The Maltese Cross is the cross symbols associated with the Knights Hospitaller (the Knights of Malta) and the Order of St. John since the middle ages. It is also the modern symbol of Amalfi, a province of Italy.
The symbol is made up of four ‘’V’ shaped elements each joined at the vertex resulting in an eight-pointed cross. The true Maltese cross is white and placed on a red background or worn on a black cloak. Other colours are not true Maltese crosses. The shape of the eight-pointed cross is a decorative element found in Byzantine culture from about the 6th Century, but it probably originated in antiquity.
The Knights Hospitallers during the Crusades used a plain Latin cross, however in 1489 a regulation appeared requiring the knights of Malta to wear ‘the white cross with eight points’. The eight points were said to symbolise the eight lands of origin of the Order and also the eight ‘obligations’ of the knights as well as the eight Beatitudes spoken of by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
The cross now appears on the back of Maltese Euro coins.