Vetusta Monumenta: Ancient Monuments

Features of this edition

This digital edition of a major eighteenth-century print series aims to make high-quality scans of the original copperplate engravings, with full text and commentary, freely available to scholars and the public.  The images used throughout this project were derived from 600 ppi tiff files produced on the Digibook 9000 and Indus scanners owned by Ellis Library, University of Missouri, which holds one of only six complete sets of Vetusta Monumenta in the US (and of eleven worldwide, according to the Worldcat database).  This edition focuses on the first three volumes, produced in the eighteenth century.  It offers a general introduction, searchable transcriptions of the texts with the Latin portions translated into English, and  commentary on each individual plate and text by an international team of scholars

A preliminary version of  Vol. I, plates 1-26, was launched in October 2015.  In collaboration with Scalar (, we optimized our image interface in time for this launch to present zoomable, high-resolution images of each engraving.  By the time Vol. I is formally published in its entirety (plates 1-70), all commentary will be peer-reviewed by the fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London, which originally published the volumes.  As of January 2016, commentaries for the remainder of vol. I as well as the image cataloging for vol. II are in progress. While waiting for the edition to be completed, readers are welcome also to consult the scans-only version uploaded to Hathi Trust by the University of Missouri Digital Library system.

1.  Each page includes transcriptions and translations of any included text along with brief descriptions (<100 words) of the engraving, the object, and its provenance/location (where known) along with a commentary (~1000 words) focusing on the context of the engraving and a bibliography. Author-date form (Harvard style) is used for in-text citations, with full references supplied at the end of each commentary.

2.  The main contents listing for each volume is linked to a scan of each individual plate.  By navigating to the plate, users may access a zoomable image of the plate side by side with capsule descriptions of the plate, the object, its location/provenance, and finally a full commentary.  Links at the bottom of each page enable easy navigation to related plates as well as searching.

3.  The home page includes a link to thumbnails of all the images and a link to the general introduction as well as a basic keyword search box.  For the thumbnails, go to Volume One and scroll down to the "quick view" link.  A more exhaustive search interface, allowing users to search the three volumes by keyword, date, place, and type of object, is in progress.  The main page for each volume begins with a graphic representation of the contents, which can also be used as a search tool.

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