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Wednesday, December 22, 2004 CE

Bridge maker, Pontifex maximus, Bishop of Rome, Pope

Thanks, Francesca, for your reply. I am posting my reply as a new posting. I love this subject as you can see.

In Spanish, we still call the pope "sumo pontifice", which comes directly from the Latin "pontifex maximus". That title was the one used by the maximum religious authority. Julius Caesar was elected pontifex maximus in 63 BCE. This could be argued was one of the first steps on Caesar's accumulation of power that reached its maximum when he was appointed Dictator in 44 BCE. At that moment he was "de facto" an Emperor because he had religious, political and judicial authority, far more authority than the Senate. Caesar was not friend of the Republic and that was probably the reason why he was killed. "Pontifex" comes from "pontem faciens" which means "bridge maker", probably referring as the one in charge of communicating with the gods.

In 382 CE, The emperor Gratian leaved the title of "pontifex maximus" to the bishop of Rome named Siricius. Since then, the "pontifex maximus" was the bishop of Rome and not the Roman emperor. In 610 CE the Eastern Roman emperor, Phocas, addressed the bishop of Rome (or pontifex maximus) Boniface IV as "pope" for the first time.


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