On Saturday, I will be giving a public lecture about a Muslim siege in Gozo that occurred before 1400 A.D. Unfortunately, the history of this siege does not form part of Malta’s chronicle, as it is unknown to both Maltese and European historians, despite being well recorded in Arab and medieval Muslim sources. Thanks to the research conducted by Francis X. Cassar, his research in Arab texts for references to Malta led him to unearth a series of medieval documents referring to Muslim culture in Malta. Among the documents he discovered, two documents refer to a Muslim siege against Gozo. During this siege, the entire Christian population of Gozo was put to the sword. Only the women and the children were spared.
The discovery of these two documents complements another discovery made by Cassar about an attack, led by a Maltese army, against Djerba in 1039 A.D. and the well-known references to Malta in Al Athir’s text. What is more important is that these two texts about this siege on Gozo fill the hiatus left by Al Qazwini when he refers to the failed attempt by the Byzantines to recapture Malta in 1054 A.D. This important discovery in the history of Malta will be the subject of this lecture. These two documents will be read and analysed within the context of what is already known about the Arab period in Malta’s history.
The lecture will be held on Saturday, 24 June 2023, at 10 am at the Ministry for Gozo, Exhibition Hall, St Francis Square, Ir-Rabat, Gozo.
This event is kindly sponsored by The Alfred Mizzi Foundation.