This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.
Some brief facts regarding the history of the monument to the Great Siege of Malta. The monument was originally located opposite the site of the old Auberge d’Auvergne, now the Courts of Justice building, but now stands adjacent to St John’s Co Cathedral on Republic Street in Valletta.
- This monument is the work of the renowned Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino who worked on it during 1926 while in Rome.
- It was inaugurated on 8th May 1927.
- During the inauguration, Chief Justice Arturo Mercieca delivered his speech in Italian, while the priest, philosopher and poet Anastasio Cuschieri delivered a speech in Maltese, both in the presence of the British Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Thomas Alexander Vans Best. This illustrated the language question and the political tension of the time.
- In 2010 it was restored to addressed the effects of unfavourable atmospheric conditions, in particular the natural weathering process caused mainly by salt deposition, acidic bird droppings as well as past interventions.
- Since October 2017, the monument has been used as a makeshift memorial to the murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
- The monument originally faced Auberge d’Auvergne. Due to the extensive damaged caused during WWII the remains of the original Auberge were removed and in the 60s the Courts of Justice were built on the same site.
- It consists of three bronze figures, two females and a male in the middle.
- These female figures are wearing flowing dresses as well as a band in their hair.
- The central muscular male figure is wearing a three-pointed crown, half a suit of armour, holds a sword in his right hand which points down the centre of the monument and holds a shield with his left hand.
- The monument is a work of Neoclassical sculpture which lacks ancient models focussing on figures from the Roman era.
- The monument shows powerful simple lines which hint at Sciortino’s avant-garde style.
- The positioning of the figures was inspired by Davide Calandra’s relief La Glorificazione della Dinastia Sabauda at the Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome.
- This monument is also known as the ‘Monument to the Fallen of the Great Siege’.
- The female figure on the left represents Faith and carries a papal tiara (a crown that was worn by popes of the Catholic Church) in her outstretched hand.
- The female figure on the right represents Civilisation and carries a mask of Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom.
- The central male figure represents Fortitude or Valour.