Copyright The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 3(1960)1(4)


P. CASSAR, The Maltese Corsairs and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Reprinted from "The Catholic Historical Review", Vol. XLVI, No. 2, July 1960 (U.S.A.) pp. 137-156.

In this masterly study Dr. P. Cassar traces the progress of Maltese piracy from the period of Arab domination in the 9th Century to the setting up of the Court of Oyer and Terminer by the British in October, 1815. The important role of privateering activities in the economic life of Malta since the Middle Ages is aptly stressed. The author gives the names of various Maltese sea-captains. One of them, the 15th Century Michele da Malta, is the subject of an unpublished study by Professor L. Butler who has been carrying out research in the Maltese Archives for several years.

Dr. Cassar's study follows right upon two articles in last year's "Melita Historica" on similar or related topics, i.e. R. Cavaliero's The Decline of the Maltese Corso in the 18th Century, and G. Wettinger's Coron Captives in Malta. Cavaliero's article deals more fully with Maltese piracy in the 18th Century in its international diplomatic setting; Cassar's covers the pre-Order period as well, and the organisation and control of privateering in Malta are perhaps better explained. The two studies, however, are complementary, and should in fact be read as two aspects of the same subject.

Dr. Cassar uses his sources well, and there is little one should add beyond expressing the hope that he will give us more scholarly articles like the one under review.

J.[oseph] C.[assar] P.[ullicino]