The Papal recognition of the Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem in 1113

At around 1048 the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mustansir Billah gave permission to some merchants from the Republic of Amalfi to build a hospital in Jerusalem. The community, which was led by Blessed Gerard, ran the hospital and became independent during the First Crusade in around 1099. This was the origin of the Knights Hospitaller.

This Bull, issued by Pope Paschal II on 15th January 1113, is considered to be the founding charter of the hospital. It transformed what was a community of pious men into an institution within the church. By virtue of this document, the Pope officially recognized the existence of the new organisation as an integral and operative part of the Roman Catholic Church.

Papal Bull 1113 – National Library of Malta.

In it, the Pope formally recognized the foundation of the hospital, which became a lay-religious order under the sole patronage of the church. The Bull gave the right to elect its Grand Masters without interference from external authorities.

The Bull includes a list of the Order’s hospitals and hospices in France and Italy, indicating that it was not limited to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and that it already had a European dimension.

This document, from the National Library of Malta, forms part of The Construction of Europe, one of the three transmedia exhibitions developed by the European Digital Treasures project.

Leonard Callus, Head Office National Archives of Malta

Treasures in Archives

Call for audio-visual (short documentary) projects

The partners of the European Digital treasures project have launched a call for short documentaries on the topic “Construction of Europe”!

Application dates: 15th June to 31st October 2021

Audio-visual creators based in Hungary, Malta, Norway, Portugal and Spain can participate in this call.

Our goal is the production of several short documentaries or animated documentaries based on documents held by our archives.  These records, ranging between the Middle Ages and today, will contribute to better understanding of our shared European history and identity.

During this first phase, we are inviting audio-visual creators to submit:

  • a project description, their choice of the documents and a sample of the storyboard;    
  • a short video explaining the project.

After this, the documentaries that are to be funded by our project will be chosen.  

Munster Technological University (MTU) will organize an international encounter for the chosen audio-visuals in Cork, Ireland, on 20-22 April 2022.
Eventually, these audio-visual productions will be presented during the annual convention of the International Centre for Archival Research (ICARUS) during the last quarter of 2022!

Click on the link & become part of it:
https://www.treasuresinarchives.com/
https://www.digitaltreasures.eu/activities/treasures-archives/

Written by Leonard Callus,
Head Office – National Archives of Malta

The Charter of Law of Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1867: a pioneer milestone of European humanism and liberalism

The Charter of Law is included in the first exhibition of the European Digital Treasures project “The Construction of Europe” as one of the records representing the intellectual Heritage of Enlightenment.

Portugal was one of the pioneering countries with a law to abolish the Death Penalty for civil crimes. The law was approved by the Portuguese Parliament and published on July 1st, 1867.

Charter of Law approving the penal and prison reform, with the abolition of the death penalty, 26-06-1867 / 01-07-1867, Lisbon (Portugal) 12 folio sheet containing 3 records, manuscript on paper; 40 x 25,5 x 0,4 cm National Archive of Torre do Tombo Ref Code: PT/TT/LO/003/31/64,
National Archive of Torre do Tombo.

How had this issue been discussed in the early times of European abolitionism in the 18th and 19th century?
It was a time when philosophers, jurists, poets, writers, publicists and some state rulers discussed and implemented, with advances and retreats, penal reforms with more efficient laws against criminality, but also more respectful for human dignity: cruel and corporal punishments, executions exuberantly carried out in public became less common.
Cesare Beccaria, a philosopher and jurist of Milan, published, in 1764, his famous and influential criminology essay “On Crimes and Punishments”. He proposed some of the first modern arguments against the Death Penalty. He was deeply opposed to the capital punishment, which was rare for a time where this sanction was an acceptable response for many crimes. He openly condemned the Death Penalty and argued: the state does not possess the right to take lives; the Death Penalty is a crime legitimated by law; capital punishment is neither a useful nor a necessary form of punishment.

In the mid of the 19th century, Europe saw a new wave of abolitionism. In 1848 the Death Penalty was abolished in San Marino, Freiburg and Neufchatel. In France, Victor Hugo launched a vigorous campaign which contributed to the abolition of the Death Penalty for political crimes in 1848.

Victor Hugo, the French novelist and a fervent abolitionist celebrated the pioneers of the abolition of the Death Penalty in Portugal as an achievement and hope for the European abolitionist movement.
He writes, on the 2nd July, 1867, to Eduardo Coelho, director of the newspaper ”Jornal de Notícias”:

   (…). I congratulate your parliament, your thinkers, your writers and your philosophers! I congratulate your nation. Portugal gives the example to Europe. Enjoy this immense glory beforehand. Europe will follow Portugal. Death to death! War to war! Hate to hate! Hurray to life! Liberty is an immense city, of which we’re all citizens. I shake your hands as my compatriots of humanity.”

European Heritage Label,
National Archive of Torre do Tombo.

As part of its commitment to defending Human Rights, the EU is the largest donor in the fight against Death Penalty worldwide. All EU countries have abolished the Death Penalty in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. All over the world the death penalty seems to decline. Although over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where the Death Penalty continues to exist.

As European citizens we also have the chance to look at this past as a springboard to the future of Human Rights in Europe and in the world.
As an important milestone in the promotion of European Values of Citizenship, with special focus on Human Rights, the Charter of Law was awarded the European Heritage Label, in 2015. The record is accessible in six EU languages.

Written by Maria Trindade Serralheiro, Senior Technician / Information, Statistics and Quality Systems, General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries, Portugal
Ana Isabel Fernandes (trad.), Senior Technician / Communication Office, Torre do Tombo National Archive, General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries, Portugal

Opening of the exhibition “The Construction of Europe” at the Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain)

After more than two years of work in the preparation of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, yesterday, 29th of June, the first one, The Construction of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of Europeanness over 1000 Years, was successfully opened at the Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain).

This exhibition is the outcome of the European cooperation, a clear example of the combination of the capacities, heritage, diversity, value, and inspiration of all those who have made this project possible.

The narratives displayed here combine different technological tools that allow us to get to know our written past through multiple channels. Visitors can interact with: 8 original documents from 4 different archives, 20 facsimiles from 7 countries, 22 digital reproductions of documents from 6 countries, displayed in interactive booths, 1 quiz game for people who love challenges, 1 memory matching game to encourage observation, 1 infinite running game to reward speed by catching archival documents, 1 interactive RPG game to learn how to work on an archive, 4 augmented reality experiences to explore parallel worlds and videos presenting the project and its merchandising products!

During yesterday’s morning, there was a presentation for the media and, later, after the opening ceremony, a representative of the National Archives of Hungary, Zoltán Szatucsek, responsible for curating the exhibition, did a guided tour for the guests.

The opening was chaired by María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, general director of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain; by Silvestre Lacerda, general director of the Book, Archives and Libraries of Portugal on behalf of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union; and by María Oliván, head of the Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents Unit of the European Commission. It was also attended by the members of the ‘European Digital Treasures’ project from the National Archives of Norway, Hungary and Malta and a representation of the Spanish State Archives, led by Severiano Hernández, deputy director of the Spanish State Archives.

Additionally, the Archive of the Crown of Aragon also hosted a semi-virtual meeting of the European Archives Group (EAG). The first meeting of this group since 2019.

The exhibition can be visited until October 29th, 2021 in Spain, with capacity restrictions and hygiene and safety measures established by health authorities to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practical information: http://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/archivos-aca/destacados/expo-digital-treasures.html

Written by Spanish State Archives

Transmedia Products

Interview with Paul Keneally, MTU

In this post we will be speaking with Paul Kenneally, from Munster Technological University (MTU), on the fantastic work he has been doing on the Digital Treasures project. In particular the interview will focus on the transmedia products he and the team have been working on developing. 

Interviewer: Hi Paul, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today on the transmedia products being developed for the digital treasures project. We know you are busy working on completing a lot of this work so we won’t keep you long.

Paul: No problem, thanks for asking me to do this. It is great to share the work we are doing.

Interviewer: Great, so first off for those not familiar with transmedia, what is it?

Paul: Yeah, so transmedia in general constitutes the mixture of using a bunch of different types of media so conventional video, graphic design, animation, some web design, and as well as some new contemporary technologies, like, augmented reality, and games. So taking that then just to create mixed disciplinary outputs that are, some again like I said are conventional in design and the way they are made, and then some are a little bit more cutting edge, for example the augmented reality.

Interviewer: Okay, so to follow that. What transmedia has been created for this project?

Paul: Yeah. So for this project, we created several transmedia products. Again, that cross disciplines, like Game Design, Augmented Reality, Video and Animation, and then as well, just combining all those, and mixing them together. So, by doing that, some of our most notable transmedia products include the use of augmented reality being embedded into old archival documents. So, that’s documents that are anywhere from decades to hundreds of years old, that have been enhanced with some sort of an animation. 

AR example

And then that’s been applied down to a third-party app that runs an AR event. So that’s how augmented reality works. Some other ones then include the use of touchscreen games. So things like matching pair quizzes, general knowledge quizzes and infinite runners is another one. Those are going to be used on touchscreens, like kiosks that will be a part of modular furniture that’s going to be at the exhibition. 

Touchscreen Kiosk

So, these screens support 10 Point touch, which is really important because it invites multiple people to interact and play it together at a time. So introducing things like competitive aspects, and as well to make sure that the players or the museum, visitors, achieve a state of flow, when they’re playing the games, so nothing obstructs them, their experience or their general enjoyment of the experience. 

Interviewer: Just on the state of flow Paul, what do you mean by this?

Paul: State of flow, is a channel that’s in between, boredom, and kind of like overbearing challenge. It’s a concept proposed by a Hungarian-American psychologist called Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and this refers to a level of optimum performance and concentration. For games, this also includes levels of fun and the desire to retry the games multiple times. Another example of this would entail really long amounts of time passing the player by without them even noticing.

Interviewer: Perfect, thank you. So how are people going to interact with these transmedia products and what will they do with them?

Paul: Yeah, so if people get a chance to go to the exhibitions, there are multiple ways, depending on what transmedia product they want to interact with. So for the touchscreen games, they just need to interact with the touchscreen kiosks and follow the instructions that are set on those screens. For augmented reality, visitors can scan each document’s respective AR trigger or AR tag to activate the AR event on the document so that will allow you then to view animated elements around the document. Other products that will be at the exhibition as well, will be things like touchscreen catalogues which again will use the same technology, they are operated the same as you operate your tablet device by using swiping gestures.

Interviewer: To put you on the spot, what was your favourite one to develop?

Paul: I actually had two favourite transmedia products for this project. The first one was the RPG (role-playing game) game. It’s been a once in a lifetime type of experience where I could make a game from start to finish, from being involved in things like the design and ideation of the script with the archivists who acted as subject matter experts to the technical execution of the game. So I’m very happy, and really lucky to have had an opportunity to do that. 

RPG Level 1

And then the second one, is actually the augmented reality itself. It’s really cool when you can take documents that are hundreds of years old, and embed this invisible extra layer of interactivity and experience this using either a tablet device or smartphone. So that’s really exciting stuff and I hope more of that gets done in the future.

Interviewer: Final question for you, if people only got the opportunity to play or interact with only one of these transmedia products. Which one of them would you definitely play yourself?

Paul: Oh, that’s a hard one. If you don’t have the opportunity to go to the exhibition, I highly recommend playing the RPG game. And given the current circumstances with COVID-19 and social distancing and all that, it’s very possible that this might be an occurrence. For anybody who is fortunate enough to go to these exhibitions, being safe and following all precautions of course, it will definitely be augmented reality. So instructions on how to install the app called Artivive will be at the exhibitions, as well as tablet devices will be there if people feel a little bit more comfortable with using devices supplied on-site.

Interviewer: Great, thanks for your time Paul and we all look forward to seeing the final product either online or in person at the exhibitions.

Interview by Niall Fahy, MTU

The EDT-Exhibition Welcome Video

Starting from the end of June 2021 in Barcelona the three transmedia exhibitions start all over Europe and will last till October 2022. The basic idea of the project team was to welcome visitors to the individual exhibitions by means of a short video clip and to present and summarise the exhibition concept as it were in a nutshell. This video will greet visitors during the exhibitions on TV screens mounted overhead and, as it were, convey a first impression.

On the one hand, the participating institutions are presented, which make the exhibited documents available; on the other hand, a selection of documents that is as diverse as possible symbolises each individual thematic focus of the exhibition (The Making of Europe – Exile, Migration Flows and Solidarity – European Inventions and Discoveries). Each participating institution is represented by three documents, with each document explained with a short title and dating. In addition, the welcome video also provides an overview of the timetable of the exhibitions in the different countries.

To meet the needs of local visitors, no less than seven language versions of the video have been produced, namely in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Maltese, Hungarian and German.

In addition to the above-mentioned area of application, it is also planned to use this video, accompanied by a background melody, as a general presentation medium for the EDT project, a kind of business card for the project.

Written by Dr. Karl HEINZ, MAS,
Science & Strategy
ICARUS – International Centre for Archival Research

The Construction of Europe: The first exhibition of the European Digital Treasures project to be opened

After more than two years of work in the preparation of the three transmedia exhibitions included in the European Digital Treasures project, we are approaching the opening of the first of them, The construction of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of Europeanness over 1000 Years, that will take place next June 29th 2021 at the Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain).

Works of Seneca, 14th century. Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain)

This exhibition tells the story of Europe along with its construction as a concept, which has changed over time. Created and shaped by the people who lived there, it also provides a collective identity for its inhabitants.

The exhibition, built on 50 documents grouped into 4 ‘pillars’, examines the common history of Europe under the following headings:

1: The Spirit of Europe.
2: The Diversity of Europe.
3: The Multiple Faces of Christianity.
4: The Heritage of Enlightenment.

Different transmedia interactive products have been created (4 videogames, 1 edutainment app, digital catalogues, augmented reality technology) to tell the stories of our shared past to the public – to young and old, to history enthusiasts and expert historians, to unexpected and anticipated user communities of archives.

Viceroys’ Palace. Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain)

It is very significant that the venue of this first exhibition regarding the construction of Europe is the Archive of the Crown of Aragon, which is one of the oldest archival institutions in Europe and considered to hold one of the largest and most valuable document collections of medieval Europe. In March 2015 it was awarded the European Heritage Label by the European Commission due to the role it has played in the history and culture of Europe. This distinction is only held by 48 institutions throughout Europe.

The Archive of the Crown of Aragon is a state-owned archive that is managed directly by the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Spain and it brings together more than seven centuries of history between its walls.

The purpose of the Archive of the Crown of Aragon is to safeguard, preserve, organise and divulge the documentation which, proceeding from different institutions, has been building up in its repositories over seven centuries and now belongs to the Spanish Historical Heritage.

Viceroys’ Palace. Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain)

The Archives of the Crown of Aragon contain documents of the Counts of Barcelona and the Kings of Aragon dating from the 9th to the 18th century as well as other documents from various civil and ecclesiastic bodies. The Archive was created by a royal decision of Jaime II of Aragon in 1318 in the premises of the Royal Palace, situated in Plaza del Rey.

Since 1853 the Palace of the Viceroy has been the headquarters of the Archive of the Crown of Aragon. It was built between 1549 and 1557 by master Antoni Carbonell, and it is listed in the Historical and Artistic Buildings Index of Barcelona, and as a National Monument. Its origins lie in a decree of the Cortes held by Emperor Carlos V at Monzón in 1547 creating this extension to the Palacio Real Mayor as the seat of the Viceroy of Catalonia.

Viceroys’ Palace. Archive of the Crown of Aragon (Spain)

The Palace of the Viceroy was restored in 2006 and since it reopened after renovation works in January 2007, it has been used for teaching, specialist research and educational activities, with guided visits to the historic areas and the temporary exhibition room, where the history of the Archive and its collections are explained. It also has a Teaching Room for workshops and training courses and a Conference Room with seating for 120 people.

Text: Spanish State Archives