Priests and Politicians: rex sacrorum and flamen Dialis in the Middle Republic
As Cicero states in DE DOMO SUA, the politicians and chief priests in the Roman republic were essentially the same men, and politics and religion were fused at a fundamental level. In fact, the major priesthoods, the pontifices, augures, and (quin)decemviri, were often stepping stones for politicians pursuing high magisterial office. The offices of rex sacrorum (king of religious rites) and flamen Dialis (priest of Jupiter) constitute seeming anomalies to this principle. Their duties severely curtailed or prohibited outright the ability of these priests to hold political office. Consequently, ancient and modern scholars alike have portrayed these priesthoods as inherently unpopular, necessary for the maintenance of the pax deorum, yet shunned by aristocratic elites who saw a steady progression along the ladder of magistracies as the only desirable career path.
History, Philosophy and Political Science
Goldberg, Charles, "Priests and Politicians: rex sacrorum and flamen Dialis in the Middle Republic" (2015). History Faculty Publications. 3.