Malta, Mediterranean Bridge:
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This scholarly yet accessible book explores the social anthropology of Malta within the context of regional cultural exchange between the Maltese and their neighbors. Contributors to Malta's rich cultural development have been the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Sicilians, Greeks, Romans, Berbers, Arabs, Turks, Normans, Spaniards, French, British, and others. Other important contributors have been the Holy See and the Order of St. John, whose members have often been known simply as the Knights of Malta.
Malta is a missing link to understanding many interrelationships among Mediterranean peoples and civilizations that hitherto have remained hidden or problematic. Located at the center of the Mediterranean Basin, Malta has been pivotal in numerous cultural transformations and can serve as a prism for understanding much that is important about lifeways in the Mediterranean: trade, subsistence systems, religion, urbanization, and the transmigration of peoples in war and in peace.
decrees with little relevance to Malta provided only French Knights would be given a pension by France and that only French Knights would be allowed to return to their native land. The French decreed that the Order’s hospital should be devoted to their military and closed to Maltese. They ordered all Maltese, including ecclesiastics, to wear a knot of ribbon in the red, white, and blue national colors of France (Lloyd 1973: 22–24). Napoleon’s distrust of the Maltese was obvious. He ordered that
(Wettinger 1975: 189), a rudimentary diocesan structure consisting of twelve parishes was in place when the Knights arrived in 1530. However pastoral care was provided primarily in the principal two urban parishes: Mdina-Rabat and Birgu (Koster 1983: 302). With lots of vernacular architecture, Malta’s medieval towns tended to contain a space, if not several, which acted as a market, and in Mdina it was not uncommon for commerce to flourish close to a town gate. Though fortification was sparse in
other margin of society, more working-class Maltese shipped off to Australia and struggled with nationalist pride to establish themselves as “white” European laborers worthy of the salaries paid to laborers from the north of Europe. And closer to home, other Maltese continued the established pattern of making their way back and forth from Africa and the Levant, searching for a better life, and periodically fleeing various uprisings and plagues. In fact, there was an increase in numbers going to
by common people who made up the masses in all towns. These houses, at least in Mdina, often clustered around a common courtyard or cortile domorum. The masses were likely to reside near their livestock and other domesticated animals. Where populations were dense, this commonly involved having the sleeping quarters on the second story or ghorfa and a kitchen on the ground floor adjoining a courtyard or mandra which provided shelter for animals (Thake 1996: 16). Early social class differentiation
to eat white bread while the working classes usually consumed bread that was dark. As low wages, unemployment, and underemployment were chronic problems for numerous men attempting to support households in nineteenthcentury Malta, many emigrated while others lived off temporary work or supplemented their regular earnings with part-time jobs. Though Maltese no longer leave the country to settle abroad in large numbers, part-time work continues to be very characteristic of work patterns, and this