Abela, John Francis

, the historian of Malta; born in that ilsand [sic] about the end of the sixteenth century, descended from an illustrious family, which became extinct on his death. He entered of the order of the knights of Jerusalem, and distinguished himself so as to attain, before 1622, the title of vice-chancellor, and, at last, that of commander. He is principally known by a very rare and curious work, entitled, “Malta illustrata, ovvero della descrizione di Malta, con le sue antichità, ed altre notizie,Malta, 1647, fol. In this volume the author has displayed great learning, and has accumulated a fund of information on every part of the history of his country. It is divided into four books, comprehending the topography and actual state of the island of Malta, its antient history, churches, convents, and an account of the grand masters, and most distinguished families and individuals. A few particulars of his life’are incidentally noticed, by which it appears that he had travelled over the greatest part of Europe, in quest of antient books and remains of antiquity, and corresponded with the most eminent scholars of his time, as Gualteri, Holstein, and Peiresc. This history, which he yvrote when considerably advanced in life, was translated into Latin by John Anthony Seiner, with a short preface, first published separately, and afterwards, in 1725, printed in the 15th volume of Gnsvius’ “Thesaurus antiquitatum et historiarum Sicilice.” Burmann, in his preface to the llth volume of that Thesaurus, blames Abela for admitting some fabulous traditions; but adds, that this little defect is more than compensated by his great learning ,2


Biographie Universelle, 1811