Malta. Fort St. Angel. His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master Frà Andrew Bertie, chairs the International Meeting on Charles V, organised by the Accademia Internazionale Melitense. On his right, the Grand Chancellor and Rector of the Academy, H.E. Amb. Don Carlo Marullo di Condojanni. On the left, standing, Prof. Paolo Caucci von Saucken, President of the Academy, opens the works of the Meeting.


Peregrinationes” Accademia Internazionale Melitense

Tomo II - Anno Accademico II MMI - Acta et documenta

“Carlo V e Mercurino di Gattinara suo Gran Cancelliere”

International Meeting  9-11 giugno 2000 – Malta, Forte Sant’Angelo



The anniversary of the birth of Charles V in the year 2000 prompted a series of initiatives five centuries later for studying this exceptional personage and representatives of his court, and especially his Grand Chancellor Mercurino Arborio di Gattinara.

  The Order of Malta also wanted to commemorate the Emperor's historic Deed of Concession of the Maltese Islands and Tripoli to the Knights of St. John in 1530 as part of the celebrations that the countries historically involved in Charles V's empire were organising in Europe.

   Within this framework, the Accademia Internazionale Melitense organised a conference in its extraterritorial seat of Fort St. Angel in Malta, in the presence of H.M.E.H. the Prince and Grand Master, Fra' Andrew Bertie, of H.E. the President of Malta, Prof. Guido de Marco, numerous members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Order of Malta and eminent representatives of local and international culture. This conference is entirely devoted to Charles V and to his Grand Chancellor.

  In conjunction with the conference, and again in the prestigious venue of the Grand Master's Palace in Fort St. Angelo, a historiographical exhibition was opened on 9 June, prepared by the Grand Magistry and the National Library of Malta, running until 18 June, in which the original document of the Concession took pride of place.

  The Rector of the University of Malta, Roger Ellul-Micallef, and the President of the Accademia Internazionale Melitense, Paolo Caucci von Saucken, of the University of Perugia, introduced the conference, after which papers were delivered by Victor Mallia Milanes, of the University of Malta, Luis de Llera, of the University of Genoa, Gabriele Morelli, of the University of Bergamo and Hugo O'Donnel, of the University of Madrid.  Alongside the conference and exhibition, the Order's Magistral Post Office dedicated a commemorative philatelic issue to the Fifth Centenary of the Emperor Charles V and the Order's historic event.   The International Conference in Malta was preceded by another event held in Gattinara, to which the Order had given its patronage and during which a commemorative plaque was dedicated to the Grand Chancellor of the Emperor Charles V. The great merit for this initiative goes to the Ambassador of Spain to the Sovereign Order, Carlos Abella y Ramallo, who gathered around him, besides myself, Cardinal Antonio María Javierre Ortas, the Ambassadors of Austria, Gustav Ortner, of Belgium, Thierry Muuls, of Germany, Jurgen Oesterhelt, and of Holland, Guy Westerouen van Meeteren.

  These encounters led to invitations for the Order to participate actively with its special delegations in other events held throughout the world in honour of Charles V, and especially that of Toledo on 5 October, in which the Grand Master of the Order participated with the sovereigns and heads of government of Europe, guests of HM the King of Spain Juan Carlos I.

  There were also many papers and references dedicated to this imposing historical figure and his political strategy during subsequent events. After presenting this volume, the writer is left, together with the pleasant task of addressing his most heartfelt thanks to His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master, to all the government authorities, to the members of the Diplomatic Corps and to personalities of the cultural world who have honoured this International Conference with their presence, with the satisfaction of having hosted such an important event in the seat of the Accademia Internazionale. Let us hope that the scientific results of this conference can bear fruit to shed further light on the figure of the great Emperor and his Grand Chancellor.


Malta, Fort St. Angelo - 9 February 2001


  Palma de Mallorca. The Grand Chancellor Amb. Conte Don Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, with Their Excellencies Juan Carlos and Doña Sophia, and the authorities of the Baleares Islands during the opening of the Exhibition on the Sovereign Order.






Toledo. The Heads of State and Government of the European countries which had a historical influence at the time of Charles 5th, in occasion of the events organised in Madrid and Toledo by the King of Spain Juan Carlos, in honour of the Emperor. On the right of the King and Queen of Spain, the Prince and Grand Master, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, top first on the right, the Grand Chancellor, Amb. Conte Carlo Marullo.



“Charles V and his Grand Chancellor Mercurino di Gattinara”


Our meeting is now ending and I would like to sum up those points which will surely remain for future discussion.

These concern not only the theme of Charles V and Mercurino di Gattinara but also the presence of the Order of Malta in the Maltese islands and the significance that Charles V's concession had for the Knights and the significance that it could still have today for the future of the Order.

This is precisely because the formula used by Charles V is a formula that could also have its own topicality for the near future. I thank Professor Mallia Milanes, the first speaker, who placed Charles V in the cultural milieu, helping us to see him through the ideological bases of his action, also carefully and acutely depicting the economic and political situation in which Charles V and Mercurino di Gattinara's actions were inserted. And he did this with great delicacy, without flaunting great policy reasons, but showing how Gattinara, and Charles V even more than Gattinara, proceeded slowly, almost following a path, a path traced out step by step on the basis of intuitions that came perhaps also from the divine will.

Conversely, Professor Luis de Llera gave a less political slant to this plan of Charles V and to his presence in history. He dwelt on the character of Charles V, on what was perhaps his health; he talked a little about his fits of depression and this enabled us to catch a glimpse of his relationship with his mother and to see crises during some moments of his empire which could certainly seem to have been prompted by great politics, by the disappointments he suffered, but which perhaps with less emphasis one could attribute to a state of temporary illness. Undoubtedly, Professor de Llera showed us not only a Charles V dedicated and above all ready to sacrifice himself to keep faith with his commitment, but also a more human Charles V. A Charles V who is still himself in his dimension in history, but is also someone who has to come to terms with his anxiety, his inner development that, in spite of thinking he had finished his political mission at the age of twenty-five, was to have led him forward for all his long reign. Perhaps suffering much, certainly a great figure of a man, and surely striving to grow: and it is this striving that I believe Professor de Llera has shown us and I am confident he will give us the opportunity to hear how he develops his theses, further supported and verified with new documents. Professor Morelli has given his paper today, with a clear vision of the relationship between Charles V and Gattinara. He has shown how in history men who are called on to perform different functions - maybe because of their state of grace, maybe because their paths are illuminated by Providence, maybe because daily assumptions help to make plans bigger than men - remain closely linked to their sovereigns, taking on some of their features, and thus making up for some deficiencies and above all stabilising the management of power, guaranteeing with loyalty their counsel to their sovereign, guaranteeing with their wisdom a truth offered to him who has the power to decide.

What greater talent could a chancellor, or grand chancellor, or political counsellor, have than that of telling his sovereign the truth, not only the truth but also honestly giving his own opinion? An opinion that can be harsh or not, according to the circumstances, but which has to provide his sovereign with the terms for judging and deciding. Gattinara fits extremely well into this picture: counsellor, honest counsellor, counsellor who, even faced with the decision of Charles V to act directly, makes it his duty to provide the advice he considers the best.

Professor Morelli's paper gives an idea of a greater Gattinara, to be encountered in the great issues but also in the smaller ones; rather like the preceptor who becomes counsellor. And the counsellor Charles V has for all his life and who never betrays him is certainly a great man. Professor O'Donnel, with his contribution, interprets the act conceding the Island of Malta to the Order. He leaves us with a thesis, to be further investigated, in which he claims that the Order of St. John, which had lost the territory of Rhodes, did not acquire sovereignty with Charles V's act, but a temporary control of a territory it administered, exercising a sovereignty that it already had, and it probably lost this temporary control when it lost the territory.

And thus it continued along a path that was to remain sovereign as it is still today in international law. I think I do not need to add anything else to these weighty matters and to the authoritative papers we have listened to. The academy has been happy to offer this opportunity of intellectual debate to Their Excellencies, to the Ambassadors who wanted to come here with the Spanish Ambassador to honour Charles V, to see the island and see the memories of the Knights. And these days will certainly remain in your hearts. We are left with the satisfaction of having done our duty, keeping faith with our commitment.

I thank the members of the board of directors of the Accademia Internazionale Melitense for the support they have given us in organising this event.

I would also like to thank those who have enabled us to organise the exhibition here on the ground floor. In particular, I would like to thank Confrère Commander Fra' John Edward Critien, Miss Maroma Camilleri and Mr. Joseph Schirò. Thanks to them it has been possible to flank this conference with the exhibition in Fort St. Angel where you have certainly seen, for the first time, the document ceding the Maltese Islands, the document signed by Charles V, certainly an important deed for the Order of Malta in this its first base on the island. Thanks are also due to all those who have given their technical contribution to this event, the speakers, present here in the room, who will now be receiving a small gift from His Most Eminent Highness. And I would like them to take back a thought with them: that the presence of the Order in this fort can, also through their work and with their future commitment, germinate and become a beacon in the Mediterranean with its renewed cultural commitment. The Order has passed through difficult moments - as you all know – but Providence always came to the rescue, and the splendour achieved in the past decade ensures that, alongside its commitment to "tuitio fidei", alongside its commitment to "obsequium pauperum", the Order has always found the possibility and means to carry on its cultural dialogue, in seeking its history, in seeking to protect its memory, even recent, and also with regards to what will be the future. This is an important link in its evolution. And it is doing it with exhibitions, shows, debates and dialogues all over the globe, also encouraging the marginal areas of the world.

This is what the Accademia Internazionale Melitense wants to do and I as its rector, here in Malta, reiterate this commitment. The Maltese and the illustrious university professors must also help us, we need to concentrate all the available cultural forces around this academy so that it will become an international beacon of research and culture, a beacon that will shine in the three directions of history, medicine and, above all, diplomacy.

Thank you again for being with us and best wishes for the  journey that many of you will shortly be making to return to your  homes.