Author: Giovanni Bonello

This is part two in a two-part series. Read part one.  The second main character of the story is a Russian general with an illustrious military career and shades of corruption hovering over his fame. General Sergej Mihajlovich Brovtsyn appears frequently in Maltese contracts during the Russian-Turkish war of 1828-1829, through the agency of the Russian consul in Malta, Antonio Regnaud Carcas. He first took part in a contract by notary Charles Curry on January 4, 1829 and for the last time on September 12. The consul sometimes simply states he is acting on behalf of the Russian imperial fleet…

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A Brief Illustrated History of Medicine – A Philatelic Presentationby Carmel Lino Cutajar, published by Progress Press, Malta As a science, medicine has only began making itself look respectable over the last few hundred years. For long centuries, what today is one of the major flag-bearers of fact-based rationality, was almost entirely in the hands of quacks and charlatans. Of well-meaning impostors who sold hope, fantasies and improbable medicaments to a captive market of sufferers and patients. Learning did not flow from rigorous experimentation and triple-checked research, but mostly from faith, superstitions, traditions based on ignorance and ignorance fortified by…

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To the vast majority of the Maltese population, the epic power struggles between the expansionist Russia of the Czars and the waning Ottoman empire held little interest and less relevance. In the 1820s, after its artificial heyday in the Napoleonic wars, Malta was going through a tragic period of social and economic depression, with rampant poverty. Malta hit visitors as the most destitute country in the whole of Europe. The Czar of Russia, Emperor Nicholas I in a painting by Egor Botman. The world-traveller Charles Rockwell, appalled at what he saw in Malta, observed: “Never have I seen elsewhere so…

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