Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE - In the Vat­i­can

sider­able sum of 600 scudi an­nu­ally.

Cenni’s 70-page man­u­script was la­bo­ri­ously and care­fully tran­scribed and en­riched by co­pi­ous foot­notes which at­test to the depth of study which Pisani ap­plied to his task. In­deed, his book can be en­joyed on three lev­els. On the first level there are highly in­ter­est­ing short es­says on the Or­der’s his­to­ri­og­ra­phy with bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails and ex­ten­sive analy­ses about its ma­jor his­to­ri­ans, both pub­lished ones like Bo­sio and Dal Pozzo, and un­pub­lished ones, like Sal­va­tore Im­broll and Carlo Michallef, and, of course, Luca Cenni him­self.

Then there is the tran­scrip­tion of Cenni’s ac­count which has lain, known to but a few, in the archives of the Or­der at the National Li­brary in Val­letta.

On the third level there are the learned notes them­selves which are full of in­ter­est­ing de­tails, with the only com­plaint be­ing that they are pre­sented in a rather small point-size which makes them hard to read, es­pe­cially since they are so ex­haus­tive.

The present book is the out­come of re­search con­ducted for an MA in Mediter­ranean His­tor­i­cal Stud­ies which Paul Ge­orge Pisani, a well-known Pub­lic No­tary from Gozo and the son of poet Ġorġ Pisani, ob­tained from the Univer­sity of Malta. This re­search even took him to Italy in search of the full iden­tity of the au­thor of the man­u­script which up till now has re­mained in the shad­ows of his­tory.

Cenni’s de­tailed ac­count is ob­vi­ously built on much di­rect in­put by peo­ple who par­tic­i­pated in the fight­ing and thus gives valu­able in­sight es­pe­cially, as Dal Pozzo had noted, there was a lack of in­for­ma­tion in the Or­der’s reg­is­ters about Lepanto.

Pisani’s re­search has man­aged to tease a few bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails about Cenni who was in­vited to Malta to con­tinue the of­fi­cial his­tory of the Or­der for an an­nual sum of 600 scudi. On 3 Au­gust 1668 the Coun­cil ap­pointed him as the of­fi­cial his­to­ri­og­ra­pher of the Or­der. His two big vol­umes, with their over-70 pages of the ac­count of Lepanto, were never pub­lished, but Mat­tia Preti – an Ital­ian Baroque artist who was also a Knight of the Or­der – did two sketches for the fron­tispiece and ded­i­ca­tion page; both are re­pro­duced on the front and back of the dust jacket which en­riches Pisani’s pub­li­ca­tion.

De­signed by pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher Daniel Cilia, and printed and hard bound at Ba­roni and Gori S.R.L., of Prato, Italy, the book is lav­ishly il­lus­trated with var­i­ous de­pic­tions of the epic sea bat­tle, por­traits of many of the pro­tag­o­nists, maps, and sketches that show the de­vel­op­ment of the clash. All th­ese are ev­i­dence of the vast pic­to­rial re­search car­ried by Pisani him­self and are an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion and merit to be an­a­lysed care­fully.

There are also eight use­ful ap­pen­dices re­lat­ing to doc­u­ments re­fer­ring to the bat­tle in the Archives of the Or­der in the National Li­brary, Luca Cenni, the ar­ti­cles of the Holy League, the or­der of bat­tle, Romegas’ eye­wit­ness ac­count, Im­broll-Michallef’s ac­count, and the ‘Rime per la Vit­to­ria’ – cel­e­bra­tory verses.

Paul Ge­orge Pisani, The Bat­tle of Lepanto. 7 Oc­to­ber 1572. An un­pub­lished Hospi­taller ac­count, Malta, 2015; ISBN: 978-99957-846-3-8. Pub­lished by The Sale­sians of Don Bosco.

The Bat­tle of Lepanto

An over­all plan of the Gulf of Pa­tras show­ing fleet and stages of the Bat­tle of Lepanto

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