Pontifex Maximus List

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:52 pm

Salve Coruncani

Publius Cornelius Calusa was PM in 332

There was an earlier PM Papirius that tradition placed in the time when the Tarquins were expelled, but he may instead date to the 340's or a little earlier. I seem to recall another is mentioned betwen Licinius Dives and Mucius Scaevola, but I am not certain where I saw the reference. Not Livy, so maybe in Valerius Maximus.

Vale optime
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Re: Pontifex Maximus List

Postby Anonymous on Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:16 am

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:21 pm

Salvete

We forgot the first pontifex maximus Numa Marcius f. Marcus, appointed by Numa Pompilius. See Livy 1.20.
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:57 pm

I was watching an interview of a Roman Catholic prelate regarding the recent death of John Paul II, and the prelate made a reference to the Pope's title of pontifex maximus. He said that the original meaning of pontifex was "builder of bridges". On its face, this derivation seems possible and even likely, but there are plenty of false origins out there.

So, is it true? Does pontifex mean "bridge builder"? If so, why what that title ascribed to priests? A priest is one who builds bridges between man and the gods? Any speculation? Or even better, evidence?

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:14 pm

I wrote:If you want to know her explanation, I could look it up in the book at the university library. Or I could simply ask the author, as I will attend a lecture of her about the pontifices next month (that way, I'll have an intelligent question at hand already :wink: ).


I asked prof. Van Haeperen about the meaning of the word 'pontifex' today and she favours the theory that it would indeed be derived from 'pons' and 'facere' and that the meaning is 'a person who builds bridges with the realm of the gods', i.e. a mediator (especially through sacrifices) between the human world and the divine.

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Last edited by Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Wed May 11, 2005 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:35 pm

Wow! Thanks Attice. Please do ask the question if you get a chance. It is turning out to be more interesting than I thought.
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:01 pm

Primus Aurelius Tergestus wrote:Wow! Thanks Attice. Please do ask the question if you get a chance. It is turning out to be more interesting than I thought.


Indeed. Interesting things often hide in details :wink:
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Wed May 11, 2005 8:43 pm

I asked prof. Van Haeperen about the meaning of the word 'pontifex' today and she favours the theory that it would indeed be derived from 'pons' and 'facere' and that the meaning is 'a person who builds bridges with the realm of the gods', i.e. a mediator (especially through sacrifices) between the human world and the divine.

Vale,
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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Thu May 12, 2005 10:54 am

There is an intersting link with Chinese religion here.

In ancient times, the king was also the pontifex, if you will. And indeed, I follow Atticus' explanation about 'pons facere', because the Chinese character for king (which is an E with the vertical in the middle) expresses precisely that: the king, being the middle stroke, is the mediator between man and the Gods.
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Thu May 12, 2005 2:41 pm

Menci,

Can you explain why the character for stone, ball, and jade is the same symbol as that for king, but with a little scratch added below? I wondered about that when I was studying Japanese.

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Thu May 12, 2005 2:59 pm

Salvete iterum, mi Tergeste.

I can come up with the following. Jade in Chinese thought was and still is reputed to having magical potencies. It could prolong life if I recall correctly. Being the most sacred stone, it is plausible that it is the king of stones, sort of. Hence the character for king.

Second possible explanation is more likely. Jade was used in ancient China to adorn the king's regalia. In that way it was the king's stone, too. As for the reason why, my guess is that it has to do with the sacral-magical potency of the mineral, and that it as such was only ment for the highest religous authority... the King.

Hope this helps a bit. If I find time, I will look into jade a bit further, and should something else come up, I will let you know.

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