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"Napoleon never pillaged Malta" Topic

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Tango0112 Sep 2018 9:37 p.m. PST

"The French plunder of Malta in the late 18th century was a lie told by Maltese aristocrats and clerics to justify a bloody uprising, according to a new book on the era.

Broadcaster and Francophile Charles Xuereb's book France in the Maltese Collective Memory, claims that the looting of Maltese churches, widely accepted as the impetus behind the 1798 uprising, was little more than a ruse by the upper classes to maintain political control of the island.

"We have this notion of French soldiers pillaging churches across the island. This didn't happen. Dioceses for instance were barely touched and whatever silver was taken was definitely not stolen," Dr Xuereb said…"
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Green Tiger13 Sep 2018 2:14 a.m. PST

It seems very unlikely – they pillaged everywhere else they went – including France…

Roderick Robertson Fezian13 Sep 2018 8:23 a.m. PST

"whatever silver was taken was definitely not stolen"

Hmm, yeah, it was graciously given by the churches to the quiet, studious, reverent, apologetic soldiers.

Brechtel19813 Sep 2018 9:10 a.m. PST

they pillaged everywhere else they went – including France…

That depended on who the commander was and at what level. Napoleon did not hold with pillaging, nor did Davout and other French commanders.

Another sweeping statement…

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2018 11:55 a.m. PST

A moment of reality here. If Napoleon really didn't hold with pillaging, could someone identify ANY measures he initiated to put an end to it? (And does anyone have an explanation for all the Italian artwork still in the Louvre?)

The "voluntary contributions" and the "local democracy" bear a depressing resemblance to how the French government dealt with the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and much of Germany--and with how the Soviet Union liberated central Europe. (I'm even starting to have my doubts about the Delian League.) If someone wants to claim the "gifts" weren't coerced, and the local officials had real authority--well, I'm going to need to see a small mountain of evidence. As far as I can see, only the Battle of the Nile saved the Maltese from being the Principality of Malta under some Bonaparte in law or cousin, and 16 year old Maltese from freezing to death in the retreat from Moscow.

Green Tiger14 Sep 2018 1:24 a.m. PST

That depended on who the commander was and at what level. Napoleon did not hold with pillaging, nor did Davout and other French commanders….

Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha !!

von Winterfeldt14 Sep 2018 1:56 a.m. PST

go and visit churches in Verona, a lot of copies of art paintings, the originals robbed by Boney.

He did not even care about graves – didn't he take the sword and hat of Frederick the Great away from Potsdam, the money he paid his Armée d'Italie – kindly donated by free heart from the Italians?

Wasn't he know – rightly so – as thieve of Europe?

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2018 9:03 a.m. PST

To quote Kevin

nor did Davout and other French commanders

Davout and St. Cyr were not into plundering. As to some of the others, we'll start with the defeat at Bailen where the army was loaded down with plunder. Then I remembered Soult and I started laughing to hard at Kevin's statement that I can't finish this sen…..

ConnaughtRanger14 Sep 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

PLEASE can we not go round this yet again. I thought it had long been established in this Forum that no-one in the French Army stole so much as a brass sou from anyone in any country at any time during the subject period. The British were the ones who stole everything and were generally beastly to Johnny Foreigner.

Tango0114 Sep 2018 12:16 p.m. PST

(big smile)


MaggieC7014 Sep 2018 3:37 p.m. PST

I have often wondered what exactly was the Big Deal about looting and pillaging and stealing and appropriating back in the day? Why should we care, we who are not products of the late 18th/early 19th centuries, nor ascribe to the mores and customs of that time?

Guys, it's what armies did. Everybody's army. Looted the family cow, stole the sheep, made off with reliquaries from the local church, pilfered eggs and the farmer's daughter, and sent the really valuable big stuff home to a museum.

To the victor belong the spoils, yes? Rock on, looters, and steal something for me. The rest of you stop being so bloody sanctimonious.

Tango0115 Sep 2018 11:51 a.m. PST

I'm with you MaggieC70!!….


Brechtel19815 Sep 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

Very well said Maggie. Keep up the good work.

Brechtel19815 Sep 2018 5:05 p.m. PST

The 'culprit(s)' for the looting in Northern Italy were the agents of the Directory.

Napoleon attempted, too many times unsuccessfully, to curb their looting.

There is convincing evidence of this in The Road to Rivoli by Boycott-Brown.

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