FPO: Persons

In FPO, Persons are represented by the set of classes shown below (and taken from the general FPO structure diagram shown here):

fpo-personsSince prosopography is in significant part about the identification of historical persons, :Person is a key class in FPO.  Note that the practice in DDH/KCL’s factoid prosopographies involved classification legal entities such as institutions, who performed the role of legal or identified groups of persons in documents as fpo:Persons. Thus, Person subclassing is used as the way chosen here to represent the kinds of persons: male and female, but also groups of persons, and institutional entities.


  • :Person: the central class in this category, represents historical persons who appear in the prosopography.
  • :FemalePerson and :MalePerson: are subclasses of :Person and are used to represent classes of people of the two sexes.  It is possible for a further similar subclass to be defined! The Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire, for example, added the class of “Eunuch”, since the historians believed that Byzantine society made a significant distinction between male persons and eunuchs.
  • :Group is a subclass of :Person and is used to represent groups of people acting as a unit, and which are viewed as a single entity in the prosopography.  Groups of of people come in various types, and a project might wish to subclass :Group to define specific types of classes.  See :Institution as an example.
  • :Institution: is a subclass  of :Group, and represents groups of persons who act as a single entity (perhaps a legal entity) in a particular society, and which is formally recognised as such in a particular society.  A Monastery might be an example of an Institution as legal person.
  • :CIDOC_Actor: is also a subclass of :Person and provides a mechanism within OWL/RDFS to make a connection between an FPO Person and the entity in CIDOC-CRM which represents a human being.  We suggest here that the best connection is to CIDOC’s E39 Actor class. Note that the formal connection to CIDOC is shown here by making CIDOC_Actor not only a subclass of FPO’s :Person class, but of CIDOC’s E39 Actor class as well.


In addition to the information shown in the figure above, the FPO Ontology defines properties for these classes. In CCH/DDH/KCL projects all properties listed here can only occur once for any particular :Person. Any property listed here, of course, also can be used with the class’s subclasses such as :FemalePerson.

  • :hasDisplayName (for :Person): A text string that contains the name that the project has chosen to use to refer to a particular historical person – called here the “Display Name”. Note that this need not be the same as the name used in the sources to refer to this person.  That name can be provided as a part of the :Reference (see here).
  • :hasDisplayNameComponent (for :Person): Part of an alternative display name mechanism used by several of CCH/KCL’s early factoid prosopographies was called “name number”, where the full display name was made up of two parts, a name (generally corresponding to a peron’s forename) and a number, e.g. “Cuthbert 6”. This attribute is used for the name part, for this example “Cuthbert”.
  • :hasDisplayNumberComponent (for :Person): The second part of the “name number” form of an historical person’s name. For “Cuthbert 6”, this would be the number “6”.

CCH/DDH/KCL factoid prosopographies often added other properties to the Person class, For example, several projects added properties to hold a short biography of perhaps a paragraph or two, or an even shorter person description (1 or two lines of text) that could be displayed with the person’s display name to help the user identify who the person is, telling us that in PASE, for instance, that Cuthbert 6 is the “Bishop of Hereford, 736-740/742”. Another example: People of Medieval Scotland added an attribute to its :Person class that provided a way to link to the corresponding person in the sister database People of Northern England.


The following relationship properties are defined in FPO for :Person:

  • :hasLifeDates (from :Person to :DateRange): all of CCH/DDH/KCL’s factoid prosopographies provided a property to contain a person’s life dates. If this attribute is used in a project, it was assumed to occur only once. For all the CCH/DDH./KCL project, our historian partners expected to provide at most one set of life dates for each historian person.
  • :references (from :PersonReference to :Person): :PersonReference is the mechanism used to link factoids to Persons with which they are associated (see more about it here). Any number of :references statements (and therefore factoids) can be linked to a particular :Person.