« A.U.C. 532 = 222 B.C. »

While no calendrical synchronisms are available for this year, there is strong evidence that it marks the change of the start of the consular year from Kal. Mai. to Id. Mart.

No ancient source specifically says that the consular year ever started on this date, nor even that a movement occurred. However, the Fasti triumphales list several triumphs in the third century with dates between Id. Mart. and Id. Apr. in which the triumphant general is identified as cos. rather than procos. Consular triumphs imply that the consul had not yet completed his term of office, and triumphs were generally reserved for consuls, or generals who had been consuls at the time of their victory; this relationship is confirmed by the literary record for many of the triumps in question. Kal. Mai. is seen by modern scholars the first "natural" point in the calendar after Id. Apr. for a new consular term (though I don't see why one couldn't consider possibilities such as the Parilia, the anniversary of the foundation of Rome, on a.d. X Mai.). Moreover, the sequence of events following the battle of the Aegates Insulae in A.U.C. 512 = 242 leading to the end of the First Punic War make better sense if the consular year is understood to start on or around Kal. Mai. rather than Id. Mart. at that time.

Against this, P. Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain 175, states that some triumphant generals (C. Marius, L. Antonius and L. Marcius Censorinus) were described as cos. on Kal. Ian. in the period after A.U.C. 600 = 154 even though their consular term had ended the previous day. He also notes that Cn. Cornelius Scipio Asina, who celebrated a triumph on a.d. X Kal. Apr. A.U.C. 501 = 253, is described as procos. He suggests that the terms cos. and procos. were used somewhat loosely in the Fasti triumphales, and therefore cannot be used as evidence of a change in the consular term. But all his cited examples are in error. For all three triumphs on Kal. Ian. (Marius in A.U.C. 650 = 104, Antonius in A.U.C. 713 = 41 and Censorinus in A.U.C. 715 = 39), Kal. Ian. was actually the first day of their consulate, so the fasti are in fact correct. As to Asina, the fasti are also correct, since Asina was actually consul in the previous year, A.U.C. 500 = 254; the real puzzle here is to explain why he had to wait so long for his triumph.

Accepting that the consular year started on or close to Kal. Mai. in the third century, the year in which it was changed to Id. Mart. is uncertain. The last year in which a consular triumph was recorded with reference to Aprilis was A.U.C. 520 = 234, though two years later the consul M' Pomponius celebrated a triumph on Id. Mart. However, Plutarch, Marcellus 4, notes that the consuls of A.U.C. 531 = 223, C. Flaminius and P. Furius Philus, were forced to resign their office immediately after having celebrated their triumphs for their victories in a campaign against the Gauls. The dates of their triumphs are known: Flaminius' was on a.d. VI Id. Mart., and Furius' on a.d. IV Id. Mart. A.U.C. 531 = 223. Thus it is almost certain that the incoming consuls, M. Claudius Marcellus and Cn. Cornelius Scipio Calvus assumed office on Id. Mart. A.U.C. 532 = 222.

If the consular year started on Id. Mart. before this time, there are several aspects of this account that make very little sense. First, Flaminius and Furius would have been so close to the end of their term by the time they celebrated their triumphs that there is no obvious point in forcing them out of office. Second, since the selection of Marcellus and Scipio Calvus was overseen by interreges (Plutarch, Marcellus 6), it is evident that the regular consular election had not yet been held when Flaminius and Furius resigned. This is easily understandable if their term had previously been expected to expire several weeks after Id. Mart. but not so easy to understand if the expected term was Id. Mart. Even if there were no intercalations between this year and A.U.C. 537 = 217 a normal consular election, held in Ianuarius or Februarius, would correspond to February or early March, well before Flaminius and Furius were able to initiate a campaign against the Gauls. Finally, we may note that Marcellus and Scipio Calvus were not regarded in the Fasti consulares as suffect consuls for A.U.C. 531 = 223 but as ordinary consuls for A.U.C. 532 = 222, and the accounts of their term bear this out. In that year Marcellus became the last Roman to win (though not the last to claim) the spolia opima for personally killing an enemy leader in battle, and he went on to become consul for 5 times. Such circumstances seem compatible with a permanent shift in the start of the consular term in this year.

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