List of Pontifices Maximi
Flamen (250–260 CE)
Pontifices · Augures · Septemviri epulonum
Quindecimviri sacris faciundis
Fetiales · Fratres Arvales · Salii
Titii · Luperci · Sodales Augustales
Pontifex Maximus · Rex Sacrorum
Flamen Dialis · Flamen Martialis
Rex Nemorensis · Curio maximus
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
The Pontifex Maximus was chief priest of the Collegium Pontificum ("College of Pontiffs") in ancient Roman religion. The names of Pontifices Maximi for the Roman Republic are listed below as known. The last Pontifex Maximus of the Republican era was Lepidus, the triumvir. Upon his death, Augustus acquired the office, consolidating an additional source of power and authority for the princeps. In the Imperial era, it was customary for the emperor to serve as Pontifex Maximus.
Pontifices maximi of the Roman Kingdom
Pontifices maximi of the Roman Republic
The Pontifex Maximus held his office for life, but the date of death is not known for every man who held the office, and the name of the Pontifex is not recorded for every period. Unless otherwise noted, dates and citations of primary sources are from T.R.S. Broughton's three-volume The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1951, 1986).
- 509 BC: Gaius Papirius
- 449: either Quintus Furius or Marcus Papirius
- 431: Aulus Cornelius Cossus, usually identified with the famous general of this era who was consul in 428
- 420: Spurius Minucius
- 390: Marcus Foslius, possibly the M. Foslius Flaccinator who was consular tribune in 433
- 332: Publius Cornelius Calussa
- 304: Cornelius (Scipio) Barbatus, possibly the Publius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus who was consul in 328, or if his praenomen was Gnaeus, the father of the consul of 298
- ca. 254–243: Tiberius Coruncanius, first plebeian to become Pontifex Maximus, and first Roman jurist and professor of law; consul in 280 BC
- ca. 243–221: Lucius Caecilius Metellus (d. 221), credited with saving the Palladium when the Temple of Vesta was on fire; removed from office or resigned around 237
- 221–213: Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Caudinus (d. 213)
- 212–183: Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (d. 183)
- 183–180: Gaius Servilius Geminus (d. 180)
- 180–152: Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (d. 152)
- 152–150: vacant
- 150–141: Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum (d. 141)
- 141–132: Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio (d. 132), probably succeeded his father and elected in absentia; first Pontifex to leave Italy (as compelled by the senate to escape a plot against his life), and the first to die outside Italy
- 132–130: Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus (killed in battle 131 BC, Asia Minor), first Pontifex to leave Italy by choice, and the first to die in battle
- 130–late 114: Publius Mucius Scaevola succeeding his brother, and last Pontifex Maximus to publish the Annales Maximi
- by December 114–103: Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus, with start date determined by his presiding as Pontifex Maximus over a Vestal trial
- 103–ca. 89: Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (d. 88)
- ca. 89–82: Quintus Mucius Scaevola (d. 82), first Pontifex to be openly murdered (in the Temple of Vesta, with his body thrown into the Tiber)
- 82–63: Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius (d. ca 63 BC)
- 63–44: Julius Caesar, elected over two higher-ranking candidates for the office, Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus
- 44–13: Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (died 13 BC)
Pontifices Maximi of the Roman Empire
On 6 March 12 BC, Augustus became Pontifex Maximus, following the death of Lepidus. Thereafter, it became customary for the emperor to hold the post. Constantine (reigned 306–337) is known as the first emperor to convert to Christianity, but Gratian (375–383) is recorded as the first emperor to decline the office of Pontifex Maximus of the traditional state religion. From some indeterminate later date to the present, the title "Pontifex Maximus" has been held by the Pope.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus 3.36.4; T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1951, 1986), vol. 1, p. 4.
- Livy 3.54.5.
- Asconius 77C; Broughton, MRR1, p. 49.
- Livy 4.27.1; Broughton, MRR1, p. 64.
- Plutarch, "On Putting One's Enemies to Use 6 (see also Livy 4.44.11–12); Broughton, MRR1, p. 71
- Livy 5.41.3; Plutarch, Camillus 21.3 (as Fabius); Broughton, MRR1, p. 96; Jörg Rüpke, Fasti sacerdotum (Franz Steiner, 2005), p. 1000.
- Livy 25.5.4; Broughton, MRR1, p. 142.
- Livy 9.46.6; Broughton, MRR1, p. 168.
- Broughton, MRR1, pp. 210 and 218, attested widely in works by Cicero and other sources.
- Livy, Periochae 19; Valerius Maximus 8.13.2; Broughton, MRR1, pp. 218 and 234.
- Livy 22.10.1; Broughton, MRR1, p. 234.
- Livy 25.5.2–4 and 39.46.1; Broughton, MRR1, pp. 271, 381.
- Livy 39.46.1 and 40.42.6 and 11–12; Broughton, MRR1, pp. 381, 390.
- Livy 40.42.6 and 11–12, Periochae 48; Broughton, MRR1, p. 390.
- Cicero, De senectute 50, De natura deorum 3.5, De oratore 3.134; Broughton, MRR1, pp. 390, 457.
- Broughton, MRR1, pp. 478–479, 499, citing multiple testimonia.
- Broughton, MRR1, pp. 499, 503.
- Broughton, MRR1, pp. 503, 532.
- Asconius 45–46C; Broughton, MRR1, pp. 532, 534.
- Broughton, MRR1, pp. 564–564; MRR2 (1952), p. 37.
- Broughton, MRR2, pp. 37, 73.
- Broughton, MRR2, pp. 73, 171, 172 (note 3).
- Broughton, MRR2, pp. 171, 172 (note 3), 333.
- Velleius Paterculus, 2.43; Plutarch, Caesar 7; Suetonius, Divus Julius 13.
- Broughton, MRR2, p. 333.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Gratian
- Bowersock, G. W. (1990). "The Pontificate of Augustus", in Kurt A. Raaflaub and Mark Toher (eds.): Between Republic and Empire: Interpretations of Augustus and his Principate. Berkeley: University of California Press, 380–394. ISBN 0-520-08447-0.