« A.U.C. 677 = 77 B.C. »

The fundamental datum for this year is given by Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.13.17, who gives the Lepidian tumult ("tumultus Lepidianus") as an example of the misfortune that would follow if a market day was allowed to fall on the first of the year. It follows that the year in which this event occurred had a nundinal letter of A. However, it is not entirely clear what year he is referring to.

I have found four possibilities suggested in the literature:

  1. A.U.C. 711 = 43. This year saw the proscriptions after the death of Caesar. However, while M. Aemilius Lepidus, the triumvir, played an important role in these events, he was hardly central. Further, on the reconstruction of the triennial cycle adopted here, this year had a nundinal letter of H rather than A.

  2. A.U.C. 702 = 52. Since the consuls had not been determined at the beginning of this year, owing to the conflict surrounding the death of Clodius, M. Aemilius Lepidus, the future triumvir, was appointed interrex to cover the interim, which meant he had to deal with these events. This year certainly had a nundinal letter of A. However, as Brind'Amour correctly remarks, the phrase suggests that Lepidus was the instigator of the tumult.
  3. A.U.C. 677 = 77. In this year, M. Aemilius Lepidus, cos. 78, led an insurrection against the Republic demanding a second consulate. A formal tumultus, i.e. state of emergency, was declared by the senate some time during these events. Sallust, Or. Phil., a speech concerning the declaration of the tumultus, includes a reference to Ap. Claudius as interrex, and to Lepidus' colleague Q. Lutatius Catulus as proconsul. This clearly shows that the tumultus was formally declared in this year.
  4. A.U.C. 676 = 78. Since Lepidus began his bid for power in this year (Plutarch, Pompey 16), whiile still consul, it has been suggested that the tumultus should be dated to this time, with the word being understood in an informal sense. However, the formal tumultus was certainly declared in the next year.

The third event is clearly the best match. Thus, it is held here that the nundinal letter for this year is A. This result is also accepted by P. Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain 79.

The distance from Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 677 = 77 to Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 688 = 66 is 11*355 + M*22 + N, where M is the total number of intercalary years and 0 <= N <= M is the number of 23-day leap years. Based on the analysis of A.U.C. 684 = 70, 2 <= M <= 9. Further, the average frequency of leap years in this period is every two years, as is shown by the synchronism for A.U.C. 668 = 86. Hence the realistic choices are M = 5 or 6. Hence the interval is:

Without regard to the inferred Lex Acilia, there are two possible solutions for A.U.C. 687 = 67, depending on whether a.d. XV Kal. Oct. 687 = 28 or 29 September 67.

If a.d. XV Kal. Oct. 687 = 29 September 67 (which is not possible on the inferred Lex Acilia), the nundinal letter for A.U.C. 688 = 66 is E. Therefore the distance from Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 688 = 66 to Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 677 = 77 is 4 mod 8 days.

If a.d. XV Kal. Oct. 687 = 28 September 67, (which is compatible with the inferred Lex Acilia) the nundinal letter for A.U.C. 688 = 66 is F. Therefore the distance from Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 688 = 66 to Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 677 = 77 is 3 mod 8 days.

This solution is not compatible with the inferred Lex Acilia.

The significant point here is that all possible solutions favour a large preponderance of 23-day intercalations: there was at most 1 22-day intercalation between this year and A.U.C. 687 = 67. This result is one of the key steps allowing us to infer the regulatory rules of the Lex Acilia.

We can in turn feed these rules back into the possible soution set to determine which candidates are viable. The only solution compatible with the inferred Lex Acilia is to suppose a.d. XV Kal. Oct. 687 = 28 September 67 and that there were 6 23-day intercalations between Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 677 and a.d. XV Kal. Oct. 687. This result fixes the Julian dates of A.U.C. 677-687 = 77-67 under the inferred Lex Acilia.

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