Giovanni Francesco Abela
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Giovanni Francesco Abela (1582–1655) was a Maltese of noble birth who in the early 17th century wrote an important work on Malta, Della Descrittione di Malta isola nel Mare Siciliano: con le sue antichità, ed altre notizie, "description of Malta, island in the Sicilian sea, with its antiquities, and other information".
Abela was born in Valletta to Marco Abela and Benarda Vella whose great great grandfather was Barone di Pietra Lunga and whose ancestors ruled Malta on more than one occasion and were part of the royal family of Spain.
Malta illustrated is still an important source of first-hand information on a number of subjects of Melitensia, such as folklore, placenames, the Maltese language, history of Malta and archaeology. His description of the Maltese Islands was translated into Latin by G.A. Seinero in 1725, Latin being the universal language of science and culture of that time. This translation was incorporated in Johann Georg Graevius Thesaurus antiquitatum et historiarum Italiae.
Gian Francesco Abela visited archaeological sites on the islands and made some valuable observations. He appears to have been the first to note that the ancient temple of Hercules was to be identified with the remains on the hill at Tas-Silg rather than those of Borg in-Nadur. At Tas-Silg he observed foundations and courses of stones ‘ben lavorate e messe insieme,’ and in support of his identification he recorded the discovery of ‘medaglie, pezzi di statue d’idoletti, e d’altre cose, minimi avanzi di quella vana gentilità e falsa religione, quivi ritrovate sotto il Magistero del Principe Wignacourt, mentre alcuni nell’istesso luogo cavando, scioccamente pensavano far acquisto di ricco tesoro.’
- Abela, Giovanfrancesco (1647). Della Descrittione di Malta isola nel Mare Siciliano: con le sue antichità, ed altre notizie. Malta: Paolo Bonacota.
- Ciantar, Giovannantonio (1772). "Malta illustrata". 1–2. Stamperia del Palazzo di S.A.S. MDCCLXXII, by Giovanni Mallia: vij.
- Abela, Giovanni Francesco (1647). Della Descrizione di Malta Isola nel Mare Siciliano con le sue Antichità, ed Altre Notizie (in Italian). Paolo Bonacota. p. 5.
- Marsa Local Council - Town at a Crossroad: History of Marsa Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
- Anthony Bonanno (1983) Giovanni Francesco Abela's legacy to the Jesuit college
- James Abela (2006) Abela Family Tree