Rare map of Malta and a part of Sicily, based upon Matteo Perez d'Aleccio's map, which appeared in J. Badouin's rare Histoire des Chevaliers de l'Ordre de S. Jean de Jerusalem, published in Paris in 1629.
Raignauld's map derives from two of the most important 16th Century maps of Malta, the maps of Antonio Lafreri (1551) and Matteo Perez d'Aleccio (1566).
D'Aleccio was a Roman born artist who was the official painter for the Order of the Knights of St. John at the time of the successful defense of Malta from Turkish attack in 1565 and was charged with illustrating the defense of the island. He painted a number of frescoes and other works, before leaving Malta in 1581. His map, which began as a painted frescoe, is perhaps the most important and influential depiction of the island at the time of the siege.
D'Aleccio's map is one of the most interesting and important maps of Malta. The map was derived from a direct source. However, it is likely that d'Aleccio was influenced by Antonio Lafreri's 1551 Melita Insula . . in his execution of the coastline and basic shape of the island. D'Aleccio's bays and inlets are more pronounced and the coastline is slightly more elaborate. The topographical detail of d'Aleccio's map is significantly better than the Lafreri, showing a fine sharp contrast between hilly terrain, plains and valleys.
The map depicts Malta at the time of the Siege of Malta in 1565. After the fall of Constantinopel in 1453, the Turks controlled the region and expanded northward to Slovenia and Hungary, before being halted in Vienna in 1529. By that time, most of the the Mediterranean was until Muslim control. Malta was the last remaining Christian stronghold in the region, prompting its attack in 1564. The Knights of St. John had held the Island since 1530. They defended the island until September 1565, when the Siege ended, after reinforcements were sent from Sicily.