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Pontifex, Pontifices
(1,559 words)

[German version]

A. General

The pontifices were the most eminent college of priests in Rome. Their traditional founder was Numa Pompilius (Liv. 1,20,5-7). According to the accepted modern etymology (pont- = 'way', cf. Sanskrit pánthāh, 'path'), pontifex means 'path maker' [1]; some ancient etymologies, though wrong, more clearly illustrate Roman views: Q. Mucius [I 9] Scaevola, himself pontifex maximus, suggested an etymology from posse and facere: 'those who have the po…

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Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster), “Pontifex, Pontifices”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 22 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e1004290>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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