chapter  V

Slaves and Captives on Malta: 1053/4 and 1091

ByAnthony Luttrell

The situation on Malta had changed by the time of Count Roger the Norman's attack on the island in 1091. Brincat claims that the supposedly Christian slaves of 1053/4, the Christian captives of 1091, and the Christians on Malta between 1130 and 1154 were 'markers of continuity'.' The Christian captives of 1091 did not come from Malta and left the island in that year; they could have contributed little or nothing or any Christian continuity. Despite the desperate scarcity of sources, it is generally agreed that between about 870 and about 1200 Malta was in Muslim hands and that any element of Christian continuity from before 870 can virtually be excluded. The freed captives were not indigenous to Malta and were not, or mostly not, from Sicily, since they left for their homelands by crossing to mainland Italy. It might seem contradictory that the captives who were full of joy at their release should ask for mercy in Greek.