The European Templar Heritage Research Network.
The European Templar Heritage Research Network (ETHRN) is an newly formed
network of scholars and research groups who have no affiliation to any religious,
political or fraternal organisation, denomination, cult or sect. Its primary
purpose is to access the authentic historical record of the Templar era
(1118-1314 AD), promote public access to key historical documents, provide
mechanisms to support the exchange of information and experience relevant
to that period and to encourage the preservation of authentic Templar sites
of historic and cultural interest.
The network will operate to improve co-operation between scholars, research
groups, educational establishments, repositories of documentation and heritage
sites to facilitate the interchange of verifiable historical information
and research, thereby increasing our understanding of this important aspect
of late medieval history, leading to an enhancement of the sense of common
European identity and shared cultural heritage.
The network will bring the Templar heritage to the attention of as wide an
audience as possible, not merely within Europe, but also throughout the world.
Thus its activities are not only of relevance to scholars and organisations
working directly in the field of archaeological and archival research but
also to the tourist industry and local economies throughout the European
Training on the Job, in making the best use of the Internet for entrepreneurs,
is an important action within the Vienna Business Net project. Trained
councillors are providing this training by visiting the companies on-site.
Training sessions are focused on two objectives: to figure out what are the
best Internet applications for the specific company; and, how to implement
and use the applications. Companies are also advised about new possibilities
including electronic commerce applications and digital financial transactions.
The project is funded by the City of Vienna in order to assist the development
of a competitive and sustainable local economy.
Results / Observations:
Two main observations were apparent within the first few months of the Vienna
Business Net project:
Formal study of medieval history between the needs to emphasise the cultural
and socio-economic series of transformative changes which laid down the basis
for our common European culture. Within that transformative era, the Order
of Knights Templar made a vital contribution which is of great relevance
today, especially as we progress towards fuller social, political and economic
integration within the European Community. This medieval order were
trans-European and supra-national in nature, owing allegiance to neither
kings nor emperors. The order can be regarded, in many respects, as early
pre-cursors of European union.
Their considerable power and influence derived from their cultural and
socio-economic interests included sponsorship of church art and architecture,
promoting and protecting trade routes, farming, viniculture, building, quarrying,
mining, marine transport, creating a sophisticated network of communication
which transcended political and linguistic barriers and finally, creating
a highly efficient web of international finance. Modern banking owes its
foundation to the activities of the Knights Templar who were the originators
of 'notes of hand', the cheque and the letter of credit. Their role as protectors
of the pilgrim routes again has a modern counterpart in the tourist industry.
Their most visible legacy rests in the wealth of buildings - commanderies,
farms, castles, churches and chapels that still decorate the European landscape.
The Templars played an important role in transforming medieval life from
an era of brutal internecine strife to one of stability, growth and progress
that enabled the accumulation of capital which laid the foundations for the
There is a burgeoning interest in the history and heritage of the Templar
order, and many individuals and organisations are engaged in fruitful research
into its activities within their own locality, mainly in France, Scotland,
England, Spain, Portugal and Germany, and to some extent in other European
states. However this important research into a formative aspect of late medieval
European history and cultural heritage is, despite the hard work of so many
scholars, professional and amateur, isolated, fragmentary and inaccessible
to the general European public in any systematic form.
A veritable flood of information has accumulated which lacks any systematic
structure and has no central point of access. Communication between the various
groups and individuals is generally uncoordinated and ineffective, which
causes immense frustration for those who wish to access their results. This
body of important research needs collation, systemisation and prioritisation
in a meaningful, accessible and structured form.
The European Templar Research Network provides an ideal opportunity to initiate
effective international scholarly co-operation right across the European
Community, for it has been founded to address these problems, among others.
The Network is in process of establishing co-operation and liaison with UNESCO,
the Council of Europe, the World Heritage List, the European Committee of
the Regions and other appropriate EU institutions and EC Directorates General.
The Network is a non-profit making organisation and its objectives are:
To liase with the individuals and organisations working across Europe in
the field of medieval studies particularly those investigating the contribution
of the Templars to European culture and promote closer co-operation and
disseminate research results by the use of Information and Communication
1.1. To create a multi-lingual Internet website to facilitate scholarly
communication and co-operation and increase public access to verifiable and
objective historical knowledge using both traditional means and ICT.
To encourage and facilitate exhibitions, seminars and conferences on medieval
and Templar history.
To found an international annual conference on medieval historical research,
to be held in member countries on a rotating basis.
To establish a newsletter in the major European languages to facilitate the
interchange of ideas and information, introduce the network web site and
to introduce examples and procedures used in ICT to facilitate the interchange
and co-ordination of research results and information.
To create an up-to-date and full bibliography, of manageable proportions,
of key relevant books and articles on authentic Templar history - by integrating
existing bibliographies and research into lesser known documents, with a
list of modern works in all languages - to be available on the web site and
eventually published in multimedia format on CD-ROM.
To create and publish an international data base, using ICT, of historical
archives and repositories of expertise on the Knights Templar for the use
of the members of ETHRN, scholars and the general public.
To publish an international guidebook, of manageable proportions, to authentic
sites of Templar interest.
To compile a register of scholars, educational establishments, museums and
organisations taking an active part in objective historical Templar research,
publishing it in multimedia form on CD-ROM.
To maintain a website publishing research and information supplied by constituent
member organisations and listing all their key publications, events and
To encourage and support participants in the network in pursuing their
independent research and disseminate the results by means of the exchange
of experience and information using publication, exhibitions, seminars, the
Network web site and ICT.
To work in conjunction with participating members and to seek public and
private funding for specific projects arising out of the aims and objectives
of the network.
To develop techniques, particularly using ICT, to be applied to the contribution
of the Knights Templar to our common European heritage.
Progress to date.
Since its foundation in April 1998 the ETHRN Federation has made considerable
progress. Thanks to the use of ICT, contacts have been made with a wide variety
of scholars and research organisations across Europe, in England, Scotland,
France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and Romania. Individual members have
joined from not only within Europe, but also from the United States, while
interest and enquiries have been received from Canada, Australia, Russia,
Belgium and Holland.
This sustained and growing interest has arisen directly from our use of ICT.
The ETHRN Federation website ( www.euroknightstemplar.org) was created in
late May 1998 and has received over 6,000 visitors since its inception. At
present this website is only available in English and French, but translations
into Portuguese, German and Spanish are under development. The website at
present lists the aims and objectives of the federation, a brief review of
its rationale and a page of events mounted by federation members. It also
carries details of two projects which the federation have developed in
co-operation with partners in Portugal, Spain Italy, France and England.
Funding is actively being sought for both of these projects, the TRACE and
TMU projects, each of which will have a beneficial effect on education, cultural
tourism and job creation. Both projects have, as part of their methodology,
a strong emphasis on the use of ICT, not only for the exchange of information,
but also, by means of multimedia and multi-lingual CD-ROMS and Videos, for
the dissemination of results and the creation of the interactive, educational
aspects of the projects. The ETHRN Federation provides the ideal interface
for the meeting of ICT and Europe's Cultural Heritage.