Rare plan of the 'Great Siege of Malta'
By LAFRERI, Antonio , 1565

Ultimo disegno delli forti di Malta venuto nuouamente...

Europe Mediterranean
  • Author: LAFRERI, Antonio
  • Publication place: Rome
  • Publisher: Ant[onio] Lafreri
  • Publication date: August, 1565.
  • Physical description: Engraved broadsheet map, with extended margins.
  • Dimensions: 440 by 620mm. (17.25 by 24.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1242


On the 19th May 1565, the Maltese were subjected to a four month siege by the largest armada that had ever left the Bosporus. The Ottomans believed that control of this strategically important island was vital in their war against the Christian powers; and although they had a significant numerical advantage – 30,000 men against the defenders 700 knights and 9000 men – the Ottoman siege proved unsuccessful and that same year they withdrew from Malta.

During the siege several publishers issued broadsheet or ‘news-maps’ in order to feed the voracious public appetite for news on the siege’s latest developments. One such publisher was Antonio Lafreri who issued several maps of the Island and of various stages of the siege – including the Ottomans’ eventual retreat.


  1. Tooley, Maps in Italian Atlases of the Sixteenth Century, 384.