La Fortuna Visiva di Pompei
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Thesaurus of Subjects

Here is available for consultation the Thesaurus of Subjects.

  • You can expand and collapse the tree of the Thesaurus by clicking on "collapse tree" and "expand tree".
  • Click on a term to view its scope-note.


Overview of the Thesaurus of Subjects

The main objective of the Project "The Visual Fortune of Pompeii" is to investigate how the antiquities of Pompeii have been perceived, through the graphic documentation recorded up until the end of the Nineteenth Century. Consequently, the Project examines the reconstruction of Pompeii's cultural identity resulting from the combination of meanings that in various moments in history have been attributed to the monuments of Pompeii by various people.

Hence, the need to index the Iconographic Sources on the basis of the represented subjects, or rather, to label each visual document with keywords depending on the subjects depicted in the graphic documents, to allow for a thematic analysis of the visual resources.

The examination of existing thesauri and dictionaries was useful for the design, nevertheless we realized that an appropriate model was lacking, as data included in our Archive is so subject specific. This brought to the creation of a Thesaurus of Subjects ad hoc for this Project.

The Thesaurus of Subjects is devised especially for the Iconographic Sources of this Archive, and intends to thoroughly analyse, on one hand, the various portrayal types and, on the other hand, the different subjects that are represented. It is hierarchically ordered with a tree structure and is organized into three main categories:

Portrayal Type: refers to the cataloguing of graphic documents according to the type of representation it is. The key subjects included in this category are: "view", "prospectus", "plan", "section", "imaginary reconstruction", and "freehand drawing". The more specific categories include such terms as "picture with illustrator" or "inscription prospectus";

Archaeological Object: refers to the subjects portrayed in the analysed document and their classification according to the type of archaeological find. The key subjects included in this category are "architecture", "painting", "mosaic", "sculpture", "inscription", "instrumentum". It is possible to further refine a search by branching off from these categories, into such terms as: "atrium", "cubiculum", "capital", "grotesque", "mosaic threshold", "bust", "honorary inscription", "brazier", etc.;

Ornamental Subject: refers to the various ornamental subjects represented on the archaeological finds that are found in the above category and are common to paintings, sculptures, mosaics and "instrumentum". The following key subjects can be referred to: "clothing", "animal", "fantastic animal", "architecture and furnishing", "weapon", "means of transport", "geometric pattern", "plant motif", "nature and setting", "object and archaeological furnishing", "illustrated scene", "anthropomorphic subject", "musical instrument". All of theses categories are followed by the term "ornament", as they are all ornaments of the portrayed subjects in the graphic documents examined. At a more specific level, the categories branch off into terms such as "lion's head", "centaur", "two-edged hatchet", "maze", "acanthus", "battle scene", "Apollo", "Agamemnon", "Alexander the Great", "offerer", "flute", etc.

The Subject Ontology, available in Italian and in English, is continuously growing, foreseeing that, during the development of the Project, the key subjects needed to label graphic documents to be inserted into the Archive, can be added. Each term is briefly defined in the related scope-note, translated in both of the supported languages.