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Title: The Gozo Vitello d’Oro Treasure of 1729
Authors: Zammit, William
Keywords: Vilhena, Antonio Manoel de, 1663-1736
Gozo (Malta) -- History -- 18th century
Hospitalers -- Malta -- Gozo -- History
Treasure troves -- Malta -- Gozo -- Folklore
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: University of Malta. Junior College
Citation: Zammit, W. (2016). The Gozo Vitello d’Oro Treasure of 1729. Symposia Melitensia, Vol. 12, p. 203-218
Abstract: The study sheds new light upon what is perhaps the best-known story of a treasure trove discovered in Gozo, consisting of an idol in the form of a golden calf that was reputedly unearthed by Antonio Pace in 1729. The episode resulted in the arrest, torture and death of Giuseppe Cassar, accused of having acquired the treasure and refusing to hand it over to Grand Master Vilhena. Cassar’s substantial property was also confiscated and subsequently passed over by the grand master to the hospital of St John in Gozo. The story of the discovery was doubted even by some contemporaries, while others such as the Hospitaller Baron de Stadl and the historians Agius de Soldanis and Giovanni Antonio Ciantar accepted it. Newlydiscovered documentation confirms the unreliable character of Pace and the activity of Cassar as a money-lender which may have contributed to his fall. Grand Master Vilhena himself was not averse to interfering directly in the course of justice to suit his own ends. All this makes it most likely that the discovery was a figment of Pace’s imagination and which resulted in the brutal death of Cassar and the taking over of his wealth.
ISSN: 1812-7509
Appears in Collections:SymMel, 2016, Volume 12
SymMel, 2016, Volume 12

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