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.
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
Lafrery's map is probably the second printed map of
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.
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
The map oriented with south-west at the top. There
are eight columns at the bottom which contain a key to 72 place-names.