« A.U.C. 564 = 190 B.C. »
The solar eclipse of 14 March 190 and the siege of Samë
An exact astronomical synchronism is given by Livy 37.4.4 which describes a total solar eclipse at Rome during the games of Apollo, on a.d. V Id. Quint. AUC. 564 = 14 March 190. This synchronism is now universally accepted, but it was not always so.
K. J. Beloch, Klio 15 (1918) 382 at 409ff. argued against this synchronism based on two inscriptions from Delphi.
SIG3 612 is a letter from the praetor Sp. Postumius written after an audience with three Delphian ambassadors concerning privileges conferred on Delphi by the senate. This was followed on the same stele by the text of a senatus consultum dated a.d. IV Non. Mai. describing a set of privileges granted to the city. This is apparently the decree referred to in Postumius' letter.
SIG3 611 is a letter from a Roman consul, whose name is lost, which refers to the same embassy. According to the inscription, the ambassadors were killed on the return journey before they reached home. SIG 611 is a response to a followup embassy sent by the Delphians, and reports that this embassy was given a copy of the response which had been given to its predecessor. Also, the Roman general M. Fulvius Nobilior was instructed to seek out and punish those responsible for the deaths of the first set of ambassadors "when we have the business at Samë under control". This evidently refers to the siege of Samë described by Livy 38.28 and Livy 38.29, which lasted for four months. The name of the consul is in a lacuna, but must be one of the consuls of A.U.C. 566 = 188, since it refers to Fulvius, cos. 189, as a commanding general rather than as a consul, which is how Livy describes him at the start of the siege. Based on the length of the lacuna, the consul's name is restored as C. Livius, rather than his colleague M. Valerius.
Beloch argued that the minimum possible delay between the letters of Postumius and Livius must be 1-2 months. Since Postumius apparently wrote to the Delphians shortly after a.d. IV Non. Mai., it follows that Samë cannot have fallen before late Iun. A.U.C. 566, around three months into Livius' consulate. Since Fulvius was consul at the start of the siege, Samë also can't have fallen much later than about Id. Quint. Thus, the siege must have started in Intercalaris or early Martius A.U.C. 565.
After setting the siege in place, Fulvius had gone to the Peloponessus to settle a dispute between the Achaians and the Spartans (Livy 38.30) and then returned to Rome to conduct the elections for A.U.C. 566 (Livy 38.35). After the elections he returned to take command of the army in Greece. Hence, Beloch argued, in view of these events, the siege must have started no later than mid summer, around July. Hence he derives the equation that Mart. A.U.C. 566 = c. August 189.
But, on any chronology derived from the eclipse equation a.d. V Id. Quint. AUC. 564 = 14 March 190, Mart. A.U.C. 566 = c. Nov/Dec. 189. Hence, Beloch argued, this contemporary data, when coupled with Livy, shows that Livy's eclipse synchronism is invalid.
This analysis was countered by M. Holleaux, BCH 54 (1930) 1. Holleaux noted that Sp. Postumius was elected praetor at the end of A.U.C. 564 (Livy 37.47). Hence, if the senatus consultum of SIG 612 was that mentioned by Postumius, it must, at the latest, be dated to a.d. IV Non. Mai. A.U.C. 565 and therefore cannot be used to estimate the dates of events in A.U.C. 566. Further, an additional fragment of the senatus consultum of SIG 612 published after Beloch's article showed that the presiding officer was a certain "Octavius". There is no consul or praetor recorded by Livy with this name, who gives complete records, in the entire period A.U.C. 565-587. Holleaux concludes that the decree must be at least 20 years later than A.U.C. 565, and that the inscription it comes from was simply recording a chronological series of Roman decrees related to Delphi. However, SIG 611 does prove that the siege of Samë was ongoing after peace had been concluded with the Aetolians.
Holleaux then proceeded to examine Livy's and Polybius' internal chronology. Polybius 21.26.4 shows that the departure of Fulvius from Apollonia was after the start of summer, i.e., in his view, no earlier than the end of April or early May 189. He argues that the march to Ambracia, the siege of Ambracia, the negotiation between the Ambracians and the Aetolians, must have taken at least two months, hence not before the end of June. A war against the Galatians began and ended while the Aetolian war continued (Polybius 21.33) and that war was concluded in the autumn (Livy 38.27). One of the Aetolian envoys for negotiating peace was Nikandros (Polybius 21.30.15), who had been strategos that year. The key point is that the term of the strategos ended with the autumn equinox. Hence the Aetolian peace was concluded some time after September. Holleaux supposed that the siege of Samë only began after peace was concluded, i.e. some time around the beginning of October 189, and concluded four months later, roughly the end of January 188. He argued that this is consistent with Livy's account of the resumption of Achaian actions against Sparta "at the beginning of spring" (Livy 38.33). Hence Fulvius must have left for Rome to conduct the elections during the siege, some time in October or November 189, which is exactly what we would expect for Intercalaris A.U.C. 565 in a Roman civil year based on the eclipse equation a.d. V Id. Quint. AUC. 564 = 14 March 190.
V. M. Warrior, Chiron 18 (1988) 330, has reexamined this analysis and proposed a refined chronology that would have the siege of Samë starting in mid-late September 189. Similarly, Livy's account of Aetolian events in the preceding months (Livy 38.3) allows us to move Fulvius' departure from Apollonia back to March. However, none of these arguments affect the basic consistency that Holleaux established between the seasonal chronology of Polybius and Livy and the Roman civil chronology applied by the eclipse equation.
The Crossing of the Hellespont and the Salian Dances of P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus
Turning to the end of the year, Polybius 21.13.10 provides data which is used by several scholars, most recently V. M. Warrior, Chiron 18 (1988) 330, to determine its length. Polybius notes that the Roman army was stuck for 30 days en route to fighting Antiochus III after crossing the Hellespont, because P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus, advisor to the commander, his brother the consul L. Cornelius Scipio (Asiagenus), was forbidden to move for 30 days in order to conduct his duties as a Salian priest, and therefore could not cross the Hellespont with the army. (Livy 37.33 is vaguer, but does suggest that the time was more than a few days.) The battle of Magnesia followed a few weeks after the resumption of movement, and the march to Magnesia is described as occurring before the onset of winter.
Priestly activities of the Salii are known to have occurred from the Regifugium (a.d. VI Mart.) to the Tubilustrium (a.d. X Kal. Apr.), from a passage of Festus and the Fasti Praenestini, thus covering a period of 28 days. These dates are consistent with the Scipios' movements as given by Polybius and Livy, and so approximately limit the civil dates of the military immobility. Warrior argues that this data shows that the year was not intercalary. She points out that if A.U.C 564 = 190 was not intercalary, the Regifugium fell on 29 (recte 20) October 190, so the march would have resumed on 27 (recte 18) November 190, i.e. before the onset of winter, but if A.U.C 564 = 190 was intercalary, the Regifugium fell on 20 or 21 (recte 11) November 190, so the march would have resumed on 19 or 20 (recte 10) December 190, i.e. about the time of the onset of winter. Therefore the year was not intercalary.
Even though, as noted, Warrior's date calculations are in error by 9 days, this error is not substantive in the context. J. Briscoe, A Commentary on Livy Books XXXIV-XXXVII 338, argues that the delay was for the month of Martius, citing I.I. XIII.2.417 to show that the first of the sacred Salian dances was actually held on Kal. Mart. With no intercalation, this corresponds to 25 October-24 November 190. While I think Warrior is right on this point, because Briscoe adduces no evidence to show that the Salians were immobile after the Tubilustrium, again the difference does not substantively affect the chronological argument. In fact Briscoe also supposes that A.U.C 564 = 190 is regular.
However, M. Passehl, in two postings to the Yahoo Romanfederation group on 3 and 12 November 2007 and in pers. comm., points out a number of problems with this apparently convincing analysis, which he proposes to resolve by relocating the Salian dances to a later point in Livy's account: the period when Africanus was delayed in Elaea, supposedly due to illness (Livy 37.37).
At bottom, Warrior's argument is that Magnesia was fought around the beginning of winter, and that dating the Hellespont delay to Martius means that a regular year must be assumed to do this. The text stresses the commanders' concerns about the onset of winter:
- Eumenes planned to take the Pergamene fleet into winter quarters once he had transported the Roman army across the Hellespont (Livy 37.37)
- On the eve of the battle, L. Scipio expressed concern that winter was "closing in" (Livy 37.39).
- The army was dispersed to winter quarters as soon as it was clear that Antiochus' ambassadors would accept Scipio's terms (Livy 37.47)
We may account the time taken from crossing the Hellespont to the battle of Magnesia as follows:
Abydos to Ilium: 2 days (inferred from naming intermediate towns of Dardanus and Rhoetum and the sacrifice at Ilium (Livy 37.37))
- Ilium to the Caicus: 6 days (Livy 37.37, explicit)
- Delay at the Caicus: unspecified -- 5 days?
- Caicus to the Hyrcanian plain: 5 days (Livy 37.38, explicit)
- Hyrcanian plain to the Phrygius: 1 day? (Livy 37.38, unspecified)
- Manoeuvres leading to battle: 10 days (Livy 37.38 + 37.39)
I.e. around 30 days after the march resumed (Warrior estimates 30, Passehl 32).
On Warrior's chronology this places the battle in mid December 190. An intercalary month would push the battle into January 189, a date accepted by P. Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain 145ff. But both dates are ordinarily considered to fall well into winter.
Conventionally (L. Pedech, La méthode historique de Polybe, 462), winter began around the setting of the Pleiades (cf. Polybius 3.54.1), i.e. c. 7. November -- around the time of the crossing of the Hellespont, on Warrior's chronology (and three weeks ahead of it if there had been an intercalation). One might well expect a fleet to enter winter quarters ahead of the army. Advancing events by a month, as Passehl proposes, makes for a much better seasonal alignment.
In practice, the current state of the weather would also affect events. Warrior's chronology could be consistent with a mild or late-arriving winter. Three items might be cited in favour of this:
The Seleucid commander Polyxenidas, a Rhodian renegade, evacuated the fleet from Ephesus, apparently only a few days after the battle, and sailed to Patara in Lycia, whence he proceeded to Syria by land because of his concerns about a Rhodian squadron stationed in the island of Megiste (Livy 37.45).
Shortly after the battle, embassies were despatched to Rome, arriving there shortly after news of the victory arrived, which was in turn shortly after the provinces had been allocated for the following consular year (Livy 37.45 and Livy 37.52).
A side issue: Polybius 21.17.11 agrees with Livy that the embassies left for Rome shortly after the battle, but Polybius 21.18 says that they arrived at the beginning of the following "summer". Conventionally (L. Pedech, La méthode historique de Polybe, 461) Polybius' summer is understood to begin around the heliacal rising of the Pleiades (Polybius 4.37.3), in mid May, and this interpretation is followed by F. W. Walbank, Commentary on Polybius III 111. But this would place the allocation of provinces in Sextilis or September A.U.C. 565, which is impossibly late. It would also either impose a delay of several months in the departure of the embassies from Ephesus or require that they, along with the Scipio's lieutenant M. Aurelius Cotta (who brought back the official report of the battle) wintered somewhere en route.
Passehl proposes to reconcile the accounts by arguing that Livy's phrase ("haud multo posto") for the time between the arrival of the news of victory and the arrival of the embassies could be as long as six weeks, so that, by assuming maximal delays for all events involved, they could have arrived as late as Sextilis. This seems a stretch to me.
Alternately Polybius can be reconciled with Livy by supposing that he was here using a Roman source, and that he interpreted the Roman date according to their seasonal alignment of his own time. By the 140s, the Roman calendar had effectively recovered its ordinary seasonal alignment.
In other words, the seas were still open after the battle, on Warrior's chronology suggesting a mild or late-arriving winter. He also notes that there are accounts of other voyages showing that even mid-winter journeys would be undertaken if necessary. Indeed, the account of Aetolian embassies to Rhodes and Rome after hearing the report of Magnesia and the arrival of Fulvius' army (Livy 38.3) shows that such voyages were undertaken in this year.
After hearing that the army had crossed the Hellespont, Antiochus sent an envoy Herakleides to negotiate with the Romans. Herakleides arrived before Africanus and had to wait a few days for him to arrive (Polybius 21.14.1). Passehl conservatively estimates the turnaround time from the day of the crossing to be as follows:
News to reach Sardis: 5 days
- Deciding how to proceed in Sardis: 3 days
- Herakleides to reach the Roman camp: 8 days
I.e. about 16 days, with Africanus arriving a few days -- say, 3 or 4 days -- later. Hence Passehl doubts that Polybius' 30 day figure can be correct.
Since Polybius 21.13.13 says that Africanus' immobilisation started just as the army was about to cross, we cannot suppose that the army had set off for the crossing leaving Scipio behind some days earlier, e.g. in Lysimachaeia, unless we do not take this literally. But in any case, such a scenario means that he has to spend a few days catching up after the Tubilustrium. While he could undoubtedly move faster with a small group than with the entire army, its unlikely that we can take off as much as 10 days.
Livy 37.47 records that the news of the crossing of the Hellespont reached Rome before the consular elections, and the other consul C. Laelius, who had returned from (Cisalpine) Gaul to preside over them, was directed to hold a sacrifice to give thanksgiving for the news. This must have occurred on or before the last day of Laelius' term, i.e. pr. Id. Mart A.U.C. 564 = 7 (or 29/30) November 190.
Since the army itself was not delayed in the crossing (Livy 37.33), the maximum amount of time available to get the news from the Hellespont to Rome, given the above analysis, is the interval from the Regifugium (20 October or 11/12 November 190) to pr. Id. Mart. (= 7 or 29/30 November) = 19 days, inclusive. On Livy's account, the news went via the praetor L. Aemilius Regillus, who was with the fleet at Chios or Phocaea on the Ionian coast (Livy 37.31), where he subsequently entered winter quarters (Livy 37.32).
The likelihood that this occurred can be assessed by comparing it to other data given for the time taken for news of important events to each Rome. Most directly, Livy 45.1 records that the news of the victory at Pydna in A.U.C. 586 = 168, fought in June, took 13 days to reach Rome, delivered by a herald travelling at "utmost speed". The regular despatch did not arrive until 7 days later (Livy 45.2), i.e. a normal delay from central Greece to Rome in early summer was about 20 days. In the current case, the news was far less critical, had to travel much further, across the Aegean, purportedly via Phocaea, in late autumn or early winter. Hence Passehl holds that there is insufficient time to get the news from the Hellespont to Rome by the end of the year, and that a little over 30 days are needed, whence it follows that the crossing of the Hellespont must have occurred well before the date implied by Polybius.
J. Briscoe, A Commentary on Livy Books XXXIV-XXXVII 29, notes the same problem. He simply dismisses Livy's account, saying that it "cannot be accepted since the army did not cross until the end of the consular year."
V. M. Warrior, Chiron 18 (1988) 330 at 334, who does not notice the basis of Briscoe's objection, suggested that Livy had conflated the arrivals of the news of the crossing of the Hellespont with that of the news of the naval victory at Myonessus, fought a few weeks earlier, and hence the dates of the thanksgiving sacrifices for each event and their presiding celebrant(s), because of the way they were described in his annalistic source. While Warrior herself believes that there is sufficient time for news of the Hellespont crossing to have reached Rome in this year, she does not attempt to demonstrate this. If one accepts that there was not sufficient time, the implication is that the thanksgiving for the crossing of the Hellespont had actually taken place in the following consular year, but was still conflated with the thanksgiving for Myonessos in Livy's acount.
Against this, Passehl argued that the thanksgiving and sacrifice for both events were official public acts, and that their dates would therefore have been available as a matter of public record to Livy's sources. He concludes that the news must have arrived in Rome before the end of the year.
There is an additional complication: Livy 37.47 does not give the dates of the elections for A.U.C. 565 = 189, but they were undoubtedly held after the end of the previous year, since the first winner, M. Fulvius Nobilior, presided over the selection of his colleague the following day. He could only have done this after having taken office himself, i.e. on or after Id. Mart A.U.C. 565 = 189.
Mommsen appears to have noticed the chronological implication of this, but recent classical scholars have not. J. Briscoe, A Commentary on Livy Books XXXIV-XXXVII 365, supposes the date was precisely Id. Mart., but Passehl correctly points out that pr. Id. Mart. is not a comitial day, so elections could not have been held that day: the last comitial day before Id. Mart. is a.d. IV Id. Mart. Hence the election must have been held after Id. Mart., and must have been presided over by an interrex, as Mommsen supposed. (The other possible mechanism, appointment of a dictator comitiorum habendorum causa, can be ruled out since we are explicitly told that no dictators were appointed between 202 and 81 (Plutarch, Sulla 33.1; Vellius Paterculus 2.28.)) Since each interrex ruled for 5 days and elections could not be held before the second interregnal period, the earliest possible date that Fulvius could have been elected is a.d. XIII Kal. Apr, assuming office the following day, only two days before the Tubilustrium on a.d. X Kal. Apr. It is possible that the elections were delayed yet further.
This reinforces Warrior's view that Livy's account of the events of the end of this year are compressed, which she inferred from his apparent report that the news of the victory at Myonessus reached Rome at the same time as the news of the crossing of the Hellespont. It may also open up additional time for a thanksgiving sacrifice to have been held before the start of the next consulate. Accepting both Polybius' chronology and Passehl's estimate of c. 30-35 days for the sake of argument, the news of the Hellespont crossing would have reached Rome in the third, or possibly even at the end of the second, interregnal interval -- after the start of the next year, but quite possibly before the consuls of that year had been chosen. However, Laelius could not then have presided over the thanksgiving sacrifices for the Hellespont crossing, since his consulate had ended. One would be forced to suppose that the point was a fine detail lost in the compression of events by Livy or his source.
A related question is the date of the battle of Myonessus, since the interval between the arrival of the reports of the two events in Rome should approximate, within a few days, the time between them. Before Myonessos there is insufficient data for us to estimate the time taken for events by dead reckoning. However, from this point forward it becomes possible to do so, with some margin for error. Between Myonnesos and the crossing of the Hellespont, we are told that the following events occurred (Livy 37.31 and 37.33), for which we may estimate minimal times:
News of the defeat reaches Antiochus, then besieging Colophon, nearby (1 day)
- The Seleucid garrison at Lysimachea in Thrace is sent orders to evacuate (c. 7 days)
- Lysimchea is evacuated, leaving siege supplies behind (c. 2 days)
- L. Scipio learns of the evacuation of Lysimachea after passing Aenus and Maronea (c. 3 days)
- Scipio marches to and occupies Lysimachea (c. 5 days)
- Scipio waits for "some days" to gather baggage and stragglers (c. 5-10 days)
- Scipio marches to the Hellespont and crosses on boats supplied by Eumenes king of Pergamum (c. 5 days)
I.e. the time taken between Myonessos and the Hellespont crossing should be around a month.
It is likely, though not certain, that the calendar date of Myonessus is known. The Temple of the Lares Permarini, which L. Aemilius Regillus vowed to build during the battle (Livy, 40.52) was dedicated on a.d. X Kal. Ian. (Fasti Antiates Maiores) or a.d. XI Kal. Ian. (Macrobius, Saturnalia I.10.10). While the inscription quoted by Livy does not explicitly state that the temple was dedicated on the anniversary of the battle (e.g. J. Briscoe, JRS 76 (1986) 289 at 290, doubts it), this seems the most likely reason for the choice of date. If so, Myonessus is dated to a.d. XI/X Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 564 = 19/20 August 190, and the news would have reached Rome about a month later, in mid-late Ianuarius A.U.C. 564 = mid-late September 190. On this basis, the Hellespont should have been crossed at about the same time, with the news reaching Rome in late Februarius A.U.C. 564 = late October 190. This is well in line with Passehl's reasoning.
As noted above, Livy's account suggests that the thanksgiving sacrifices were held close together (the English translation assumes consecutive days). This is not impossible. Since the thanksgiving sacrifices for Myonessos were certainly held by Laelius, it seems that they were delayed until his return to Rome for the elections, which could well have been in mid-late Februarius A.U.C. 564 = mid-late October 190. On Passehl's reasoning, this would be about the time the news of the Hellespont crossing arrived. In my opinion, this is probably the simplest explanation of the apparent compression of events.
If the army did not leave the Hellespont till a.d. IX Kal. Apr. A.U.C. 565, then the whole of the action in Asia Minor from that point until the battle of Magnesia took place after the end of the consular year -- and the battle of Magnesia was fought well after the end of L. Cornelius Scipio's consulate. But Livy, who is normally punctilious about such matters, consistently calls him "consul" until he takes his troops into winter quarters, some time after the battle (Livy 37.44). In describing his triumph (Livy 37.59), he explicitly notes that it took place almost a year after the end of his consulate. Passehl argues that the fact that he was consul at the time the battle was fought shows that it was fought within A.U.C. 564, or at worst very shortly after its end.
The only way I can see around this is to note that Livy's principal source is most likely Polybius, whose description of the Anatolian march and of the battle is lost, to argue that Polybius was less sensitive to Roman constitutional niceties than Livy was, and that Livy had relaxed his guard.
Against this, Passehl notes that Livy 37.48 cites the Roman annalist Valerius Antias as authority for the rumour that Aetolian envoys with "the consul" (i.e. L. Scipio) reported that the Scipiones had been taken captive by Antiochus, showing that Roman sources also considered Scipio was still consul during the Anatolian campaign. Though Antias' account is not given as a quotation, only as a report, the point seems fair.
Another synchronism is given by the record of Aetolian events. The Aetolian strategos was appointed annually after the autumn equinox (Polybius 4.37.2), i.e. in late September. In this year, shortly after the election of the strategos Nicander in late September 190 = late Februarius A.U.C. 564, the exiled Athamanian king Amynander recovered his kingdom from Philip V of Macedon in a coup de main launched with Aetolian support (Livy 38.1). Philip moved aggressively to restore Macedonian control, reaching Athamania with forced marches (Livy 38.2), but was rapidly defeated by the Aetolians. Having secured his kingdom, Amynander then immediately sent embassies to Rome and to the Scipios; the latter found them in Ephesus, i.e. after the battle of Magnesia (Livy 38.3). In the meantime, the Aetolians invaded the Thessalian territory of Dolopia, under Macedonian control. Shortly after they returned to Aitolia, they heard the news of Magnesia. The Dolopian invasion was known in Rome while an Aetolian embassy was addressing the senate, between the election of the consuls and the allocation of provinces (Livy 37.49); the news of Magnesia did not arrive till some time later (Livy 37.52).
J. Grainger, The League of the Aitolians 483f, supposes that the invasions of Athamania and Dolopia followed the news that the embassy to Rome had failed to negotiate an extension of the truce. He reasonably dates the arrival of this news in Aetolia in mid-December 190, and consequently dates the invasions of Athamania and Dolopia to January and February 189. But this cannot be correct, because Livy clearly states that one reason the embassy failed was because the senate was aware of Aetolian hypocrisy in suing for peace at the same moment they were invading these territories.
Given Livy's stress on the speed of action, we may project that Amynander was back in power by early-mid November, and so that his embassy reached Ephesus by early December 190. After the battle of Magnesia, from Livy 37.44 and 37.45 and Polybius 21.16 and 21.17:
The victorious army cleaned up the battlefield (1-2 days)
- Moved to Sardis (c. 2-3 days, by distance, "Ephesus" is in error, cf. the Latin)
- Where Africanus joined it (c. 2-3 days, assuming he left Elaea after hearing of the victory)
- Antiochus' ambassador Zeuxis arrived to discuss terms (c. 5 days)
- Terms were dictated (1-2 days)
- The Scipios and the embassies went to Ephesus (c. 4-5 days, by distance)
For a total of c. 3 weeks after the battle, or a little less. Hence the Athamanian embassy could well have arrived in Ephesus shortly after the Scipios did on Passehl's chronology, but must have arrived before Magnesia had even been fought on Warrior's, unless Aetolian events are also pushed forward a month.
Similarly, the Dolopian invasion will have occurred in November, with news reaching Rome by the end of the month or early December. Again this corresponds well with Passehl's chronology. Assuming A.U.C. 564 was a regular year, the news reached Rome in late Martius or early Aprilis A.U.C. 565. If A.U.C. 564 was intercalary, it was at the beginning of Martius or late Februarius A.U.C. 564, before the end of the previous year, but the embassy was heard in A.U.C. 565.
Since, on Warrior's chronology, it is necessary to extend the Athamanian campaign by a month in order for the embassy to reach the Scipios in Ephesus, we must also push the Dolopian invasion well into December 190, with the news reaching Rome at the end of that month or in early January 189. But if A.U.C. 564 was a regular year, those dates fall in Maius A.U.C. 565; if it was intercalary, Aprilis. Only the assumption of an intercalary year is compatible with the news arriving before the allocation of provinces for A.U.C. 565. But this assumption pushes Magnesia into January.
Additionally, Livy notes that the Aetolian embassy, which had been given 15 days to get out of Italy (Livy 37.49), arrived back in Greece at about the same time as the new consul, M. Fulvius Nobilior, and his army (Livy 38.3). Hence the Roman army made a winter crossing to Greece, arriving there in mid-late December 190. This corresponds to early Maius A.U.C. 565 with no intercalation in A.U.C. 564, but mid Aprilis A.U.C. 565 if A.U.C. 564 was intercalary. Given that the elections were late, that various preliminary matters had to be dealt with, and that an army had to be raised, it is clearly preferable to assume that A.U.C. 564 was regular.
In short, removing the synchronism of the Salian dances with the Hellespont crossing gives the following advantages:
The battle of Myonessos can be dated by the date of dedication of the temple of the Lares Permarini
- The news of the crossing at the Hellespont now reaches Rome in time to allow Laelius to preside over the thanksgiving sacrifice as consul
- The delay at the Hellespont, whatever its cause, can be adjusted to fit the time required for Herakleides' embassy
- The battle of Magnesia is fought in mid November, near the start of winter, not mid December 190 or January 189
- The battle is fought in mid Martius (or, less likely, late Intercalaris), near or, at worst, very shortly after the end of L. Scipio's consulate, justifying Livy's description of him as "consul"
- The chronology of the Aetolian events is entirely consistent with this chronology, the seasons, and the Roman civil calendar.
Detaching the Salian dances from the Hellespont crossing also detaches the chronology of the Anatolian campaign from the Roman calendar. The reconciliation of Aetolian events with the Roman calendar given above nevertheless indicates that the year was regular.
It is more likely that the Salian story is misplaced than that it is false. There clearly was an extended delay at the Hellespont crossing, and Livy accepts Polybius' explanation of its cause. Moreover, it would have been well known that Scipio was a Salian priest, and Polybius was a close personal friend of his adoptive grandson, P. Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (Polybius 31.23ff.). We also know that Scipio was immobilised for a second time on this campaign, from around the time the army reached the Caicus, when he is said to have fallen ill at Elaea (Livy 37.37), which is at the mouth of the river. He did not leave there until he rejoined his brother in Sardis after the battle (Livy 37.45 -- "Ephesus" is in error, cf. the Latin). On the Julian chronology Passehl proposes, this is c. 20 October - 20 November 190, which corresponds almost exactly to a.d. VI Kal. Mart. A.U.C. 564 - a.d. X Kal. Apr. A.U.C. 565 if it is assumed that A.U.C. 564 was regular. It appears that an illness at the Hellespont was exchanged with a religious duty at Elaea. How and why this happened is unknown. Possibly "Elaea" was confused with a similarly named town "Elaeus" on the Gallipoli peninsula.
For the purposes of this study, it does not matter whether Passehl or Warrior is right, so long as one of them is, since both conclude the year was regular. Having initially been quite sceptical, I have come around to Passehl's point of view, after working it through for myself. So long as the Salian delay happened at some point in the Anatolian campaign, the effect of making this year intercalary is to push the battle of Magnesia deep(er) into winter. In any case, the independent evidence of the Aetolian campaigns supports the view that the year was regular.
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