Popular Maltese Myths & Legends Worth Knowing About!
- Dec 28, 2019
Malta...a treasure trove of legends, myths & folklore!
Undoubtedly, Malta is a treasure trove of legends, myths, folklore and mysterious tales. Malta’s geographic position between Africa and Europe means that the islands have often been featured in other countries’ folklore.
Let’s have a look at four tales that have captured people’s imagination for decades, if not centuries.
Ogygia In Odyssea – Calypso Cave
In Gozo, there’s an open-cave overlooking the sandy beaches of Ramla Bay. This is known as Calypso’s Cave. According to Homer’s epic poem ‘Odyssey’, the Greek hero Odysseus encountered the nymph Calypso on her island Ogygia at this very cave.
The nymph fell in love with the Greek hero. Therefore, she bewitched him so that he can stay with her forever. Calypso managed to entrap Odysseus for seven whole years, after which the gods assisted Odysseus’ eventual escape.
Since the 4th century BC, Gozo has been tipped as Homer’s island of Ogygia. This legend is further reinforced by the cave’s position near Ramla Bay. Thanks to this legend, this cave is now known as Calypso’s Cave.
St Paul’s Shipwreck
Malta has a long-standing relationship with the Catholic faith. Christianity came to Malta in the form of a shipwreck – more specifically, Apostle Paul’s shipwreck in 60 AD.
As mentioned in the Bible, Paul was on his way to Rome as a political prisoner, when a terrible storm ensued, resulting in a shipwreck. Paul and the other prisoners struggled to reach the closest piece of land, which turned out to be Malta.
The local community welcomed the prisoners and the scripts praise the locals’ hospitality. After brushing off a poisonous snake that bit him, Paul explained that he was a disciple of Christ, and started spreading the gospel. Before he left, he appointed Publius as the island’s first bishop.
The Lost City Of Atlantis
Laypersons and experts alike have always wondered how the Maltese archipelago houses seven of the oldest Megalithic temples in the world…especially considering the fact that the islands are really tiny.
The oldest temple – Ggantija – can be found in Gozo. It’s the second oldest human-made structure in the world. Therefore, a lot of conspiracy theories have emerged, saying that Malta is the remnant of the ancient civilisation and city of Atlantis.
According to these wide-spread theories, the city was destroyed due to advanced experimentation with Earth’s natural forces, leading to the city’s ultimate demise. Legend has it that only one small fragment survived, and many believe that it’s, in fact, Malta and its sister islands.
Ggantija or The Giant’s Tower
Malta’s megalithic structures date back to 3600-2500 BC. These ancient structures are now recognised as UNESCO World Heritage sites and form an integral part of Malta’s history.
Legend has it that giants built these temples. In fact, the word ‘Ggantija’ means ‘Giant’s Tower’ in English. This temple in Gozo is one of the earliest human-made structures in the whole world and the most ancient in Malta. Ggantija is said to have been built by a pregnant giantess, who carried the boulders needed to create this magnificent structure, herself.