The dagger that belonged to Grand Master de la Valette is to be brought to Malta on loan from the Louvre for a Heritage Malta exhibition coinciding with Malta's EU Presidency.
The dagger, together with a sword, had been presented to the grand master by King Philip II of Spain after the victory of the Great Siege.
Heritage Malta said 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 September 8 to mark the day when the Great Siege (1565) was lifted.
This tradition was held till 1797, since a year later the Maltese islands were occupied by French General Napoleon Bonaparte.
"Napoleon was very fond of military leaders, including de Valette. His 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. In fact after Bonaparte’s death the dagger was put on exhibit together with the sword at the Louvre," Heritage Malta said.
The exhibition de Valette’s dagger will be held at the National Museum of Archaeology from March 18 till 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.
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