« A.U.C. 694 = 60 B.C. »

Cicero, Ad Atticum 1.20.1, tells us that he received a letter from Atticus, sent from Epirus to Rome on Id. Feb., on a.d. IV Id. Mai. A.U.C. 694. If there was no intercalation, the post took 87 days; with intercalation it took 109 or 110 days. Brind'Amour argues that the shorter period is more consistent with postal delays in this period, and hence that A.U.C. 694 = 60 was a regular year of 355 days.

I find this argument completely unconvincing. First, long postal delays are not unexampled. Cicero, Ad Atticum 5.21.4, describes receiving on a.d. III Id. Feb. a letter that was sent to him on a.d. X Kal. Oct, nearly 5 months before. Second, news could travel very much more quickly than this. Cicero, Ad Atticum 3.23.1, records receiving in Dyrrachium, the port of Epirus, on a.d. V Kal. Dec. A.U.C. 704 = 50 three letters sent by Atticus from Rome; according to Cicero, Ad Atticum 3.23.5, the latest of these was dated prid. Id. Nov., only 14 days earlier. Finally, Cicero received the letter in question on his return from a trip to Pompeii. We do not know when he left Rome for Pompeii -- the previous letter to Atticus is dated Id. Mart., nearly two months earlier -- so we do not know how long the letter was waiting for him in Rome. Thus I do not agree that there is any direct evidence of value for this year.

The length of this year cannot yet be determined directly. On the reconstructed Lex Acilia proposed here, A.U.C. it was a regular year since there were only three intercalations between A.U.C. 687 = 67 and A.U.C. 697 = 57, including A.U.C. 696 = 58.

Website © Chris Bennett, 2001-2011 -- All rights reserved