Can. G.P. Agius de Soldanis

Can. G.P. Agius de Soldanis

Born on 1st November, 1712 at Rabat, Gozo. A pioneer in Maltese linguistics and philosopy he studied Classics, Philosophy, Theology, and Jurisprudence at the Università dei Studii in Valletta. At the age of 17 his talents caught the attention of Bishop Mgr P. Alpheran who made him Canon of the Collegiate of Gozo. Later, through the influence of Bishop's brother, Mgr Fra Melchiore, he proceeded to various cultural institutions in Italy where he was created fellow of various scientific academies.

De Soldanis wrote several scholarly theses, the greater part of which are still in manuscript form at the National Library. Among these Gozo Antico e Moderno, Sacro e Profano which was lately translated by Mgr Gius. Farrugia and published by the Government Press.

His most important works included those on Maltese linguistics. In 1750 while in Rome, he published Della Lingua Punica Presentamente Usata dai Maltesi, the first known grammar of Maltese; and Annone Cartaginese, an adaptation in Maltese of the fifth act of Plautus' comedy. His other important works include Damma tal Kliem Kartaginis mxerred fel fomm tal Maltin u Ghawcin and Aforismi e Proverbi Maltesi Raccolti e Spiegati in Lingua Italiana.

In 1754 he was recalled to Rome to answer charges of slander and sedition against the Order of St John allegedly made in a book Mustafà Bassà di Rodi attributed to his pen but which was published under the name of Michele Acciardi. He was acquitted of all accusations and after his return to Malta he was appointed on 14th June, 1763, the first librarian of the newly founded De Tensin's public library.

He died on 30th January, 1770.

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