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The European Templar Heritage Research Network.
The European Templar Heritage Research Network (ETHRN) is an independent 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purpose is to access the authentic historical record of the Templar era (1118-1312 AD), promote public access to key historical documents, provide mechanisms to support the exchange of information and experience relevant to that period and to encourage the preservation of authentic Templar sites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 Community.
Formal study of medieval history between the 12th and 14th centuries needs to emphasise the cultural aspects and socio-economic influence of the Order of Knights Templar whose cultural heritage is of great relevance today, especially as we progress towards fuller social, political and economic integration within the European Community. This medieval order was trans-European and supra-national in nature, owing allegiance to neither kings nor emperors. These innovative knights can be regarded, in many respects, as early pre-cursors of European union. Their considerable power and influence derived from their many and varied activities for 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 later Renaissance.
The order was disbanded in France and throughout Europe in 1312 with the exception of Scotland where they survived for some time and Portugal where, as the Knights of Christ they survived for centuries.
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. What are the reasons for this regrettable state of affairs? Scholars do not communicate effectively with each other for a variety of reasons: problems of time and resources play their part in this communication block, as do barriers of language and, perhaps more importantly, the lack of any central register of those interested in the field. Above all, there is no central co-ordination and evaluation for historical accuracy of the results that have been gathered so far.
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:
1) To liaise with the individuals and organisations working across Europe investigating the contribution of the Templars to late Medieval European culture and to promote closer co-operation and the dissemination of the results by the use of Information and Communication Technologies. (ICT)
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.
2). To encourage and facilitate exhibitions, seminars and conferences on Templar history.
3). To found an international annual conference on Templar research, to be held in member countries on a rotating basis. 4). To establish a newsletter in the major European languages to facilitate: i). the interchange of ideas and information. ii). to introduce the network web site. iii). to introduce examples and procedures used in ICT for use in the interchange and co-ordination of research results and information.
5). To create an up-to-date and full bibliography, of above, and wish to play your part in our activities and be listed on our website and database, please complete the following questionnaire 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 multi-media format on CD-Rom.
6). To create and publish an international database, 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.
8). To publish an international guidebook, of manageable proportions, of authentic sites of Templar interest.
9). To compile a register of scholars, educational establishments, museums and organisations taking an active part in authentic and objective historical Templar research with a view to publishing it in multi-media form on CD-Rom.
10). To maintain a website publishing research and information supplied by constituent member organisations and listing all their key publications, events and exhibitions.
11). 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.
12). To develop techniques, particularly using ICT, to be applied to the contribution of the Knights Templar to our common pan-European heritage.
If you or your organisation support, in principle, the objectives outlined and return to our international co-ordinator: by email: Templartim@aol.com or by post to: Dr Tim Wallace-Murphy 11 Dukes Road Totnes Devon TQ9 5YA England. Tel. No. +44 1803 868314 or Fax to. ETHRN at fax no. +44 1803 868377
1). Your name and address and/or that of your organisation.
2). If you are a member of any organisation, please summarise its principal areas of interest as well as your own personal interests.
3). List the six most important of your publications to date (please specify if books, articles or journals and the publisher).
4). List, in your opinion, the six most important historical works on the Knights Templar.
5). List, in your considered opinion, the six most important Templar sites in your locality. i)
6). List, in your opinion, the six most important archives containing Templar documentation in your locality.
7). List the key exhibitions, seminars and conferences mounted by your organisation in the last three years.
8). List any important exhibitions, seminars and conferences on Templar themes mounted by other relevant organisations which you, or your organisation have knowledge of.
9). Do you, as an individual or organisation, endorse the aims and objectives of the European Templar Heritage Research Network and are you willing to participate in its work?
9.1) Can you suggest any practical way in which our network may be improved?
10). Please nominate one of your members and / or other prominent researchers as potential members of the European Advisory Committee of the Network to help refine and improve its charter and Methods of Operation.
11). Please provide a list of names and addresses of other individual scholars, groups or institutions that could benefit from, or contribute to, the network.
12). Please make whatever constructive and critical comments you wish on any, or all, aspects of this consultative document.
ETHRN Federation European Templar Heritage Research Network