Statutes of the Hospital of Jerusalem Knights of Malta


This book is perhaps the most beautifully produced collection of statutes in Western culture. Its original illustrations integrate woodcuts and engravings, and its type is beautifully designed. The purpose of the book was to aggrandize the power and authority of Grand Master of the Order of the Hospital (also known as the Knights of Malta or Knights Hospitaller) Hugues Loubens de Verdalle (1581–95). Verdalle became grand master at a time when the office was increasing in prestige and authority, both over its own knights and the people of Malta. The Order of the Hospital received favorable recognition, money, and new recruits after its successful defense of Malta against the Ottoman Turks in 1565. The order’s success, however, created internal tensions between the veterans and the “new” members, who rebelled against the grand master in 1581. When Verdalle became the next grand master of the order at the turn of the year, he established Malta as a sovereign state, independent of European meddling. He used art, architecture, and, as here, the book arts to demonstrate to his order and to the rest of Europe the power and authority of the grand master.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Titi & Pauli de Dianis, Rome


Title in Original Language

Statuta Hospitalis Hierusalem


Type of Item

Physical Description

20 unnumbered pages, 207 numbered pages, 17unnumbered pages : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 32 centimeters


Last updated: September 11, 2012