About the Collegium Pontificum Today
The Roman Republic strives to reestablish a modern Collegium Pontificum. However, we recognize that there is a deficit in trained cultores (followers of the ancient Roman religion) at the present. We believe that the reverence of the ancient body can only be restored today by assembling leading figures of the modern Cultus Deorum Romanorum into this future council. Therefore, the Roman Republic at the present has postponed restoring the Collegium Pontificum. The current supervision of the sacra publica (public aspects) of the Cultus Deorum within the Roman Republic is currently and temporarily maintained by the Comitia Curiata (board of directors).
In order to restore the Collegium Pontificum the Roman Republic recognizes that education relevant to the Cultus Deorum Romanorum needs to be promoted, leadership developed and associated skills fostered. Towards this ends, the Roman Republic is working with the Academia Minervalis to develop a training program for cultores who are interested in becoming sacerdos, flamen, or pontifex.
About the Collegium Pontificum in Antiquity
The Collegium Pontificum was a governing body of the highest-ranking priests of the state religion. The college consisted of the Pontifex Maximus, other pontifices, the Rex Sacrorum, the fifteen flamens, and the Vestals. Their responsibility was primarily focused on supervising and organizing the sacra public (public ceremonies).
The Pontifex Maximus was the chair and most important member of the college. Until 104 BCE, the Pontifex Maximus held the sole power in appointing members to the other priesthoods in the college. Later this role switched to elected bodies.
The flamens were priests in charge of fifteen official cults of Roman religion, each assigned to a particular god. The three major flamens (flamines maiores) were the Flamen Dialis, the high priest of Jupiter; the Flamen Martialis, who cultivated Mars; and the Flamen Quirinalis, devoted to Quirinus. The deities cultivated by the twelve flamines minores were Carmenta, Ceres, Falacer, Flora, Furrina, Palatua, Pomona, Portunus, Volcanus (Vulcan), Volturnus, and two whose names are lost.
The Vestal Virgins were the only female members of the college. They were in charge of guarding Rome’s sacred hearth, keeping the flame burning inside the Temple of Vesta.