"Metellus Pius, pontifex maximus"
Marcus Aurelius as Pontifex Maximus, making sacrifice in front of the Temple of Jupiter - Credit: antmoose on Flickr
The pontifex maximus
was the head priest of the college of pontiffs, an important man in charge of all Roman religion and festivals. This was a very prestigious position that came with a certain amount of political influence. The position was held for life but was not a full time job; the pontifex maximus was not prohibited from seeking political office or serving in the military.