


Local Papers Censored by the Church

Those interested in the history of journalism in Malta will find it useful to look up G. Ellul-Mercer's contribution to Is-Sebħ of the 23rd June, 1951 under the heading Ġurnali Ċensurati mill-Knisja. As the list compiled by Mr. Ellul-Mercer may not be easily accessible to students of local history it is reproduced hereunder in translation:

The Illuminator (Ed. Filippo Izzo) — Censored on 4 April, 1843.
L'Indicatore (Ed. Giacinto Achille, a Sicilian apostate priest) — Condemned by the Holy Congregation on 3 March, 1846.
Cattolico Cristiano — Censored on 8 December, 1849.
L-Ordni (Ed. Don Giuseppe Zammit, "Brighella") —Admonished in a Pastoral letter on 20 June, 1851.
L'Avvenire (Ed. Salv. Souchet) — Condemned in a Pastoral Letter on 20, June, 1851.
Brighella — Condemned on 8 September, 1852.
Archimede Napoleonista (Ed. Guzè Corvaja) — Excommunicated from first issue on 27 August, 1859.
Progressista (Ed. Ramiro Barbaro) — Censored on 1 July, 1862.
Idee e Fatti (Ed. Ramiro Barbaro) — Censored in March, 1870.
Appello al Tribunale Infallibile della Pubblica Opinione (Ed. Francesco Saverio, Decesare) — Censored on 18 May, 1870.
Għafrit — Excommunicated on 17 July, 1875.
La Fenice — Excommunicated on 5 September, 1876
Diritto di Malta (Ed. Dr. Salvatore Castaldi) — Censored in January, 1886, shortly after Dr. Castaidi had relinquished the editorship.
Ix-Xemx u l-Iljun (Ed. Kelinu Borg) — Excommunicated on 27 January, 1886.
Il-Ġgant (Ed. Kelinu Borg), continuation of Ix-Xemx u l-Iljun — Censored on 21 April, 1886.
Il-Miżien (Ed. Kelinu Borg), continuation of Il-Ġgant — Excommunicated on 17 July, 1886
Ġustizzja Incriminata, probably a continuation of the preceding three-papers under the same editor —- Excommunicated in July, 1886.
Ħabbar Malti — Censored on 16 July, 1890.
Malta (Ed. Dr. F. Mizzi) -— Censored on 17 July, 1890.
Libertà (Ed. Francesco Azzopardi) — Censored on 23 August, 1890.
Il Ħabib Malti — Its reading prohibited under pain of mortal sin on 19 September, 1890.
Ħabib tal-Poplu (Ed. Vincent Abela) — Censored on 9 April, 1893.
Melita Sempre (P:d. Antonio Dalli) —Declared anti-Catholic and prohibited on 16 March 1895.
Giovine Melita (Ed. Antonio Dalli) — Censored on 22 August, 1896.
Avviso Commerciale Maltese (Ed. Giuseppe Farrugia) — Censored in July, 1896: Continued as L'Indicatore and again censored.
Vaticano — Prohibited on 26 June, 1899.
Palazzo dei Papi, continuation of Vaticano — Censored in July, 1900.
Sede dei Papi — Censored by Bishop J. Pace, probably shortly after Il Palazzo dei Papi had been censored.
Il-Bandiera tal-Maltin (Ed. Emanuel Dimech) — Condemned under pain of mortal sin on October, 1911.
L-Iljun (Ed. Ġwann Mamo) — Censored on 1920.
Il-Ħmar — Prohibited under pain of mortal sin in December, 1928.
Il-Progress, Ix-Xemx, Daily Malta Chronicle and Id-Dehen —Censored between 1930-33 during the Politico-Religious Question.
Dr. Xecchec — Censored in January, 1932.

The above working list should serve as the basis of a detailed study of this special aspect of the history of Maltese Journalism — a topic which has hardly been touched upon so far.