Thursday, June 13, 2013

Historical Footnotes - St. Michael

St. Michael stood as one of two bastions held by the Knights of St. John and their allies the Maltese with a host of Spanish and Italian mercenaries. Their third bastion, Ft. St. Elmo the Ottomans took by storm, killing the few who had survived the 30 day siege, beheading them and throwing their bodies int he harbor tied to crosses. The followed the obliteration of St. Elmo up with encircling the bastions of St. Michael and her neighbor the Birgu.

For weeks on end the Ottomans attacked the walls, battering them with canon and sending waves of troops against them. From ladders to boats they through everything they had at the, and though they were slowly wasting their numbers away they could not break their spirit.

At one point in the siege the Ottomans struck on the idea to separate the Maltese from their overlords, the Knights. So the Ottomans gathered some few of those Maltese who had joined their cause (and their were precious few as the Ottomans constantly enslaved them) and sent them into the front trenches to call on their brethren behind the wall to surrender, promising them all manner of goods, freedom and wealth. 

An old Maltese Paulo Micho stood the wall when one such battery of promises were hurled at them. "You are lower than a dog," he responded "and we would rather be slaves to the Knights of St. John than companions of the Ottomans. At that the propagandists offered to spare Paulo's life; only let him know where he (Paulo) would be and call out to him when the Ottomans took the walls, otherwise he would never enjoy his vineyard again and he would no poverty, slavery or worse.

Paulo replied, "I have been repaid for my vineyard in Ottoman blood. 

The Siege of Matla, Francisco Balbi di Correggio.

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