A Day in History History

Pavlos Melas

Early Years

Pavlos Melas was born in Marseilles, France, on March 29, 1870. He was one of the seven children of mainland merchant Michael Melas and Helen Vuccina (daughter of a wealthy Cephalonian trader from Odessa). The origin of his family was from Parakalamamos Pogoniou of Epirus, where the ruins of the family tower still survive.

In 1874 his family settled in Athens and resided in a building on Panepistimiou Street (which today is the headquarters of the Athenian Club).

At that time the main national and political ideological current in Greece was the Great Idea, the expansion of the Greek state’s borders to include Greek countries that were under foreign rule.

Michael Melas shared this vision and spent a significant portion of his personal fortune on it. In 1878 he became a treasurer of the National Defense, an organization which supported alienated movements in Epirus and Crete. He dealt with politics, was elected a deputy of Attica in 1890 and the mayor of Athens the following year. In such an ideological climate young Pavlos was brought up.

University Years & Marriage

Pavlos Melas with his wife and children

In 1885 Melas completed his secondary education and in September, 1886, began his five-year training at the Hellenic Army Military School in Piraeus, where he graduated in August, 1891, as a lieutenant in the 18th Artillery.

At the same time he met Natalia Dragoumi, daughter of politician and future Prime Minister Stefanos Dragoumis and sister of Ion Dragoumis. Stefanos Dragoumis was also a fiery patriot and had given his children the same ideals.

Pavlos and Natalia were married in October, 1892 and had two children: Michael Melas in 1895 and Zoe Mela in 1897.

Despite great differences in character, Natalia admired the boyisness that characterized Melas and supported him in his decisions, while Melas respected her sensible advice and regretted not feeling worthy enough to play the role of her patron.

With his children, who were a source of satisfaction, he did not hesitate to behave with love and with unshaken childlike behaviour even before others.

National Company and the War of 1897

Pavlos Melas with his brothers during the war of 1897

In August 1894, Melas along with 85 other officers participated in the destruction of the Acropolis newspaper offices, which, after the ruthless beating of a citizen by three officers, had published a front-page article denouncing their authoritarianism and questioned the usefulness of the officers’ corps. The soldiers were taken to the military court, but their pre-trial detention order remained unanswered and they were acquitted at the military court.

In November, fourteen of them founded the National Society, among which the first members were Melas, with a registration number 25.

Melas was one of the most active officers who were members of the National Society, with regard to the establishment of new subdivisions in the province and ensuring their seamless communication with its leadership.

On February 12, 1897, Melas served as a guard at the University of Athens when he was invited to return with his men to the artillery barracks. Under pressure from the National Society and against the will of the Great Powers, the Greek government had decided to send expeditionary troops to Crete to support the revolution there.

Disappointed, Melas learned that his unit was not included in the expedition. The next day, however, it was announced that his lowland fire, under the command of Prince Nicholas, would go to Larissa.

On February 16, 1897, the unit departed by ferry from Piraeus (through Chalkida) and arrived by train from Volos to Larissa. Covering his superiors, Melas was responsible for moving a 55-wagon train from Volos to the Greek-Ottoman national border of the National Society that intended to invade the Ottoman Empire to provoke war. The failed invasion of Greek mischief in Macedonia on April 9 gave the Ottoman government the cause it was seeking for a declaration of war. On April 18, diplomatic relations between the two countries were suspended and the war was declared.

In his diaries Melas appears excited by the start of hostilities. However, the rapid negative turn of events, the irregular retreat of the Greek army and the evacuation of Larissa disappointed Melas.

On May 18, with the news of his father’s telegram he became ill with a high fever and the doctor sent him to Lamia and then to the Thessaly Floating Hospital, where his wife was a volunteer nurse. Together they returned to his family home in Athens, where he recovered for a week and then requested and returned to Lamia. He would soon return to Athens because of the illness of his father, who died on June 17. In his father’s coffin Melas vowed to offer his life to the nation.

In January 1899, Melas became a member of the board of directors of the National Society, which dissolved itself in December 1900 following a general outcry over the defeat of 1897 and a dispute with the government over the management of its funds.

However, following a proposal by Melas and Nikolaos Politis, it was decided that the Board of Directors of the Company would continue to discuss national issues “suggesting similar solutions to the respective Government”.

Involvement in Macedonian Affairs

Mourning the outcome of the war of 1897, Melas was heavily involved in Macedonian affairs, which were of great importance to the Dragoumis, a family of politicians, all of whom were actively involved in the matter. Around the Dragoumi family and at the initiative of Mela’s brother-in-law, Ionas, an organization was formed to defend Hellenism in Macedonia. The idea was widely adopted by young officers and officers who had been members of the National Society.

Officers serving in the Army Cartographic Service carried weapons to Macedonia’s frontier into the hands of people such as the Metropolitan of Kastoria German Karavangelis. In November 1902, Ion Dragoumis was appointed vice-consul at the Monastery. From there, Dragoumis maintained correspondence with Melas, whom he informed by letter, asking him to send weapons, money, and recommended the acquisition of European newspapers.

In January 1903, Dragoumis informed Melas of the imminent establishment and aims of the Macedonian Committee of the “few people, rich and good” and rejected “sickness” as constitutional parliament, but only accepted parliament “Provincial” and not “national issues”, in order not to “make people angry if they take away their vote”.

Although Melas himself, like Stefanos Dragoumis, did not become a member of the Komitatos, they nevertheless cooperated with his members using their own network. At the request of the Metropolitan of Kastoria, Melas organized in May 1903 with the help of Lieutenant George Tsondos and with the sponsorship of Louisa Riankour the expedition to Karavangeli of eleven Cretan mercenaries.

These Cretans either escorted the bishop’s armed forces to perform divine service in outer villages or attacked groups of EMEA militias and, with Ilinden’s uprising, rebel peasants, until being sent by Karavagelis, in August, to Melas and Stefanos Dragoumis. In October, Ion Dragoumis wrote to Melas to be ready to move militarily, either against the Bulgarians in Macedonia or to seize power in Greece.

Armed action

Pavlos Melas, August 21st 1904

Kotas’s capture by the Ottoman authorities, probably after the betrayal of his former associates (German Karavangelis most likely), in June 1904, deprived the Greek side of its action in the region of Korestia. On August 14, shortly after his return from Kozani and with the intervention of Prime Minister George Theotokis, Melas was appointed by the Macedonian Commiton to head all the troops operating in the area of ​​Monastiri and Kastoria.

Melas departed with some secrecy four days later for his third tour of Macedonia accompanied by Pyrzas and three Cretans. In Larissa, Melas was hosted by Lieutenant Haralambos Lufa who, according to a letter sent by Melas to his wife, asked him to take his picture. Melas agreed and was photographed armed on August 21 by photographer Gerasimos Dafnopoulos.

On the night of the 27th of August, Pavlos Melas under the operational name “Zezas” and with an armed body of about 35 men, Cretans and Macedonians alike, crossed the Greek-Ottoman border and invaded the Macedonian territories near Ostrovo.

Mela’s armed body was home to local thieves and Cretans of similar occupations, who moved and acted like thief groups. Crossing the border, Melas tried to adopt the thief’s attitude, expelled the officer’s uniform and chose the dulama as his permanent garment, thereby gaining the respect of his men.

On August 30th, robber Thanasis Vagias (hired by Melas as a quide), defected and then handed Melas‘ body to the Ottomans. For more than a week Mela’s body wandered around the Samarina area, mounting at night, often in the rain, to pass unnoticed.

On September 5, after many days of confronting the local population’s suspicion, Melas and his companions reached the village of Zansko, where they were assisted and provided with by a trusted man. On September 7, they crossed Aliakmon river and with several stops in the Greek-speaking Patriarchal Kostaratsi (where they stayed for three days receiving requests for help from neighboring villages) arrived in the Albanian-speaking patriarchal village of Lechovo, on September 13.

There they met the local thief Zisis Dimoulios, who with the permission of the Ottoman authorities, maintained a body of nine men and worked for the patriarchal interests. With Pyrza, Melas debated the need to avenge the murder of the priest of the Slavonic-speaking village of Strabeno, who was assassinated by Komitas in November 1901.

For Melas and other Greek officers headed by the free Greek kingdom in Macedonia, the tacit refusal of Slav-speaking peasants to recognize their Bulgarian leader as Exarchate instead of the Ecumenical Patriarch was proof of their greekness. Melas regarded the Slav-speaking peasants as Greek as the Greek-speaking Cretans who accompanied him and believed that they had been alienated as a result of foreign domination, emigration, and a lack of Greek education.

He called them “Macedonians”, meaning that they were residents of Macedonia, and their language was “Macedonian” and considered them to be like the rest of the patriarch’s flute. Realizing the difficulty of identifying the peasants with national concepts, Melas explained to his men that the basis of the struggle they were to carry out was religion, which was offended by Bulgarian action. He chose the cross as his seal and the inscription “Nieto Nika”, symbols understood by the villagers he intended to associate.

On September 15, Melas launched his first operation. He arrested an elderly man and two children, aged 8 and 15, outside Stremben, and then the 15-year-old’s wanted father. Early in the evening the body invaded the village and arrested another wanted villager. He finally decided not to kill the two wanted men on the condition that they would go to the Greek Metropolis and declare submission to the Metropolitan there.

Mela’s lenient attitude caused the patriarchal village to look for retribution for the acts of violence perpetrated by the Bulgarian armed forces in previous years.

Despite the guerrillas’ doubts about Mela’s abilities as a military, they recognized his moral purity and courtesy and thus he enjoyed their appreciation.

On September 17, Melas attempted to stage an attack on the village of Aetozi, as it was a center for exterior separatists, but Zisi’s reluctance to cooperate with Lechovo changed his plans. Not having any men who knew the area and not being able to follow the elusive movements of the exterior bodies, he was forced to turn to individuals and decided to attack the neighboring village of Prekopana.

There he surrounded the local population and demanded that they declare allegiance to the Greek Metropolitan and ask for the mission of a new priest and teacher. To make his threat believable, he took with him the ex-teacher and the ex-priest and his associates executed them just outside the village.

He then headed to the village of Belkameni, where they were greeted by Greek villagers in secresy. The following afternoon the body entered the village and forced the Romanian teacher to flee. Early in the evening the body was directed to hit the slavic-speaking village of Neret.

The next day, however, their plans were thwarted when they realized that the village had a significant Ottoman army. Mela’s co-worker, Filippos Kapetanopoulos, was fatally injured during the unrest.

Negovani, 1906-1907

From Neret Mela’s body headed to patriarchal Lechovo and then to Negovani where it stayed for several days due to uninterrupted rainfall. During his stay in Negovani Melas organized the defense of the wider area.

They were met there on September 30 by priests from the Vlach village of Nevesca, who provided them with food and clothing, and Karalibanos with about forty men, causing Mela’s body to exceed the number of 70 in number.

Fragmented into four groups under Karalivanos, Giovanni, Poulakas and Pyrzas, the large body forced many komitas to flee their villages.

Death

Having organized the defense of the villages of Kastoria, Melas intended to let about fifty men to control the area and for himself to pass through Zelovo and Pisoderi to the area of ​​Megarovo and the Monastery, to expel the guerrillas from there and organize their defense for the winter.

On October 9th, he received aid from Greece and two days later a force of 60 men attacked planned members of komitas in the Neret community, where he was notified that three gangs of hijackers were hiding by the son of the murdered village priest.

The operation was fruitless and during the retreat the Greek troops were attacked by komitas, but managed to escape. After a failed raid on Neret, Melas wal left with half his men, stayed overnight in Vichy [95] and sent a message to Cyrus and Caudis on October 14 to meet near Statista.

Despite Pyrza’s objection that it would be safer not to enter the Statista, as it was a passage of the Turkish forces which regularly moved from Zelovo to Konoplati, Melas insisted on entering the village.

There they were welcomed to the village by local lords and by Dina (or Dine) Stergiou, a 24-year-old former komita and member of Mitros Vlacho’s team.

Dina would lead Mela’s body to the meeting place with Caudis and Cyrus on October 14 and help Melas divide his men in five houses. On the afternoon of October 13, when informed that an Ottoman extract had departed from Konoplati, Melas was not worried, knowing that it was not a Turkish policy to deliberately attack Greek groups, who relieved them of the task of pursuing Komitas.

However, the extract had been mobilized after receiving a misleading letter written in Greek by the outlaw komita Mitros Vlachos and sent by a villager, which wrote that he was in Statista himself, estimating that the Turkish lord would come to receive the payment for turning him in, all the while causing Mela’s death

On October 13, the village was surrounded by an Ottoman army of 150 men and clashes broke out. The next day’s dawn found Melas dead under unspecified conditions.

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Lifestyle Monthly Favourites

September Favourites 2019

Songs

Chain Reaction – Diana Ross

This is a 80’s R&B song written by the Bee Gees and sung by Diana Ross, with sexual hints. I loved the melody and the lyrics sounded so erotic to my ears…

Mad World – Imagine Dragons

Originally sung in 1982 by Tears of Fears this cover by Imagine Dragons emphasizes the lyrics with ballad-type of way that makes it far better than the original (in my not so hymble opinion)

Just A Dream – Carrie Underwood

A 2008 country song which although uplifting in the beginning takes a sadder turn at the end. A lovely piece of music nontheless…

Perfumes

Olympea by Paco Rabane

Olympea by Paco Rabane is an oriental flowery perfume that launched in 2015 with top notes of mandarin, water jasmine and ginger flower. It smells sweet without being too much which makes it a perfect choice…

Pour Femme Intense by Dolce & Gabbana

Pour Femme Intense was launhed in 2013 with top notes of green mandarin and neroli is flowery and oriental while simultaneously smelling like Christamas candy. No wonder how it became a favourite…

Tresor In Love by Lancome

Launched in 2010 Tresor in Love is a fruity and flowery perfume with top notes of bergamut, pink pepercorns, pear and nectarine. I was always intrigued by this perfume and I have finally decided to try it myself. I truthfully confess that I was not disappointed…

Shops

Choco Gelato

Choco Gelato was one of the little gems I found while vacationing in Scarpanto when in need for my sweet treat. It offers a wide variety of Italian ice creams as well as other handmade pastries.

Perdica

Perdica is a traditional tavern at Menetes, Scarpanto. I had an amazing dinner there with my parents and maternal cousins trying all the local specialties, inluding macarounes and garlic bread while sipping a glass wine and later three shots of raki.

Fairytale

Fairytale is a cafe with velvet armchairs, delicious sweets and a fairytale themed decor that travels you to Wonderland and other magical places. It is without a doubt a worthy addition to my favourite cafes of all times

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A Day in History History

The Great Siege of Malta

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The siege of Malta—”Arrival of the Turkish fleet”

September 11 marks the 454th anniversary of the retreat of the Ottoman forces from Malta and the ending of the Great Siege. And what better way to celebrate one of the most famous events of the sixteenth-century Europe than to take a closer look at it?

Before The Siege

Following the six-month Siege of Rhodes in 1523 the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, had successfully managed to eject the Knights from their base. For seven years (1523-1530) the Knights of the Order of Saint John lacked a permanent base.

The Order soon made their naval base in the island of Malta when, on 26 October 1530 , the Grand Master of the Knights Philippe de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam with his followers sailed to Malta’s Grand Harbour to lay claim to Malta and Gozo (granted to them by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in exchange for one falcon sent annually to the Viceroy of Sicily and a solemn Mass to be celebrated on All Saints Day).

Malta’s position in the centre of the Mediterranean made it a strategically crucial gateway between East and West, especially as the Barbary pirates increased their forays into the western Mediterranean throughout the 1540s and 1550s.

In 1551 Dragut and the Ottoman admiral Sinan Pasha decided to take Malta and invaded the island with a force of about 10,000 men. After only a few days, however, Dragut broke off the siege and moved to the neighboring island of Gozo, where he bombarded the Cittadella for several days. The Knights’ governor on Gozo, Gelatian de Sessa, having decided that resistance was futile, threw open the doors to the Cittadella.

The corsairs sacked the town and took virtually the entire population of Gozo (approximately 5,000 people) into captivity. Dragut and Sinan then sailed south to Tripoli, where they soon seized the Knight’s garrison there.

Expecting another Ottoman invasion within a year, Grand Master of the Knights Juan de Homedes ordered the strengthening of Fort Saint Angelo at the tip of Birgu (now Vittoriosa), as well as the construction of two new forts, Fort Saint Michael on the Senglea promontory and Fort Saint Elmo at the seaward end of Mount Sciberras (now Valletta)

In 1557 the Knights elected Jean Parisot de La Valette Grand Master of the Order. He continued his raids on non-Christian shipping, and his private vessels are known to have taken some 3,000 Muslim and Jewish slaves during his tenure as Grand Master.

By 1559 Dragut was causing the Christian powers such distress, even raiding the coasts of Spain, that Philip II of Spain organized the largest naval expedition in fifty years to evict the corsair from Tripoli. The Knights joined the expedition, which consisted of about 54 galleys and 14,000 men.

The ill-fated campaign climaxed in the Battle of Djerba in May 1560 when Ottoman admiral Piali Pasha surprised the Christian fleet off the Tunisian island of Djerba, capturing or sinking about half the Christian ships. The battle was disastrous for the Christians and marked the high point of Ottoman domination in the Mediterranean.

Getting Closer to the Siege

After the Battle of Djerba a Turkish attack at Malta was highly anticipated due to Malta’s strategic importance to the Ottoman plan of conquering more parts of Europe including Malta’s stepping stone Sicily and then the Kingdom of Naples.

In August 1560, Jean de Valette sent an order to all the Order’s priories that their knights prepare to return to Malta as soon as a citazione (summons) was issued. The Turks made a strategic error in not attacking at once, while the Spanish fleet lay in ruins, as the five-year delay allowed Spain to rebuild their forces.

In mid-1564 on of the Order’s most notorious naval commanders, Mathurin Romegas, captured several large merchantmen and took numerous high-ranking prisoners, including the governors of Cairo and Alexandria. Romegas‘ exploits made Sultan Suleiman seek the Order’s complete destruction.

By 1565 Jean de Valette’s spy network in Constantinople had informed him that the invasion was imminent. De Valette set about raising troops in Italy, laying in stores and finishing work on Fort Saint Angelo, Fort Saint Michael, and Fort Saint Elmo.

The Two Opposing Armies

Both of the following accounts are given by the Italian merceneray and official Order’s historian Francisco Balbi di Correggio

The Order’s Forces consisted of:

  • 500 Knights Hospitaller
  • 400 Spanish soldiers
  • 800 Italian soldiers
  • 500 soldiers from the galleys (Spanish Empire)
  • 200 Greek and Sicilian soldiers
  • 100 soldiers of the garrison of Fort St. Elmo
  • 100 servants of the knights
  • 500 galley slaves
  • 3,000 soldiers drawn from the Maltese population

Total: 6.100

The Ottoman Forces consisted of:

  • 6,000 Spahis (cavalry)
  • 500 Spahis from Karamania
  • 6,000 Janissaries
  • 400 adventurers from Mytiline
  • 2,500 Spahis from Rumelia
  • 3,500 adventurers from Rumelia
  • 4,000 “religious servants”
  • 6,000 other volunteers
  • Various corsairs from Tripoli and Algiers

Total: 28,500 from the East, 40,000 in all

The Siege

Ottoman Arrival

Before the arrival of the Turks Grand Master de Valette ordered the harvesting of all the crops, including unripened grain, to deprive the enemy of any local food supplies. Furthermore, the Knights poisoned all wells with bitter herbs and dead animals.

The Turkish armada arrived at dawn on Friday, 18 May, but did not land at once. On May 19 the first attack broke out. The following day the Ottoman fleet sailed up the southern coast of the island, turned around and finally anchored at Marsaxlokk (Marsa Sirocco) Bay, nearly 6.2 miles from the Grand harbour region. According to many accounts, Balbi’s in particular, a dispute arose between the leader of the land forces, the 4th Vizier serdar Kızılahmedli Mustafa Pasha, and the supreme naval commander, Piali Pasha , about where to anchor the fleet. Piali wished to shelter it at Marsamxett Harbour in order to avoid the sirocco and be near the Grand Harbour but Mustafa disagreed, because to anchor the fleet there would require the reducing Fort St. Elmo, (which guarded the entrance to the harbour) first.

Mustafa intended, according to these accounts, to attack the poorly defended former capital Mdina (standing in the centre of the island) then attack Forts St. Angelo and Michael by land. If so, an attack on Fort St. Elmo would have been entirely unnecessary. Nevertheless, Mustafa relented, believing that only a few days would be necessary to destroy St. Elmo. After the Turks were able to emplace their guns, at the end of May they commenced a bombardment.

While the Ottomans were landing, the knights and Maltese made some last-minute improvements to the defences of Birgu and Senglea. The Ottomans set up their main camp in Marsa, which was close to the Knights’ fortifications followed by camps on Saint Margherita Hill and Sciberra’s Peninsula in the next days.

Capture of Fort Saint Elmo

Map of Malta at the time of the Great Siege

Having correctly calculated that the Turks would thus begin the campaign by attempting to capture Fort St Elmo, de Valette sent reinforcements and concentrated half of his heavy artillery within the fort. His intent was for them to hold out for a relief promised by Don Garcia, Viceroy of Sicily. The unremitting bombardment of the fort began on 27 May by three dozen guns on the higher ground of Mt. Sciberras. The fort was reduced to rubble within a week, but de Valette evacuated the wounded nightly and resupplied the fort from across the harbour. After Dragut’s arrival new batteries were set up to imperil the ferry lifeline. On 3 June, a party of Jannisaries managed to seize the fort’s ravelin and ditch. Still, by 8 June, the Knights sent a message to the Grand Master that the Fort could no longer be held but were rebuffed with messages that St Elmo must hold until the reinforcements arrived.

The Turks attacked the damaged walls on June 10 and 15, and made an all out assault on June 16, during which even the slave and hired galley oarsmen housed in St Elmo, as well as the native Maltese soldiers, reportedly fought and died “almost as bravely as the Knights themselves.” Two days later, Dragut was seen in a trench cannon emplacement arguing with the Turkish gunners about their level of fire. At Dragut’s insistence a cannon’s aim was lowered, but the aim was too low, and when fired its ball detached part of the trench which hit Dragut in the head, killing him.

Finally, on 23 June, the Turks seized what was left of Fort St. Elmo. They killed all the defenders, totaling over 1,500 men, but spared nine Knights whom the Corsairs had captured. A small number of Maltese, managed to escape by swimming across the harbour.

Mustafa had the bodies of the knights decapitated and their bodies floated across the bay on mock crucifixes. In response, de Valette beheaded all his Turkish prisoners, loaded their heads into his cannons and fired them into the Turkish camp

Although the Turks did succeed in capturing St. Elmo, allowing Piali to anchor his fleet in Marsamxett, the siege of Fort St. Elmo had cost the Turks at least 6,000 men, including half of their Janissaries.

The Senglea Peninsula

On 15 July, Mustafa ordered a double attack against the Senglea peninsula. He had transported 100 small vessels across Mt. Sciberras to the Grand Harbour, in order to launch a sea attack against the promontory using about 1,000 Janissaries, while the Corsairs attacked Fort St. Michael on the landward end. Luckily for the Maltese, a defector warned de Valette about the impending strategy and the Grand Master had time to construct a palisade along the Senglea promontory, which successfully helped to deflect the attack. Just all but one of the vessels sank, killing or drowning over 800 of the attackers. The land attack failed simultaneously when relief forces were able to cross to Ft. St. Michael across a floating bridge, with the result that Malta was saved for the day.

Mustafa ordered another massive double assault on 7 August, this time against Fort St. Michael and Birgu itself. On this occasion, the Turks breached the town walls and it seemed that the siege was over, but unexpectedly the invaders retreated. As it happened, the cavalry commander Captain Vincenzo Anastagi, on his daily sortie from Mdina, had attacked the unprotected Turkish field hospital, killing everyone. The Turks, thinking the Christian relief had arrived from Sicily, broke off their assault.

St Michael and Birgu

The siege of St Michael, showing the Christian Knights cut off from the sea and surrounded in their remaining fortresses of Birgu, St Angelo and St Michael. 

After the attack of 7 August, the Turks resumed their bombardment of St. Michael and Birgu, with at least one other major assault against the town between 19–21 August. The actual events that happened during those days are not entirely clear.

Balbi, in his diary entry for 20 August, says only that de Valette was told the Turks were within the walls and the Grand Master ran to “the threatened post where his presence worked wonders. Sword in hand, he remained at the most dangerous place until the Turks retired.”

Fort St. Michael and Mdina

At some point in August, the Council of Elders decided to abandon the town and retreat to Fort St. Angelo. De Valette, however, refused this proposal. Although the bombardment and minor assaults continued, the invaders were stricken by an increasing desperation. Towards the end of August, the Turks attempted to take Fort St. Michael two times: first with the help of a manta ( a small siege engine covered with shields) and then by use of a full-blown siege tower. In both cases, Maltese engineers tunneled out through the rubble and destroyed the constructions with point-blank salvos of chain shot.

At the beginning of September, the weather’s turning had Mustafa order a march on Mdina, intending to winter there. However the occurance of the attack failed. The poorly-defended and supplied city deliberately started firing its cannon at the approaching Turks at pointlessly long range. This bluff scared them away by fooling the already demoralised Turks into thinking the city had ammunition to spare.

By 8 September, the Turks had embarked their artillery and were preparing to leave the island, having lost perhaps a third of their men to fighting and disease.

Gran Soccorso

On 7 September, Don Garcia had at last landed with about 8,000 men at St. Paul’s Bay on the north end of the island. The relief force consisted of mainly Spanish and Italian soldiers, sent by the Spanish Empire as well as the Duchy of Florence, the Republic of Genoa, the Papal States and the Duchy of Savoy.

The so-called Grande Soccorso positioned themselves on the ridge of San Pawl tat-Tarġa, waiting for the retreating Turks. It is said that when some hot-headed knights of the relief force saw the Turkish retreat and the burning villages in its wake, they charged without waiting for orders from Ascanio della Corgna. Della Corgna had no choice but to order a general charge which resulted in the massacre of the retreating Turkish force. The Turks fled to their ships and from the islands on 11 September.

Aftermath

Malta had survived the Turkish assault, and throughout Europe people celebrated what would turn out to be the last epic battle involving Crusader Knights.

Jean de Valette, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, had a key influence in the victory against Ottomans. He had a major impact, by bringing together the kings of Europe in an alliance against the previously seemingly invincible Ottomans.

Such was the gratitude of Europe for the knights’ heroic defense that money soon began pouring into the island, allowing de Valette to construct a fortified city, Valletta, on Mt. Sciberras. de Valette didn’t leave to see Valletta completed as he died in 1568. He was buried in the Crypt of the Conventual Church of the Order within Valletta’s walls.

If you are interested in learning more about the Siege of Malta you should check out Francisco Balbi di Corregio’s journal

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Lifestyle Thea's Diary

Recalling my Summer as a Food Technologist


Hello dear Reader and welcome back to my blog!

Just a few weeks away from beginning my third year of college and I find myself contemplating the recently finished summer. Or, to be more precise, the two months I’ve spent working as a food technologist in quality control at a flour milling industry.

I know that might sound confusing to you. After all how can a college student get a job in the study field she hasn’t even got her degree on?

Well to answer your question, I found this job position thanks to my father who works in the sales department at the same industry. I yearned for some work experience before my graduation to add in my CV and as a result I asked my father if I could apply for a job. He spoke to his boss on my behalf and after his boss made a review of my academic performance I was hired! You could say that I was a lucky girl …

So, after finishing my spring semester’s exams in late June I returned to my hometown Piraeus and started working officially on July 1st.

It was quite hard at the beginning I must admit. Despite my two years at college I still haven’t attend classes about grain quality control (which are in third year’s curriculum) and were required for such position. As a result I couldn’t get accustomed to some of the terminologies used and I struggled to prove my worth.

However, I found myself getting better and better as the days passed. I think it had mainly to do with my unexpected ease in the management of the different machines such as the amylograph, the farinograph and the alveograph. This, along with the many encouraging comments I received from my colleagues, gave me confidence in my own abilities.

And guess what? Your girl managed to master every little aspect of that job in just a two- months time. Sounds impossible but I guarantee it’s 100% true.

That brings us to another important factor I want to talk about: the working environment

When I first began working I expected a strick and apathetic workplace with serious people minding their own business and showing no interest in anything or anyone else. I can only blame the industry’s big company vibes for that …

To say I was wrong would be an understandment. I was pleasantly surprised to meet friendly and decent people who were kind enough to lend me a helping hand when I needed it without judging my lack of experience. I made a lot of acquaintances during my time there and had amazing conversations that I will cherish for many years to come.

All in all, my summer experience as a food technologist had a profound effect on me. Not only did I work in my study field and gained wonderful insights into one of my future courses but also earned a good amount of money and met wonderful people.

If you happen to be a college student who has the opportunity to work in his/hers study field before acquiring his/her degree I urge you to take that chance! By doing so you will receive useful knowldege along with work experience and a good salary. And bonus if you are an introvert like myself working can also help you improve your social skills and expand your acquaintance list.

Until next time!

xoxo

Theodora

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Lifestyle Monthly Favourites

August Favourites 2019

Music

My First My Last My Everything – Barry White

A classic 80’s song by the Sultan of the Bedroom, the one and only Barry White. Appeared on my Youtube recommended videos and from the moment I (thankfully) decided to hear it I find myself humming it from time to time.

Woman In Love – Barbra Streisand

This is literally my most favorite romantic song of all times! It was the song accompanying a fan video about the film Sahara (also included in this post scroll down for more info) I accidentally found when researching the film. I have to say that I I listen to it every day for hours, without getting bored.

Can’t Take My Eyes of Off You – Gloria Gaynor

Apparently this month the music was mostly 80’s inspired. Now this song first came to my attention in the famous scene with Heath Ledger singing it in 10 Things I Hate About You. Even though I knew the song I had never listened to Gloria Gaynor’s cover before and I’m so glad I did for it became my favorite version.

Señorita – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello

Seriously this song plays in every radio station out there all the time and yet no one gets annoyed or even bored by it. Certainly not me cause since the day I heard it I found myself thinking of dancing in the beach under the moonlight while sipping some Tequila Sunrise with my dance partner.

Tamally Maak – Amr Diab

I recently heard this song and became obsessed with it due to it’s exotic elements and how much it reminded me of Egypt (aka one of the best countries and ancient civilizations ever to exist). It is a love song of course but such a unique one that makes you dream of desert locations and handsome princes (or princesses).

TV Series

Lucifer (2015-)

After a ridiculously long break in watching television series, Lucifer came to bring me out of it. The show focuses on the Devil himself after he leaves Hell and moves to Los Angeles where he opens a bar and becomes a partner of the L.A.P.D homicide detective Chloe Decker with whom he is smitten. Needless to say how many times Lucifer’s wit and charisma made me question my morality and belief of God…

Movies

Sahara (1983)

This is a 1983 adventure movie staring Brooke Shields and Lambert Wilson that I simply couldn’t resist. After her father dies in a racing vehicle practice young Dale participates in the Sahara race to save his dream only to get caught up with a Bedouin tribal war. Although the setting takes place in 1927 a certain 80s vibe is present throughout the film and made it hard not to love it.

Lion King (2019)

I am must admit with great shame that I never watched the original animated classic. I knew it was a popular one but for some reason I kept it out of my movie list. But then the live action happened and I found myself in the cinema with one of my closest friends singing Hacuna Matata, laughing at all the funny parts and even crying during Mufasa’s death (the first time I cried in the cinema). To say it was an amazing experience would be an understandment.

Youtubers

Mrs Midwest

This is definetely one of the Youtube channels I never expected to enjoy! Not because the content is mediocre (on the contrary it is superb and well structured) but because I felt it was so out of my character. That was of course before I came upon this beautiful lady and listened to her talk about femininity and tradiotional homemaking lifestyle. Cause once I did I finally embraced my feminine side and I now strive to become a better version of a lady.

Jonna Jinton

Now this lady brings out some truly magical vibes! Living in a small village in the north of Sweden after having abandoned the city life she shares her art and photography along with the simple joys of living close to nature. Such a unique lifestyle is she portraying that makes you redefine your whole world view.

Jessica Vill

Another wonderful lady with a distinctive lifestyle focusing on vintage revival from clothes and furniture to beauty and entertainment. Her passion speaks to my own vintage aesthetic and makes me glad to have discovered her channel.

What was in your own list of favourites for the month August? Let me know in the comments below…

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