The symbol that is produced by the \maltese command is an iron cross, not quite the same thing as a maltese cross, both in terms of appearance and signification.

I was wondering if there was any way to draw an actual maltese cross in LaTeX as a math character.

  • 1
    It's been asked to be added to Fontawesome which has support in Xe/LuaLaTeX.
    – Bernard
    Sep 23, 2014 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


It really seems that the unicode mapping is wrong in this place. The Maltese cross is indexed as U+2720. But the only font I could find to be mapping it right is the font Code2000. It brings the following symbol:

enter image description here

The following MWE shows, how you can load just this symbol and proofs the scalability. It can be used in text and math:

% arara: lualatex

%\usepackage{bbding} % for \CrossMaltese % results in a Koch Pattée which is to ugly to show
\usepackage{pifont} % for \ding{64}
\usepackage{MnSymbol} % for \MnMaltese


    In text \amalfi{}, in in-line math $\amalfi$, and in a formula:
        Iron Cross (Pattée)&$\maltese$\setmathfont{Asana Math}$\maltese$\setmathfont{TeX Gyre Pagella Math}$\maltese$\ding{64}$\MnMaltese$\setmainfont{symbola.ttf}\symbol{"2720}\\
        Pattée acc.\ Koch&\setmathfont{XITS-Math}$\maltese$\setmainfont{quivira.otf}\symbol{"2720}\setmainfont{DejaVuSans}\symbol{"2720}\\
        Maltese Cross&\amalfi\\\bottomrule

enter image description here

Finally, I did some research about the "Maltese" crosses which exist. The following table shows the possible symbols. It does not contain a symbol from Font Awesome yet, but as Bernard mentioned in comment, there is a feature request around. Hopefully, they will get it right.

enter image description here

Edit: shortest version for the Maltese Cross symbol


  • Looks good. Could you just confirm what are the minimal set of packages needed to define your \amalfi command. I guess fontspec and unicode-math at least maybe mathtools too? Thanks.
    – Marc
    Sep 24, 2014 at 8:35
  • @Marc Please see my edit (at the very bottom). Glad you like it.
    – LaRiFaRi
    Sep 24, 2014 at 9:15

I don't know if you consider this a "math character" for your purpose, but you can draw a symbol with TikZ and scale it to the size of a symbol of your choice (the digit 0 in this case), so that it scales in math environments.

Also, I eyeballed the dimensions, so the lengths and angles are probably all wrong. Feel free to improve them. ;)

Maltese cross in math mode

Also works in text mode with different font sizes:

Maltese cross in text mode


    (0.02,0.02)    -- (0.2,0.5)   -- (0,0.4)  -- (-0.2,0.5)  --
    (-0.02,0.02)   -- (-0.5,0.2)  -- (-0.4,0) -- (-0.5,-0.2) --
    (-0.02,-0.02)  -- (-0.2,-0.5) -- (0,-0.4) -- (0.2,-0.5)  --
    (0.02,-0.02)   -- (0.5,-0.2)  -- (0.4,0)  -- (0.5,0.2)   --
    cycle;}% Scale this picture...
    {0}% ...to the size of this symbol.

    f(\maltcross, y) = 2^{\maltcross} \cdot 2^{3^{\maltcross}} + y\maltcross
    - \int\limits_{\maltcross}^{\maltcross+1} 9\maltcross

\tiny \maltcross
\scriptsize \maltcross
\footnotesize \maltcross
\normalsize \maltcross
\large \maltcross
\Large \maltcross
\LARGE \maltcross
\Huge \maltcross
  • Instead of that scalerel magic, you could also use em or ex as units in your drawing, because those units scale with the surrounding font size.
    – Jake
    Sep 23, 2014 at 19:55
  • 2
    @Jake: Yes, I tried \tikz[x=1em,y=1em], but that didn't scale when used as an exponent or subscript in math mode. Scaling in text mode worked however. For this purpose the scalerel also provides \LMex and \LMpt for the local math units, but this approach seemed easier.
    – Fritz
    Sep 23, 2014 at 20:01
  • @Jake In math mode, em and ex retain the size of the base font size, whereas scalerel accounts for the math style you are in (e.g., \scriptstyle, \scriptsciptstyle). Sep 23, 2014 at 20:03

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