« A.U.C. 698 = 56 B.C. »

Cicero Ad Quintum 2.3 has two dates, prid. Id. Feb. and a.d. XV Kal. Mart., in this year. The letter was mostly written before Cicero went to an engagement but was evidently not finished then, and completed a few days later. It would not have been left uncompleted for a month. Hence there was no intercalary month, and A.U.C. 698 was a regular year of 355 days. The Julian dates of this year are fixed by the analysis discussed under A.U.C. 701 = 53.

An alternate analysis is presented by G. Radke, Fasti Romani 57. He argues that the consuls took the leading role every alternate month. The consuls for this year were Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and L. Marcius Phillipus. In Radke's view, Cicero, Epistolares ad Familiares 1.2.1 shows Lentulus as lead consul in Ianuarius while Cicero, Oratio de haruspicum 22 shows him as lead consul in Aprilis. Hence Radke argues that there must have been three months between Ianuarius and Aprilis this year, hence there was an Intercalaris. Accepting the premise for the sake of argument, however, the last passage is, to say the least, ambiguous, while Cicero, Ad Quintum 2.4 very explicitly shows Lentulus as taking the lead over Philippus in Martius -- which on Radke's own terms argues that there was in fact no Intercalaris.

The previous intercalary year was A.U.C. 696 = 58. Had this year been intercalary the next, A.U.C. 699 = 55, would have begun with a market day on Kal. Ian. The last time this had occurred was in A.U.C. 677 = 77, and Dio Cassius 40.47 and 48.33.4 note that this event was regarded as inauspicious and to be avoided. This explains why this year was not an intercalary year.


A potential synchronism exists for this year. R. K. Sherk, Romans and the Greek East to the Death of Augustus 77 no. 76, translates fragments of a marble slab found in Salona which record that envoys from Tragurion in Dalmatia met Caesar in Aquileia on a.d. V Non. Mart. A.U.C. 698 = [x] Artemitios in the calendar of Issa (modern Viš). Unfortunately the day is lost, which precludes any possibility of an exact match. Nevertheless, the equation to Artemitios could, in principle, allow us to determine directly the number of intercalations between A.U.C. 698 = 56. and A.U.C. 709 = 45. However, the Issan calendar is also unknown, as far as I can determine. Since, on other grounds, we can determine that there were only three (exclusive of the extraordinary 67 days intercalated in A.U.C. 708 = 46), we can, if we suppose that the Issan calendar was lunisolar, as was usual for Greek calendars, predict that Issan Artemisios should correspond to Athenian Anthesterion (c. February). On the reconstruction for the early Julian calendar argued here, we could then restore the missing date as [3] Artemitios.

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