Valletta
Did you know that one of the most common symbols at Valletta’s St John’s Co-Cathedral is the skeleton?
Skeltons were used to symbolise death on the Knights of St John’s tombstone.

Emma Galea

The month of November is typically associated with death in many places across the world. Malta is no different and this can clearly be seen in the country’s landmarks and historical places of interest.

In fact, the symbol of the skeleton is one of the most common ones found at Valletta’s St John’s Co-Cathedral.

If you have visited the Co-Cathedral, you definitely noticed how the floors of this marvellous cathedral are covered in many tombstones, one after another. They are all in commemoration of the Knights of St John who have given their service to the Order.

Having a closer look at them, you will instantly notice how they are decorated in the images of all kinds of skeletons.

Each tombstone is composed of inlaid marble that has the coat of arms of the Knight that is buried in it. Apart from that, the tombstone is decorated with various symbols of the knight’s life and death, including the skeleton.

The skeleton is often seen with a sickle and holding an hourglass which represents the passing of time.

Other common symbols include the crowns and cornets to commemorate the knight’s nobility as well as the angel of fame, symbolising their unquestionable honour.

3rd November 2023


Emma Galea
Written by
Emma Galea
Emma is a Gozitan writer who loves all things related to English literature and history. When not busy studying or writing you will either find her immersed in a fictional book or at the cinema trying to watch as many films as she possibly can!

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