Who is the rightful Marchese di Gnien is-Sultan? .
Who is the rightful Marchese di Gnien is-Sultan? The title of Marchese di Gnien is-Sultan was granted by Grand Master Rohan, by patent, to Filippo Apap on the 1 December 1792 with remainder to all his male descendants in perpetuity: Reference Apap. Nobe Filippo ottenne dal Gr. Mro titolo di Marchese del Feudo denominato Ginien Issultan posto in Malta, per se e suoi discendenti Maschi in perpetuo, ed in deficienza de Maschi entra la Femmina Maggiore Nata; sotto la ricognizione annuale d’uno Schioppo di buona qualita’, da presentare all’ Emo Gr. Mro pro tempore nel giorno di San Martino Papa pma Xbre 1792. f. Vedi il Memoriale fatto dal medmo per ottenere il do titolo dto di’ ed anno. F. Reference A.O.M. 613, ff. 188r
Filippo was invested in that title on the 19 December 1792.
Il Nobe Filippo Apap ha fatto in mano del Gr. Mro, come Marchese del Feudo Ginien Issultan, il solito giuramento ed ha preso l’investitura del medmo Titolo di Marchese. Vedi nella precedte pagina N.7. la Collazione 19 Xbre 1792, f. Reference A.O.M. 613, ff. 188r
There is nothing in the text of the 1792 grant of Marchese di Gnien is-Sultan to support the observation made by the Royal Commission in its report published in 1878 that the title was "was always looked upon as descendible only to the first-born male in the primogenial line of the original grantee."
This means all of Filippo’s male descendants may freely use the title of Marchese di Gnien is-Sultan, but this generous remainder does not extend to persons descended in a female line because they are excluded. In fact the grant contemplates the eventuality that if all male descendants were to die out, then the title would be succeeded by the “Femmina Maggiore nata”.
Although the Apap family was only first ennobled as late as 1792 by Grand Master Rohan, it was immediately regarded as part of the “principal nobility” of Malta as results from the 1810 declaration whereby the Maltese people complained their ancient sacred Rights, had been violated twice, once by the Grand Masters of the order of St. John, and again after the same Maltese entrusted their islands to the British King's officers.
In time the male descendants appended the surnames of their maternal ancestors to distinguish themselves from each other: this led to different surnames like Apap Ducoss, Apap Pace and Apap Testaferrata. In 1829, one of the male descendants married the daughter of Baron Paolo Sceberras Testaferrata and Maria Angelica Perdicomati Bologna. Hence his descendants combined the surname to become “Apap Bologna”, the eldest of whom laid a claim to the primogenitura Bologna to which was attached the title of Conte della Catena created in 1745.
The Royal Commission noted Felicissimo Apap Pace Bologna was also claiming the even older title of Roman Patrician which was created in 1590 in favour of the Abela, di Ferro, Surdo and Testaferrata families, but the Commission did not consider this claim favourably.