Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: The Eighteenth Century Hospitaller galley and the meals served on board
Authors: Gauci, Liam (2007)
Keywords: Malta -- History -- Knights of Malta, 1530-1798
Operational rations (Military supplies)
Navies -- Malta -- History
Food -- History -- Malta
Issue Date: 2007
Citation: Gauci, L. (2007). The Eighteenth Century Hospitaller galley and the meals served on board (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: The Hospitallier Order of the Knights of St. John has always captured my imagination. I have always wanted to work and study on this period of Maltese history. The last century or so has seen the publication of a number of general histories of the navy but none have looked into food and drink offered on board in great detail. I set out to learn and find out what meals the men aboard the Hospitallier galleys were served, what the knights ate, what the sailors, soldiers, and slaves ate. Except for the knights, many of the other ranks aboard consisted of Maltese men. Our forefathers toiled on the Order's galleys, I wanted to learn about a snippet of their lives aboard. I wanted to know what it was like for 700 men to live on a meagre 150 feet-long seacraft. Where did they have their meals? What did they eat? I wanted to 'taste' history in the true sense of the term. The purpose of this dissertation is to understand as fully possible the type of food eaten aboard a Hospitaller galley in the eighteenth century. When I set out to do such work my initial intentions were much more far-reaching. I asked myself how hard could it be to understand and describe food eaten aboard. It soon turned out to be precisely that. The more I scoured the documents, the more research I did, the more I realized how little we know about the subject. It became apparent that the more information I gathered the more questions arose. Hence my dissertation. To understand the food eaten aboard, other aspects had to be discussed. The eighteenth century had to be analyzed, an account had to be made of the previous history of the navy, the physical structure of an eighteenth-century galley had to be described. Only then could the meals finally be discussed. In the hope of being better appreciated. Every victual needed to be described in great detail. Apart from the numerous history books, I have also consulted international cooking books used by chefs around the world. This was essential to understand the various ways such victuals could be prepared. It helped to understand in what type of dishes different spices, vegetables and other victuals were stored. No document which I have consulted provides us with whole recipes which were cooked aboard Hospitaller galleys. The documents simply give us lists of victuals. It is up to the historian to resort to experimental archaeology to finally solve what was possibly eaten aboard. A further help to the present dissertation were the results published in 2003 of the excavations which were conducted at Galley Creek. These excavations offered me another perspective, the recovered items gave more life to the information I had gathered from the National Archives. With the pictures of the pieces recovered from the bottom of the harbour, life aboard began to appear closer to everyday reality. Finally, in the conclusion I compare the food and drinks consumed aboard the Order's galleys with those of the other navies of the time. This has been made possible with the help of a Swedish report of 1782. This is a report on the major navies of the world, including the Hospitaller navy. Many of the primary sources I have consulted have already been used by other historians. What I tried to do which has not been done yet, to my knowledge, was to scrutinize every individual victual identified. This dissertation is by no means a conclusive study. What I think I have contributed to historical scholarship, with particular reference to Hospitaller history, is a clearer picture, indeed a clearer comprehension, of each and every single article of food available on board the eighteenth-century galley. No historian, as far as I am aware, has ever approached the subject in such detail.
Description: B.A.(HONS)HISTORY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1999-2010
Dissertations - FacArtHis - 1967-2010

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
BA(HONS) HISTORY_Gauci_Liam (2007)_ 2007.pdf
  Restricted Access
5.36 MBAdobe PDFView/Open Request a copy

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.