"Metellus Pius, pontifex maximus"

Marcus Aurelius as Pontifex Maximus, making sacrifice in front of the Temple of Jupiter
Creative Commons AttributionMarcus 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.