Kaiser Gratian – letzter Träger von Amt und Titel eines pontifex maximus in der Geschichte des antiken Rom

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

„Emperor Gratian – last holder of office and title of a pontifex maximus in the history of ancient Rome“ – Gratian is the last Christian emperor of antiquity, which is attested by inscriptions and literary texts directly and indirectly as the holder of the title and office of a pagan pontifex maximus and thus as the religious leader of all cults in the Empire, including the Christian Church. Did he formally resign from office? If so, when, under what circumstances and for what reasons could this have happened? The sources say that probably since 383/84 the Christian followers of Gratian are still called pontifices, but that in place of pontifex maximus the title pontifex inclitus has been set. This modification not only signifies a terminological change, but also a redefinition of the content of the position of the Christian emperor on the church. In practice, this has had an impact on the conflicts of Ambrose of Milan with the emperors Valentinian II and Theodosius I. A much-discussed source at the end of the title pontifex maximus is the problematic account of the pagan historian Zosimos. It turns out that it has no value as a historical source for Gratian’s dealings with the office of pontifex maximus. In an addendum the question is raised whether and since when Christian bishops were called pontifices or pontifices maximi. A monopolization of the title by the bishops of Rome has only been documented since about 1400.

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