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Title: The Knights of Malta, 1530-1793 : aspects of military-religious masculinity
Other Titles: Los caballeros de la Orden de Malta, 1530-1798. Aspectos de la masculinidad militar-religiosa
Authors: Buttigieg, Emanuel
Davies, Franco
Brincat, Fleur
Keywords: Malta -- History -- Knights of Malta, 1530-1798
Knights of Malta -- History
Order of St John -- History
Hospitalers -- Mediterranean Region -- History
Masculinity -- Religious aspects
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar
Citation: Buttigieg, E., Davies, F., & Brincat, F. (2019). The Knights of Malta, 1530-1793 : aspects of military-religious masculinity. Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar, 8(17), 146-73.
Abstract: The Hospitaller knights of the Order of St John (of Malta) are often represented in heroic poses that easily recall the image of the knight in shining armour. Yet their status was very particular. They were religious knights, but not bound to a monastic cloistered life. They hailed from the cream of European nobility, yet were expected to be loyal to their Order, while often being called to serve European sovereigns. There was a particular "Hospitaller gender regime' which was dictated by the very act of belonging to the Order, but this was a multi-faceted organism. This paper will explore this regime through a study of ideas related to war, masculinity, swords, and military engineers, within the context of the Order of Malta. It will start with a discussion of how the conferment upon an individual of the Hospitaller habit - generally through an elaborate investiture ceremony- marked a point of transition for that individual, from a boy to a man, and a !(night of St John. During this ritual, a number of objects were used to animate this process, most prominent of which was the sword. Some Hospitallers, then, experienced the reverse procedure, the ritual of being defrocked of their habit as a result of some grave offence. Here again, masculine ideals were exhibited in highlighting one's downfall from grace into infamy. While these procedures were symbolic, they were reflective of the realities experienced by members of the Order. The way Hospitallers related to weapons, swords in particular, said a lot about their cultural make-up. Furthermore, the role of military engineers employed by the Order, and who often were or became members of the institution during their service to the Order, is explored here by way of illustrating the variety of manifestations of masculinity in a noble military-religious-hospitaller institution like the Order of St. John.
ISSN: 2254-6111
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtHis

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