Great Siege Monument

The Great Siege Monument (Maltese: Il-Monument tal-Assedju l-Kbir), also known as the Monument to the Fallen of the Great Siege,[1] is a monument commemorating the Great Siege of Malta located in Valletta, Malta. It consists of three bronze figures symbolizing Faith, Fortitude (or Valour), and Civilization, standing on top of a granite base. The monument is the work of the sculptor Antonio Sciortino, and it was inaugurated on 8 May 1927.[2]

Great Siege Monument
Maltese: Il-Monument tal-Assedju l-Kbir
Great Siege Monument - Valletta.jpg
ArtistAntonio Sciortino
Completion date8 May 1927 (1927-05-08)
LocationValletta, Malta
Coordinates35°53′52.9″N 14°30′45.1″E / 35.898028°N 14.512528°E / 35.898028; 14.512528Coordinates: 35°53′52.9″N 14°30′45.1″E / 35.898028°N 14.512528°E / 35.898028; 14.512528


The Great Siege Monument was sculpted by Antonio Sciortino in 1926, while he was in Rome. It was then cast in bronze using the lost-wax method, and the monument was inaugurated in Valletta on 8 May 1927.[3] During the inauguration, Chief Justice Arturo Mercieca delivered his speech in Italian, while the priest, philosopher and poet Anastasio Cuschieri delivered a speech in Maltese, both in the presence of the British Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Thomas Alexander Vans Best. This illustrated the language question and the political tension of the time.[1]

The monument is located in Great Siege Square (Maltese: Misraħ l-Assedju l-Kbir)[3] along Valletta's main road, Republic Street (Maltese: Triq ir-Repubblika) by the side of Saint John's Co-Cathedral.[4] The monument originally faced Auberge d'Auvergne,[5] which was replaced by the Courts of Justice building in the 1960s after the original building had been severely damaged in World War II.[4]

The Great Siege Monument appeared on three Maltese stamps issued in 1956, 1962 and 1972.[6] It also featured on the 50 cents coin of the Maltese pound that was first minted in 1972 and was used for general circulation until it was replaced in 1986.[7]

The monument was restored between August[8] and September 2010.[4][9] It is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.[3]

Since October 2017, the monument has been used as a makeshift memorial to journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia by members of her family and anti-government protesters.[10][11] For a while the tributes were removed on a daily basis by Government employees.[12]


The three figures from left to right: Faith, Fortitude (or Valour), and Civilization
Parliamentary chamber of the Palazzo Montecitorio, with La Glorificazione della Dinastia Sabauda at the top. The three figures in the centre of the relief resemble the positioning of the Great Siege Monument figures

The Great Siege Monument is considered to be a work of Neoclassical sculpture,[3] exhibiting powerful simple lines which hint at Sciortino's avant-garde style. It has been called "one of the most emblematic sculptures on the island".[1] The statue consists of three bronze figures set on top of a granite base.[5][3] The positioning of the figures relates closely to Davide Calandra's relief La Glorificazione della Dinastia Sabauda at the Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome.[1]

The three figures are said to be allegorical representations of Faith, Fortitude (or Valour), and Civilization.[5] The male figure in the centre is described as Fortitude[3] or Valour,[13] and he is portrayed bare-chested and wearing a three-pointed crown and some armour, while holding a sword and a shield. There is a female figure on either side, with Faith on the left and Civilization on the right. Faith holds a papal tiara, while Civilization holds a mask of Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Muscat, Mark Geoffrey (2016). "The Influence of Art Deco and Italian Futurism". Maltese Architecture 1900–1970: Progress and Innovations. Valletta: Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. p. 43. ISBN 9789990932065.
  2. ^ Meilak, Daniel. "David versus Goliath and the Apotheosis of Malta: Romanticising the Siege of Malta during the Rise of Nationalism (1860-1939)". Melita Historica. XVII (1): 140–172.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Great Siege Monument" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Great Siege monument restored". Times of Malta. 7 September 2010. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Nelson, Nina (1978). Malta. London: Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-0941-X.
  6. ^ The JB Catalogue of Malta Stamps and Postal History (22 ed.). Sliema: Sliema Stamp Shop Publishers. 2014. pp. 18, 20, 31.
  7. ^ Said Malta Coin & Banknote Catalogue 2010. Valletta: Said International Ltd. 2010. p. 114. ISBN 9789990943269.
  8. ^ "FimBank sponsors restoration of Great Siege monument". Times of Malta. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Restored Great Siege Monument unveiled". The Malta Independent. 7 September 2010. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Candles for Daphne Caruana Galizia at Valletta memorial". Malta Today. 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018.
  11. ^ Xuereb, Matthew (11 February 2018). "Valletta mayor says council has no power to decide on Caruana Galizia memorial". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018.
  12. ^ Bonnici, Julian (2 December 2019). "Daphne Caruana Galizia Memorial Cleared Yet Again Less Than 24 Hours After Thousands Gathered In Valletta Calling For Immediate Resignations". Lovin Malta.
  13. ^ "The Great Siege Monument in Valletta". Din l-Art Ħelwa. 6 October 2011. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Great Siege Monument at Wikimedia Commons