Memoria as mirror: the shifting self image of the Hospitallers Order of Malta over the ages

Munro, D., 2019, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 323 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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  • Dane Munro
This book treats the development of the culture of memoria and the shift in the self-image of the Knights of St John, from its foundation as a pilgrimage hospital in Jerusalem in the middle of the eleventh century, to their expulsion from Malta in 1798 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The memoria and self-image matured with the hospital when it became a military and religious order, and later a Christian hospital-focused military force in the Holy Land, the Mediterranean and Malta. Today it is a global charity known as the Order of Malta.
Central in this book is the corpus of approximately 400 polychrome intarsia sepulchral slabs and monuments of the members of the Order in St. John's Cathedral, Valletta, Malta. The corpus is the ultimate expression of the Order’s memoria and self-image during its stay in Malta, from 1530 to 1798. The purpose of this book is to provide an objective account of the subjective treatment in the corpus of that memoria and self-image, be it religious, social, cultural or political. The main question of this book, 'What is the corpus about?', will be answered by the corpus itself through the engraved texts, iconography, symbols and related art commissioned by the Order in Malta.
The corpus in St John's became a reference point for the memory of the Order. It also offers an intimate look at the ethos and pathos of the Order, its corporate image and how the self-image was presented of its deceased individual members. Many of those would have had first-hand experience in combatting the Ottomans, a respected enemy who was inextricably linked to the Hospitaller model and yardstick of heroism after the victory in the Great Siege of Malta. Included in this book is a short case study of two German Hospitaller knights of the von Königsegg family, which outlines local nobilities, political tensions and confirms the ambitions expressed in the corpus to be part of the Order. In the five appendices, the transcriptions and translations of the whole corpus are included. Other appendices contain the first Rule of the Order, the foundation miracula, a headline version of the Order’s history and a document of the delegates of the Dutch Province of Zeeland, related to a dispute over confiscated goods of the Order during the Reformation period in the Dutch Republic.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Boer ,de, Dick, Supervisor
  • Veen, van, Hendrik, Supervisor
  • de Bruin, R., Assessment committee, External person
  • van Bueren, T., Assessment committee, External person
  • Corbellini, Sabrina, Assessment committee
  • Kempers, Bram, Assessment committee
Award date14-Nov-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-0897-2
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0896-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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