Siege of Malta

Francisco Balbi di Corregio: The Siege of Malta, 1565. Balbi was an Italian veteran of the siege, and after the fact wrote this account of all that happened, drawing on his own experiences and on interviews with other veterans. Two English translations exist, the easiest to find is that by Ernle Bradford.

Ernle Bradford: The Great Siege: Malta 1565. Bradford’s is a highly readable narrative history of the siege, somewhat lacking in biographical detail and relying overmuch on secondary sources, not all of them strictly reliable.

Stephen C. Spiteri: The Great Siege: Knights vs. Turks mdlxv – Anatomy of a Hospitaller Victory. Spiteri is a professor at the Univeristy of Malta. He has produced a virtual encyclopedia of the siege with a particular emphasis on the mechanics of soldiering at the time and the details of military architecture and weaponry. Profusely illustrated with maps, renderings, photos of artifacts and the island today, the book is indispensible for any serious study of the siege.


Fernand Braudel: The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. A standard reference for this period (1550-1598), this two volume work answers almost any question the reader could have concerning the doings of his subject. Volume two is the historical narrative, enriched by contemporary source material and for the general reader the more engaging.

Roger Crowley: Empires of the Sea. In tone, much like Bradford (albeit better sourced), but casts a broader net from the Siege of Rhodes to the battle of Lepanto.

John Francis Guilmartin: Galleons and Galleys. A now classic study of sixteenth century naval warfare, the book is broken down into sections dealing with the technical consideraions of galley construction and tactics and narratives of various naval battles that illustrate the problems contemporary conditions encountered. The book includes a long chapter on the events of 1565.

Kenneth M. Setton: The Papacy and the Levant (1204-1571). This extraordinary work offers a rambling chatty ramble through Mediterranean history drawing on the contemporary European material in which Setton was highly versed. For a book aimed at an academic audience, this work proves remarkably engaging for the serious general reader. Volume four, The Sixteenth Century from Julius III to Pius V covers the period involving the siege of Malta.