Arx Occasional Papers - Hospitaller Gunpowder Magazines

The second issue of ARX Occasional Papers (2012) is dedicated to a detailed exposition of the Magasins à Poudre and other military storehouses built by the Knights of the Order of St John in the Maltese islands

throughout the course of the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries.  This was a time when the Order of St John came to rely heavily on French military engineers and their ideas influenced many aspects of the islands’ fortifications. Amongst the new devices which were introduced into Malta and Gozo by French engineers were the Vauban-style polveriere, or magasins à poudre as they were also referred to in contemporary records. This study follows the development of these dedicated structures and their various technical features as employed within the Hospitaller context, and examines the manner in which they were designed, constructed and equipped, and the manner in which they functioned within the knights’ overall logistical set-up. The publication is fully illustrated with contemporary plans of all the major types of magazines built by the knights, photographs of the existing structures and their features as well as detailed 3D computer generated graphic reconstructions prepared by the author, Dr Stephen C Spiteri Ph.D, specifically for this work.



The next issue of ARX Occasional Papers (No. 3 – 2013) will be devoted to an in-depth study of Fort St Elmo at the time of the Great Siege in 1565, based on the latest research and archaeological discoveries. This will be the first part in a forthcoming series of researched papers  about the fortifications of the Great Siege which will cover the Birgu and Senglea defences, Mdina and the Gozo Citadel.

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