pontifex maximus

pontifex maximus (pŏnˈtĭfĕks măkˈsĭməs) [key], highest priest of Roman religion and official head of the college of pontifices. As the chief administrator of religious affairs he regulated the conduct of religious ceremonies, consecrated temples and other holy places, and controlled the calendar. During the time of the empire, and until Christianity became firmly established, the emperor was designated pontifex maximus. After the supremacy of Christianity, the popes assumed the title.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on pontifex maximus from Fact Monster:

  • Lepidus - Lepidus Lepidus , family of the ancient Roman patrician gens Aemilia. Marcus Aemilius Lepidus,. d. ...
  • Scaevola - Scaevola Scaevola (Quintus Mucius Scaevola), d. 82 B.C., Roman jurist. He was tribune of the people ...
  • Gratian, Roman emperor of the West - Gratian Gratian , 359–83, Roman emperor of the West (375–83). At the death of his ...
  • Flaccus - Flaccus Flaccus , family of the ancient Roman gens of Fulvius. Marcus Fulvius Flaccus,. a Roman ...
  • August—History of the Month's Origin - A history of the month's name

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient Religion