The Pontifical Law: Religion and Religious Power in Ancient Rome

Michael Johnson
Format: Kindle Edition


  • Kindle Edition: 300 pages
  • Publisher: De Gruyter (December 31, 2020)
  • Language: English

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Of the four major priesthoods in ancient Rome, none wielded powers as extensive as the pontificate's; holders of this office not only oversaw all the ceremonies of the Roman state religion, but in supervising certain forms of adoption, inheritance, and burials, also exercised considerable power over many "private" areas of Roman religion and life. This thoroughly researched monograph fills the void in the literature on pontifical law by going beyond merely updating the scholarly understanding of the subject and instead introducing a new conceptual framework and analysis. This book treats the pontifical law as a concept fundamentally important to Roman religion and in that context examines how and why the pontiffs acted as they did, uncovering tenets of pontifical doctrine. The book offers a careful analysis of topics from evaluations of other modern works on pontiffs to the functions and prerogatives of the pontifical college; it concludes with an appendix of reproductions of each ancient passage containing explicit reference to the pontifical law.

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