No other mention is found of Melita during the period of the Roman Empire, except in the geographers and the Maritime Itinerary, in which last the name already appears corrupted into its modern form of Malta. (Strab. vi. p.277; Plin. Nat. 3.8. s. 13; Mel. 2.7.18; Ptol. 4.3.37; Itin. Marit. p. 518; Sil. Ital. 14.251.) After the fall of the Roman Empire it fell for a time into the hands of the Vandals; but was recovered from them by Belisarius in A.D. 533 (Procop. B. V. 1.14), and appears to have continued from this time subject to the Byzantine Empire, until it was conquered by the Arabs in A.D. 870.
The present population is principally derived from an Arabic stock; but it is probable that the Arab conquerors here, as well as in Africa, have been to a great extent amalgamated with the previously existing Punic population. The inscriptions discovered at Malta sufficiently prove that the Greek language was at one time in habitual [2.321] used there, as well as in the neighboring island of Sicily; and one of these, which is bilingual, shows that Greek and Punic must have been both prevalent at the same period. (Boeckh, Corpus Inscr. Gr. 5752--5754.) The former was probably the language of the more cultivated classes, in the same manner as Italian is at the present day.