- Jean Parisot de la Valette
Jean Parisot de Valette (born in 1494 [?] ; died in Malta,
21 August 1568) was born into a noble family in Quercy. He was a Knight of St. John, joining the order in the "Langue de Provence", and fought with distinction against the Turks at Rhodes. As Grand Master, Valette became the Order's hero and most illustrious leader, commanding the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Maltain 1565, widely regarded as one the greatest sieges of all time. He became Grand Master of the Knights Hospitalleron 21 August 1557.
The Valette family had been an important one in France for many generations, various members having accompanied the Kings of France in the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth
Crusades. Jean Parisot's grandfather, Bernard de Valette, was a Knight and King's Orderly, and his father Guillot was a Chevalier de France. Jean Parisot was a distant cousin (through their mutual ancestor Almaric de Valette) of Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette, first Duke of Epernon.
Little is known about Valette's early life, although he was present during the Great Siege of Rhodes in 1523, and accompanied Grand Master
Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, after the Order's expulsion from Rhodesby the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
Universally referred to as "La Valette," he was never actually called that during his lifetime. He was simply Jean de Valette, nicknamed Parisot. (The mistake arose some decades after his death when people began to confuse him with the city named in his honor, "La Citta Valletta.") Although his birthyear is usually given as 1494, both chroniclers of the
Great Siege of Malta, Francisco Balbi di Correggioand Hipolito Sans, say he was 67 at the time, thereby implying that he was born in 1498. In his history of the Order of St. John, the 18th-century historian Abbe Vertot (whose history is largely based on - but often confuses - the earlier one of Giacomo Bosio) indicates that Valette was indeed the same age as both Suleiman Iand Lala Mustafa (the commander of the Ottoman land forces), which would mean that he was actually 70 years old at the time of the siege.
Rise Within the Order
In 1538, while on
Malta, Valette was sentenced to four months in a guva (a hole in the ground) on Gozofor nearly beating a layman to death,Fact|date=January 2008 and he was subsequently exiled to Tripolifor two years to serve as military governor. Upon his return he was punished again for bringing a "nigro" slave not liable for servitude. In 1541 he was captured and made a galleyslave for a year by Barbary pirates under the command of Turgut Reis. [ [http://www.knightsofmalta.com/valette/valette.html Knights of Malta] ] In 1554 Valette was elected Captain General of the Order's galleys. This was a great honour to the Langue of Provence, as throughout most of the Order's history, the position of Grand Admiral was usually held by a Knight Grand Cross of the Italian Langue. In that capacity he won a name that stood conspicuous in that age of great sea captains, and was held in the same regard as the Chevalier Mathurin Romegas - one of the greatest Christian maritime commanders of the age. In fact both sides had extremely talented sailors. If Valette, Romegas and Juan de Austria could be considered the best commanders that the Christian forces could bring to the sea, the forces of Islam were able to call on the equally outstanding maritime and leadership skills of admirals such as Barbarossaand Dragut. In 1557, upon the death of Grand Master Claude de la Sengle, the Knights, mindful of the attack that was sure to come, elected Valette to be Grand Master.
iege of Malta
He fought and successfully repulsed the Turks at the Great
Siege of Malta (1565), in which the vastly outnumbered Christians held out for over 3 months against an Ottoman force containing no less than 30,000 soldiers, including the notorious Janissaries, as well as the Sultan's prized fleet of some 40 warships. The desperate battle, which saw the reduction of Fort St. Elmo, was one of immense brutality, and is regarded as one the most famous and desperate sieges of all time. As a result of the Order's victory he gained much prestige in Europe, but he declined the offer of a cardinal's hat in order to maintain independence from the papacy. This has been portrayed to his sense of modesty and his humility as a warrior monk. However, it has often been overlooked that as a Grand Master of the Order, he automatically had the same precedence as the most junior Cardinal within the Church and enjoyed a Cardinal's distinction without being involved in the internal politics of the Holy See. Even from its beginnings, the Grand Master of the Order owed allegiance only to the Pope, and to this day is recognised as the head of an Order which has diplomatic recognition with the United Nations and 100 other countries.
During the siege Valette proved to be a severe, cold and resourceful commander. Passionately religious, devoted body and soul to his Order and faith, Jean de la Valette was prepared to suffer all to the death rather than yield a foot to the hated infidel.
After the great siege, he commissioned the construction of the new city of
Vallettain 1566, laying the first stone with his own hands. This took place on the slopes of Mount Sciberras, where the flower of the Turkish army had died whilst trying to storm Fort St. Elmo, a fort which the Turks thought would fall within three or four days, but which, due to the bravery of the defenders, held out for 30 days.
The city named after its founder - Humilissima Civitas Vallettae - became known as the most aristocratic and exclusive fortress in Europe - a city most often referred to as "Superbissima" - the "Most Proud". Valletta remains the Maltese capital to this day.
Jean Parisot de la Valette died peacefully in 1568 before the completion of the city. His tomb (in the form of a sarcophagus) can be found in the Crypt of the St John's Co-Cathedral, situated within the walls of Valletta. The inscription on his tomb, which was composed by his Latin Secretary, Sir Oliver Starkey, the last Knight of the English "Langue" at the time of the Great Siege, states in Latin:
:"Here lies La Valette.":"Worthy of eternal honour,":"He who was once the scourge of Africa and Asia,":"And the shield of Europe,":"Whence he expelled the barbarians by his Holy Arms,":"Is the first to be buried in this beloved city,":"Whose founder he was"
It is worthy of mention that Sir Oliver Starkey is the only other Knight of the Order buried in the crypt of St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta who was not a Grand Master of the Order.
Siege of Malta (1565)
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09047a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia article]
* [http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/Bayou/3653/tree/ArchValx.html Valette family tree]
* [http://www.orderofmalta.org/english The Order of Malta official website]
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Jean parisot de la valette — Jean Parisot de La Valette, 49e grand maître de l Ordre de Saint Jean de Jérusalem, il tenta vainement de conquérir Tripoli, soutint un siège de quatre mois contre les troupes de Soliman le Magnifique commandées par Dragut et bâtit sur l… … Wikipédia en Français
Jean Parisot de La Valette — Jean Parisot de La Valette † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Jean Parisot de La Valette Forty eighth Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; b. in 1494; d. in Malta, 21 Aug., 1568. He came from an old family of… … Catholic encyclopedia
Jean Parisot — de la Valette Großmeisterwappen des Jean de la Valette Fra Jean de la Valette, auch Vallette, genannt Parisot, (* 1494 in La Val … Deutsch Wikipedia
Jean Parisot de la Vallette — Jean Parisot de la Valette Großmeisterwappen des Jean de la Valette Fra Jean de la Valette, auch Vallette, genannt Parisot, (* 1494 in La Val … Deutsch Wikipedia
VALETTE, JEAN PARISOT DE LA — grand master of the order of St. John, famous for his military exploits and for his defence of Malta against the Turks in 1565 (1494 1565) … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
La Valette, Jean Parisot de — • Forty eighth Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; b. in 1494; d. in Malta, 21 Aug., 1568 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 … Catholic encyclopedia