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Lascaris-Castellar Jean-Paul de

Lascaris-Castellar Jean-Paul de (1561—1657)

Jean-Paul de Lascaris-Castellar, of the Lange of Provence, Bailiff of Manosque, of the noble Genoese family of Vintimiglia, and a descendant of Theodore Lascaris, Emperor of Constantinople, was seventy six years of age at the time of his election on the 13th June 1636. He had joined the ranks of the fraternity in Malta under Cardinal Verdalle's rule. The first aim of Lascaris on assuming the reins of Government was to endeavor to pacify the offended Prince of Paterno, Viceroy of Sicily, who, during the fierce war which was raging at the time between France and Spain, had forbidden the exportation of grain to Malta. This step was taken by the Viceroy in revenge for the sympathies and support which the preponderating French element among the Knights of St. John had shown towards France during the conflict. As Malta had always looked to the neighboring island of Sicily for its supply of grain the Viceroy's edicts would have practically meant starvation, and it was mainly due to the tact and exertions of Lascaris that the prohibition was finally withdrawn.

Under the energetic rule of this Grand Master the navy of the Order was still further strengthened, and naval expeditions against the Turks were carried out on an even larger scale than formerly. In 1644 six galleys of the Order, under Boisboudrant, captured a large and powerful Turkish galleon whilst, cruising off Rhodes, after a fierce and sanguinary struggle with eight of the enemy's vessels. Over 600 Turks were killed in engagement, and the Order had to deplore the loss of 120 men including their gallant captain, Boisboudrant.

Among the captives was the young Basseba, Sultana of the Imperial harem of Ibrahim, with her infant son Osmal, on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Sultana died shortly after her arrival in Malta, and the child was educated and received into the Catholic Church. He subsequently joined the Dominican Order of Preachers, under the name of Father Ottoman and died in Malta in 1676 while Prior of Porto Salvo. On the 14th August 1657 Lascaris died at the venerable age of ninety seven years.

S. M. O. M., 1974, Jean-Paul de Lascaris-Castellar

S. M. O. M., 1978, Coin of Jean-Paul de Lascaris-Castellar

S. M. O. M., 1991, Arms of Jean de Lascaris-Castellar


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