The Maltese is a very old breed, mentioned in ancient Greek writings and portrayed in ancient Egyptian statuary. The breed was probably named for the Mediterranean island of Malta. It is thought that these lively little dogs were first brought to England by Crusaders returning home from the Mediterranean. The breed became particularly popular with women, who often carried them in their sleeves and even to their beds. The dog was not only popular with women, though. Publius, the Roman governor of Malta, prized his Maltese enough to commission a portrait of "Issa" and even have poetry written about her.