Uniform TitleThe pontifical law of the Roman republic
NameJohnson, Michael Joseph (author), Brennan, T. (chair), Figueira, Thomas (internal member), Takacs, Sarolta (internal member), Linderski, Jerzy (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis dissertation investigates the guiding principle of arguably the most important religious authority in ancient Rome, the pontifical college. Chapter One introduces the subject and discusses the hypothesis the dissertation will advance. Chapter Two examines the place of the college within Roman law and religion, giving particular attention to disproving several widely held notions about the relationship of the pontifical law to the civil and sacral law.
Chapter Three offers the first detailed examination of the duties of the pontifical college as a collective body. I spend the bulk of the chapter analyzing two of the three collegiate duties I identify: the issuing of documents known as decrees and responses and the supervision of the Vestal Virgins. I analyze all decrees and responses from the point of view their content, treating first those that concern dedications, then those on the calendar, and finally those on vows. In doing so my goal is to understand the reasoning behind the decree and the major theological doctrines underpinning it. In documenting the pontifical supervision of Vestal Virgins I focus on the college's actions towards a Vestal accused of losing her chastity. I first reconstruct a typical trial from suspicion to condemnation. In doing so, one of my more important conclusions is that, pace Mommsen, the pontifex maximus did not possess the power to condemn a Vestal on his own without consulting his colleagues. After this I turn to a detailed analysis of the two decrees issued in connection with these trials. Most important is my contention that it was not so much the Vestal's lost chastity as her performance while unchaste of certain religious rites that gravely jeopardized the pax deorum, Rome's relationship with its gods.
Chapter Four contains a summary of my findings and outlines future directions for fruitful research on the pontiffs and pontifical law. The work ends with an appendix in which I reproduce and translate all known passages in Latin that refer to the pontifical law. This appendix should be a useful and convenient reference tool for other scholars working on the pontiffs and pontifical law.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 342-356).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.