The Roman Patricanship (Testaferrata)




The Roman Patricanship of Testaferrata Asciak and Cassar Desain.  The dignity of Patrician of Rome (Testaferrata Asciack (??) Cassar Desain (??), origins unknown, 1674)


Footnote: Another “Dignity of Roman Patrician” appears to have been granted in 1674.

In 1878, this dignity was claimed by Emmanuel Testaferrata Asciack and Lorenzo Cassar Desain. However, it appears that neither claimant produced any proof. 

The Royal Commissioners  dismissed both claims because, the same Commissioners decided not only that the claimants did not provide any proof whatsoever BUT ALSO because the same Commissioners held that this dignity was a mere municipal honour and not one emanating from a foreign sovereign, or fons honorum. (“Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility”, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (See Report Para. 240)).

Thus, as far as the Commissioners were concerned, once they regarded this dignity as a municipal honour, it did not fall within the remit of the Commission because the Commissioners were of the opinion that once it is a municipal honour it does not qualify to be registered in accordance with the rules of 1739 and 1795 as enacted by Grand Masters Despuig and Rohan. 

The actual report says the following:

 “Two similar diplomas of Roman Patricians are mentioned in the Committee list, dated respectively the 6th July 1674 and the 4th July 1744, the former grant being claimed by Emmanuel Testaferrata Asciack and by Lorenzo Cassar Desain”. No proof or document whatever having been produced concerning these grants, such claims cannot be consequently allowed. 

However, upon a more detailed analysis about the nature of this dignity, it appears that contrary to what was held by the Commissioners, that the 1674 dignity (if proven) is in fact a conferral of nobility because the city of Rome acted as a fons honorum (fountain of honour). See also


Sadly, from a reading of the Report, there is no indication as to who was the original grantee of the 1674 dignity. 


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