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In this year, a "sacred spring" (ver sacrum) sacrifice was performed. In this sacrifice all domestic animals born in the named spring were consecrated to the gods. This particular sacrifice was a correction of errors purported to have occurred in the ver sacrum performed in the previous year (Livy 33.44), and was in fulfillment of a vow taken in A.U.C. 537 = 217 (Livy 22.9, 22.10).

The dates are given by Livy 34.44 as Kal. Mart. to prid. Kal. Mai., or to Id. Mai., depending on the MS source accepted (see J. Briscoe A Commentary on Livy Books XXXIV-XXXVII 22). Since Kal. Mart. is before the start of the consular year, Briscoe suggests that the first date should be corrected to Id. Mart., but Livy is explicit that the second date is to be understood as falling in the consulate of P. Cornelius Scipio and Ti. Sempronius. I suspect he is doing so precisely to ensure that the sacrifice is understood unambiguously to be straddling the start of the consular year.

These dates correspond to 22-23 November 195 to 20-21 January or 4-5 February 194 if there was only one intercalation between this year and A.U.C. 564 = 190, or 30 October - 1 November 195 to 28-30 December 195 or 11-13 January 194 if there were two. Briscoe notes that very few, if any, domestic animals would be born in this period, and P. Marchetti, AC 43 (1973) 473 at 495f. suggests that intercalation was suspended for many years precisely to ensure that the ver sacrum would not cause disruption to domestic production. Therefore, in Marchetti's view, this year marks the resumption of intercalation.

I think this is exceedingly unlikely, since the bulk of the sacrifice will actually have taken place the previous year, when the ver sacrum was supposedly performed incorrectly. We don't know the dates of this, but most likely they were spring dates, in order for the sacrifice to have had real meaning. Briscoe argues, convincingly in my view, that the renewed sacrifice was a tactic in a struggle between the pontifex maximus P. Licinius Crassus and the outgoing consul M. Porcius Cato. No doubt Crassus did indeed choose the dates to ensure that animal production was not hit two years in a row, but this is surely more likely to be a matter of taking advantage of the accumulated slippage that had already occurred.

Nor can we use this event to distinguish the number of intercalations between this year and A.U.C. 564 = 190, since very few animals will have been born in any of the possible date ranges.

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