'The Maltese Enlightenment' Lecture at the Universita di Roma 3 Dr Frans Ciappara has just returned from Universita di Roma 3. He conducted a two-hour session on 'The Maltese Enlightenment' to third-year History students. Dr Ciappara is a specialist on the subject as his latest work Enlightenment and Reform in Malta, 1740-1798 testifies. He emphasised to the students that the two grand masters, Pinto and Rohan, were both in their way 'philosopher sovereigns' aided by able functionaries who adhered to the new spirit of utility in the service of the public good. Their programme included transforming the economy, education, judicial proceedings, public administration, and the relations between Church and State. In some respects the approach could appear cautious in the context of mainland Europe but in the context of eighteenth-century Malta it was a major revolution.

Of special importance to the Italian students was the cultural contact that existed between Malta and the Italian states in the second half of the eighteenth century. Enlightened reformers like Beccaria, Gio. Lami, Muratori and Paciaudi influenced their counterparts in Malta. For instance, the Costituzioni of the newly-established University of Malta, set up after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, were lifted word for word from Paciaudi's for the studio of Parma.