Grand Master’s dagger to return to Malta after 200 years for exhibition

The dagger that belonged to Grand Master Jean de Valette is being loaned to Malta for a Heritage Malta exhibition, returning to the island after 219 years

21 February 2017, 11:21am
It was only after Bonaparte’s death that the dagger was put on exhibit together with the sword at the Louvre, Heritage Malta said
It was only after Bonaparte’s death that the dagger was put on exhibit together with the sword at the Louvre, Heritage Malta said
The dagger that belonged to Grand Master Jean de Valette, is to be brought to Malta on loan from the Louvre for the first time since 1798 for a Heritage Malta exhibition.

The dagger, together with a sword, had been presented to de Valette by King Philip II of Spain in recognition of the Grand Master’s victory of the Great Siege.  

According to Heritage Malta, the dagger and the sword, originally kept at the Grand Master’s Palace, were shown to the public once a year in a procession held on 8 September, marking the day when the Great Siege (1565) was lifted.

This tradition was held until 1797, when, the following year, the Maltese islands were occupied by French General Napoleon Bonaparte.

"His [Napolean’s] ambition was to furnish a museum with possessions from conquered states. But while the sword was sent to the museum in France along with other artefacts, Napoleon decided to keep the dagger to himself,” Heritage Malta said.

It was only after Bonaparte’s death that the dagger was put on exhibit together with the sword at the Louvre, Heritage Malta added. 

The exhibition de Valette’s dagger will be held at the National Museum of Archaeology, starting from 18 March, and carrying on until the end of June 2017.

The dagger, which will be the main focus of the exhibition, will be accompanied by a selected number of other related exhibits from the national collection.