[Chapter 2, note 22, of the author's Carlyle and the Search for Authority, which the Ohio State University Press published in 1991. It appears in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright. indicates a link to material not in the original print version. GPL]

As C. F. Harrold notes, Carlyle alludes to the etymological derivation of pontiff from the Latin "pons + facere, bridge builder, originally applied to Roman Magistrates whose sacred function it was to superintend the building and demolition of bridges." The word was later "applied to priests at Rome, then to the Pope" (SR, 79n5). The theme of the bridge as medium connecting the natural and supernatural worlds also occurs in Tieck's "The Elves," a work Carlyle translated for German Romance (see Cabau, 120-21, 168-73).


Contents last modified 5 October 2001