Precisely in this time of year, it is the anniversary of the Great Siege of Malta, by the invading infidel Muslim under Suliman, called by some “the Magnificent”. This was a key moment in Western history, given the strategic importance of the little islands. Everybody in the day, understood how important this was. Elizabeth I of England said of it: “If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.”
The Siege of Malta began on 18 May 1565 and ended, propitiously, on 11 September with, of course, a Christian victory over the attacking Islamic infidels.
Do you think that Islamicists of today have forgotten?
I am listening to the book from Ernle Bradford: The Great Siege, Malta 1565: Clash of Cultures: Christian Knights Defend Western Civilization Against the Moslem Tide.
It came highly recommended by an Army Colonel whom I met recently at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, who also has a keen interest in chess. As it turns out he was on the hunt for the Latin funerary inscription on the tomb of perhaps the greatest of the Grand Masters of the Knights of Malta back in the day, Jean Parisot de la Vallette. He found an English rendering and I rooted around in sites that had photos of the restoration of the tomb. Once I picked up a clear phrase in the Latin original, I found it quickly. I had tried to reverse engineer the English, but it turns out that the knight’s epitaph was in verse, so that didn’t work. But I digress.
I have the Audible version of Bradford’s book read by the inimitable Simon Vance, probably my favorite reader out there. Which he also did the magnificent series by Patrick O’Brien.
The person of Jean de la Vallette is amazing. His life demonstrates something of the stakes involved, for he had spent some time as a galley slave. He understood well what awaited the vanquished and he set himself with resolve in the face of the Islamic threat.
For the curious, here is the Latin of the tomb of this great Catholic solider.
HIC ASIAE LIBYAEQUE PAVOR TUTELAQUE QUONDAM
EUROPAE EDOMITIS SACRA PER ARMA GETIS
PRIMUS IN HAC ALMA QUAM CONDIDIT URBE SEPULTUS
VALLETTA AETERNO DIGNUS HONORE JACET
Here are a few links of the books the Colonel recommended about Malta.