Maps of Malta

Up Catalog

Qintinus ~1536

     In 2005 Malta issued a set of four stamps featuring old maps of the island. Among them is the first printed map of the Maltese Islands which accompanied the first printed description of Malta written by Abbé Jean D'autun Quintin (1500-1561), also known as Quintinus.
     Jean D'autun's family name was Haeduus. He joined the Order of St. John of Jerusalem as a priest, and was on Malta from 1530-1536 with the Order as chaplain of the French knights. In 1533 he wrote his description of Malta in Latin, Melitae Insulae Descriptio ex commentaries rerum quotidianarum, and had it published in Lyon by Sebastian Gryphus.
     The map is primitive in conception with little detail. It is oval in shape and oriented with South at the top. Bits of land to the north and south indicate Malta's location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, though not to scale. Towns are conventional bird's eye views, and only a few are shown. Still, this map served as the basis for later maps, including one by Giacomo Gastaldi, and the siege maps by Pietro Paolo Palombi in 1565.

SCN 1190

     There is more of the map at the bottom that is not shown on the stamp. On the peninsula above "2005" there is a cross marking the location of St. Paul's church. e St. Paul's ship ran ashore on the next peninsula west above a ship with three oarsmen.

Lafrery ~ 1551

     The second stamp in the set was made by the celebrated Antonio Lafrery or Antoine Lafreri (1513-1577). The map, Melita Insula quam hodie Maltam vocante..., was produced in Rome.
     The map is an extremely accurate map produced as a copper engraving, possibly based on an original survey. Unlike Quintinus' map which was of a circular type this map is "fish-shaped." It is the prototype for a number of other maps including one by Abraham Ortelius.
     Lafrery's map is probably the second printed map of Malta.

SCN 1191

Matteo Perez d'Aleccio Fresco ~ 1565

     The third stamp is a fresco of the island painted by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio (1547-1616) in the Palace of the Grand Masters in Valletta.
     D'Aleccio came to Malta in 1575 and stayed for five years as the official painter of the Order of St. John. The map, La Venuta Dell' Armata Turchesca a Dā 18 Maggio 1565. The map marks the arrival of the Turkish fleet and army in 1565. It is more detailed than the Lafrery map on which it is based.

SCN 1192

Padre Luigi Bartolo

     The last stamp in the set is based on a pen drawing of Gozo, Comino, Cominotto and the Marfa peninsula on Malta by Padre Luigi Bartolo (ca. 1681-1753), a capuchin scholar.
     Bartolo was a native of Malta. He was an eminent preacher, philosopher, theologian, historian, mathematician, architect and geographer. His map, Carta e veduta dell' isola del gozo e comino, was probably commissioned by Gian Piero Francesco Agius de Soldanis (1712-1770) for his manuscript work Gozo Antioco-Moderno e Sacro-Profano.
The map oriented with south-west at the top. There are eight columns at the bottom which contain a key to 72 place-names.

SCN 1193