We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Question about symbolism in marble floor tombstones?

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
50 posts
46 reviews
Save Topic
Question about symbolism in marble floor tombstones?

This might be a really obvious question, but Google hasn't helped (much) with it. When we visited St. Paul's Cathedral in Mdina earlier today, I noticed that a lot of the marble tombstones on the floor had pictures of two hats on them. One of the hats was a mitre, and the other was a black hat with a wide flat brim (often with braided cords hanging from it) - I think the latter might be called a cappello romano? Does that mean that the person honored there was both a priest and then a cardinal? Is there an significance to the braided cords?

I know that this isn't a typical tourist question, but I'm still hoping one of the Malta experts on here knows the answer! Thanks!

Mentioned in this post
Mdina
Mdina
Island of Malta, Malta
3 replies to this topic
hampshire_UK
Level Contributor
1,803 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Question about symbolism in marble floor tombstones?

The hat with the wide brim is a Galero, the colour signifies the rank held in the Roman Catholic church. Generally, the black hat was for priests, green for bishops and archbishops and red for cadinals. The number of tassles is also significant of rank - priest = 2 each side, bishops = 6 each side, archbishops = 10 each side and cardinals = 15 each side. Those are the basics, but you will see variations. Nowadays, the mitre is restricted to bishops, abbots and Ordinary of a Personal Ordinariate (any rank), but historically the right could be granted to other ranks as a special privilege.

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
50 posts
46 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Question about symbolism in marble floor tombstones?

That is tremendously helpful - thank you so very much! The tombstones at St. Paul's Cathedral already helped me learn more about Gerald Strickland, about whom I shamefully previously knew nearly nothing, and now this new information as well. Thanks!

hampshire_UK
Level Contributor
1,803 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Question about symbolism in marble floor tombstones?

Glad you found it useful. If you are interested in Gerald Strickland, you can always visit his home, Villa Bologna, in Attard - currently owned by his grandson but currently managed by his great grandson.

https://villabologna.com/

Mentioned in this post
Villa Bologna
Villa Bologna
92 Reviews
Island of Malta, Malta
Attard
Attard
Island of Malta, Malta
Reply to: Question about symbolism in marble floor tombstones?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Malta