« A.U.C. 746 = 8 B.C. »
The Augustan reform, which finally aligned the Roman calendar with the modern Julian calendar and set the period and phase of the intercalary cycle to that of the Julian calendar, was promulgated in this year. This result was determined by J. J. Scaliger, De Emendatione Temporum 159, 238 in 1583. He noted that Suetonius, Augustus 31.2, recorded that Sextilis was renamed "Augustus" at the same time, and that Censorinus 22.16 dates that event to the emperor's 20th year, the consulate of M. Censorinus and C. Asinius Gallus, i.e. A.U.C 746 = 8, as does Dio Cassius 55.6.6.
The story is, of course, not quite so cut and dried. There are indications that Sextilis may have been renamed earlier. Livy, Periochae 134, dates the event to A.U.C. 727 = 27. Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.12.35, quotes the actual senatusconsultum for the change, which justifies it in terms of Augustus' conquest of Egypt and the ending of the civil wars, possibly implying that it was passed not too long after these events. He further says that the motion was passed by a plebiscite under the tribune Sex. Pacuvius, and Dio Cassius 53.20.2-3 records Sex. Pacuvius as tribune in A.U.C. 727 = 27. Finally, K. Fitzler & O. Seeck, RE X (1917) 362 note the Egyptian inscription CIL III 6627, dated to Augustus in an unnamed year, which describes some miltary waterworks. Dio Cassius 51.18.1 says that Augustus began a program of clearing out the canals immediately after the conquest, hence Fitzler & Seeck suggest that CIL III 6627 is more likely to be close to 27 than to 8. They argue that the change actually took place in A.U.C. 727 = 27 and that the decree of A.U.C 746 = 8 merely acknowledged the plebiscite of A.U.C. 727 = 27.
The reference to "Sex[tilis]" in pOxy 61.4175, which dates from A.U.C. 730 = 24, clearly proves that the month was not actually renamed in A.U.C. 727 = 27, while CIL III 6627 is clearly too vague to be used as evidence.
A. B. Bosworth, HSCPh 86 (1982) 151, argued that the senatusconsultum quoted by Macrobius is actually somewhat subversive. He notes that two of the reasons given for choosing Sextilis are (a) that this was the month of his first consulate and (b) in this month the legions on the Janiculum gave their loyalty to him. In Bosworth's view both events were rather shady, and the honor given to Augustus by publicising them was somewhat satirical. He notes that Augustus himself tried to publicise September as the month of his first consulate (Velleius Paterculus 2.65.2 and the Feriale Cumanum), and that having a month renamed after him is the only major honour he received which he does not mention in the Res Gestae. Dio Cassius 55.6.6 lists the renaming towards the end of the year, amongst a discussion of actions involving Tiberius as consul-designate. Bosworth suggests that the senatusconsultum was introduced by Tiberius, on Augustus' instructions indeed, but that he disingenuously spun the wording to remind everyone of some of the more disreputable steps involved in Augustus' rise to power. This action was one step in the developing breach between Augustus and Tiberius which would shortly see Tiberius exile himself to Rhodes.
Its an engaging story, but I don't believe it. The weak points are still the evidence of Livy and the tribune Sex. Pacuvius. Bosworth suggests that Livy's reference merely proves that he wrote after 8, which noone doubts anyway -- but the point is that he listed the event in a book that covered 27. As to Pacuvius, he supposes that one of the unknown tribunes of 8 was another Sex. Pacuvius -- none other than the son of the tribune of 27. Certainly possible, but conveniently coincidental and something of a deus ex machina. (Because the motion for the name change was moved by Pacuvius, the suggestion of J. W. Rich, Cassius Dio: The Augustan Settlement, 224, that Livy's reference to the event under 27 must have been a digression, a forward reference to events of 8, also seems to me unlikely.)
It seems to me most likely that Fitzler & Seeck got the sequence of events correct but misunderstood which one caused the change to become operative. That is, the change was moved and approved in A.U.C. 727 = 27, but not actually implemented until Augustus, as pontifex maximus, issued the appropriate regulation, which he did in A.U.C 746 = 8. The motion was therefore unconnected with the impending breach with Tiberius. As to Bosworth's concerns, I have no doubt that Augustus later wanted to play down certain aspects of the story of his rise to power, but I also suspect that in 27 he was rather more concerned to remind people of the sources of that power and rather less concerned with the respectability of his reputation than he later became. As to why some sources date his first consulate to September A.U.C. 711 = 43 while others date it to Sextilis, this must remain a bit of a mystery.
While the year of the reform can be established, the exact date it was promulgated is unknown. If Suetonius is correct, it took place at the same time as Sextilis was renamed August, which on Bosworth's analysis was towards the end of the year. But, as noted above, there are problems with Bosworth's reasoning and no need to accept his date.
The analysis of the imperial nundinal cycle suggests that this was reformed at the same time as the leap year cycle, and probably as part of the same decree. On the model developed here for the nundinal reform, the earliest leap year affected by it must have been that of A.U.C 746 = 8. This requires that the reform was promulgated in the first few weeks of the year, in time to take effect immediately on the nundinal cycle. This date is consistent with the account of Dio Cassius 55.5, which says that Augustus spent only a little time in Rome that year before heading off to Gaul and Germany, where he spent most of the year.
Reform of the month lengths
The main purpose of the Augustan reform was to replace the triennial leap year cycle, which had been in operation since A.U.C. 713 = 41, with the correct quadrennial leap year cycle, and to realign the calendar. It is widely believed, largely because the story has been propagated in many successive editions of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, that the reform also changed the lengths of several months in the calendar. According to R. Lamont, Popular Astronomy 27 (1919) 583, this story originates with the medieval computist Johannes de Sacrobosco. In his De Anni Ratione, published in 1232, Sacrobosco claimed that the Caesarian months had the following lengths:
31, 29(30), 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 30
while the Augustan reform changed the month lengths to their modern values as follows:
31, 28(29), 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31
Sacrobosco asserted that, when Sextilis was renamed Augustus, its length had to be changed from 30 days to 31 days, since Augustus (the emperor) was "envious because his month was shorter than the month Iulius". The lengths of later months and of Februarius were changed accordingly, as shown in blue.
Sacrobosco gave no source for this account, and I have not been able to trace any earlier reference; it was not known to Bede in the 8th century. Nevertheless, while it could have originated with him, I doubt it. He incorrectly describes the pre-Julian calendar as consisting of alternating 29 and 30 day months, starting in Martius, so that the last month of the year was a 30-day Februarius. Caesar allegedly added 2 days to each of the odd (29-day) months, but reduced Februarius from 30 to 29 days, except in leap years, so that the last odd month, Ianuarius, would be 31 days long. This description views the pre-Julian calendar as a simple lunar calendar of 354 days, which appears to show the influence of a Greek or Arabic source. This influence might be only intellectual, in that these sources used lunar calendars and Sacrobosco, along with contemporary scholars such as Robert Grosseteste, were newly exposed to Greek and Arab astronomical and calendrical ideas -- i.e. Sacrobosco may have simply assumed a lunar structure for the pre-Julian calendar. However, it may also be that some such source gave exactly such a story.
Sacrobosco's story may be compared with Dio's garbled account of the Julian reform (Dio Cassius 43.26), which also assumes that the pre-Julian year was lunar in character, and which also appears to assume a pre-Julian year starting in Martius, since he believes that only 67 days were inserted into A.U.C. 708 = 46 rather than 90. Dio cannot be directly the source of Sacrobosco's account. According to him, Caesar created the Julian calendar by starting with the Egyptian calendar and distributing the 5 epagomenal days, together with 2 days taken from one month (i.e. Februarius), over 7 months to create 7 months of 31 days. That is, Dio attributes to Caesar, not to Augustus, the Julian calendar that we know; by contrast, Sacrobosco's Caesarian calendar has only 6 months of 31 days. Nevertheless, Dio's account shows that alternate accounts of the origins of the Julian calendar were circulating in the Greek East as early as the third century, accounts which may have originated as descriptions of the Julian reform of the lunar Greek calendars of the East. It seems to me perfectly possible that Sacrobosco somehow tapped into this tradition.
If you know more, please email me!
Whatever its source, Sacrobosco's account is provably false. It is contradicted not only by Macrobius Saturnalia 1.14.7 (5th century) and Censorinus 20.9 (3rd century), but also by contemporary evidence. Three items can be adduced, two of which are perhaps more certain than the third:
M. Terentius Varro, De Re Rustica I 28, writing in A.U.C. 717 = 37, gives both the start dates of the seasons and their lengths. These correspond exactly if the lengths are derived from modern Julian month lengths, but do not match if we assume the month lengths which Sacrobosco claimed that Caesar had instituted, which should have been in force at the time Varro wrote.
The ephemeris table pOxy 61.4175, which dates from A.U.C. 730 = 24, equates Kal. Sex. to 8 Mesore and Kal. Sept. to 4 Thoth. This shows that the length of Sextilis was 31 days at that time, in direct contradiction to Sacrobosco.
The surviving fragments of the Fasti Caeretani show a Februarius of 28 days. There are two items suggesting a date for this Fasti. Under a.d. III Kal. Feb. (30 January), it records that the Ara Pacis was dedicated on this date. The other is the entry for a.d. IV. Kal. Mai. (=28 April) which recorded the dedication of the Signum Vestae and the Altar of Vesta in Augustus' house, which occurred in 12 B.C. Mommsen argued (reasonably enough) that the first dated the Fasti after the dedication of the Ara Pacis, in 9 B.C. However, A. Degrassi, Inscriptiones Italiae XIII.2 68, noting that the annotations were in a different hand from the rest of the inscription, argued that they must have been inscribed by a different carver than most of other annotations, and so they must have been added after the Fasti was erected. He concluded that the Fasti must predate the older of the two, and hence dated from 12 B.C. or earlier. From this it would follow that Februarius already had only 28 days before the Augustan reform, in direct contradiction to Sacrobosco.
Granted that this is the simplest interpretation of the data, all that is really proven, it seems to me, is that these two entries were added some time after the Fasti was originally erected. It is not necessarily true that they were inscribed at the same time as the events. If both are by the same hand they almost certainly weren't. Hence it is not impossible that the occasion of their addition was after 9 B.C., in which case we cannot certainly date the Fasti before the Augustan reform
The Asian Calendrical Reform
Direct evidence for this year is given by OGIS 458 = iPriene 105, which reformed the Asian calendar. This decree was issued by the Greek cities of Asia in response to a proposal of the proconsul of the Asian province, Paullus Fabius Maximus, in early Ianuarius of an unspecified year. It reformed the calendar of the Asian province to one that was locked to the Roman civil calendar. As is usually understood, the decree not only specifies the triennial intercalary cycle but also states that the first leap day occurs in the year of the reform (U. Laffi, SCO 16 (1967) 1 at 28 n. 13).
Since Fabius was consul in A.U.C. 743 = 11, since proconsulates were awarded following a consulate, since proconsulates ran from summer to summer, and since the Augustan reform suspending the triennial intercalation was promulgated in A.U.C. 746 = 8, his proconsulate must have been in 10/9 or 9/8, i.e. the leap year of decree must have been in A.U.C. 745 = 9 or A.U.C. 746 = 8. It has been suggested (e.g. R. K. Sherk, Roman Documents from the Greek East: Senatus consulta and epistulae to the age of Augustus, 336, M.-T. Raepsaet-Charlier, Phoenix 39 (1985) 292) that triennial intercalations may have continued in the provinces even after they had been suspended in Rome. This is extremely unlikely, for the reason given by U. Laffi, SCO 16 (1967) 1 at 32. OGIS 458 clearly states that the first day of the year in the reformed Asian calendar was the birthday of Augustus, a.d. IX Kal. Oct. in the Roman civil calendar. The new Asian calendar took effect part way through the Asian year, in Ianuarius, but very shortly before an intercalation. If there was no corresponding intercalation in Rome, then the reform would have failed to meet its stated goal on the very first day of its first full year of operation!
The standard reconstruction of the triennial cycle requires dating the inscription to A.U.C. 745 = 9. However, there are two factors which favour dating it instead to A.U.C. 746 = 8.
K. M. T. Atkinson, Historia 7 (1958) 300, noted that Dio Cassius 54.30 states that a major earthquake occurred in Asia in A.U.C. 742 = 12. Dio states that as a result of the earthquake the next proconsulate was chosen by lot instead of by appointment and ran for two years instead of one. He strongly implies that news of the earthquake reached Rome some time after the death of Agrippa in Mar. A.U.C. 742 = 12, i.e. after the appointment of the proconsul for 12/11 B.C. (and quite possibly after he had already taken up office). Hence this two-year proconsulate very probably covered 11/10 and 10/9, and the proconsul cannot have been Fabius. Therefore he was proconsul in 9/8, which dates the leap year of OGIS 458 to A.U.C. 746 = 8.
The inscription gives the synchronism that the last date of the old calendar 14 Peritios = a.d. X Kal. Feb. The previous Asian calendar is not well known. However, if, as it appears to be, it was a standard Greek lunisolar calendar, then 1 Peritios ought to be close to the date of a new moon. But, as Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain 14 n. 2 noted, a.d. X Kal. Feb. A.U.C. 745 = 26 January 9 on the standard Scaligerian calendar, is the second day of a lunar month. However, 14 Peritios = a.d. X Kal. Feb. A.U.C. 746 = 24 January 8 on the calendar proposed here is indeed the 14th day of a lunar month starting on 11 January 8, the date of a new moon.
Thus, on the usually accepted interpretation, OGIS 458 shows that the Augustan reform was promulgated too late for news of its actual contents to reach the provinces, and that the last triennial leap year was A.U.C. 746 = 8. This analysis is accepted here.
B. A. Buxton & R. Hannah, in C. Deroux (ed.) Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History XII 290, have recently challenged Laffi's interpretation of this inscription in an interesting article (my thanks to Robert Hannah for a copy). In their view, rather than stating that there is an intercalary Xandikos of 32 days in the year of the decree, the intended meaning is that Xandikos shall be 32 days in each intercalary year. Further, rather than specifying that intercalation shall taken place every third year, the intended meaning is that intercalation shall commence on the day after 14 Peritios in the third year following promulgation of the decree (counting inclusively). In their view, Fabius was proconsul in 7/6, the decree was passed in 7, and the first intercalation was intended to occur on the Julian cycle starting in 5 B.C.
This dating is part of a larger thesis, that certain special coinages of Augustan proconsuls are related to the proclamation as Augustus' heirs of his grandsons Gaius and Lucius, and that these events were in reaction to the split between Augustus and Tiberius in 6 B.C. Buxton and Hannah's thesis requires that all the proconsuls involved were in office in 6 BC or the immediately following years. Since Fabius was one of them, this requires that his proconsulate was in 7/6 or later.
Since the validity of this thesis depends on the date of OGIS 458, not the other way round, it does not need much discussion here, except to note that the date of one other Asian proconsulate concerned, that of P. Cornelius Scipio (cos. A.U.C. 738 = 16) is also not independently established
In specific support of their proposal on the date of OGIS 458, Buxton and Hannah make the following circumstantial arguments:
There are several partial exemplars of the decree which show a number of errors and discrepancies between the Greek and Latin versions. For the critical passages of the text we only have Greek examples.
The point of this appears to be to imply that the Greek is an ambiguous translation of poorly understood Latin, which therefore might justify some slightly non-standard interpretation of the Greek text. But it seems to me that this is to miss the significance of the datum, which is that such errors and discrepancies are evidence of a rushed job. On the standard interpretation of OGIS 458, the reform took effect very soon after the proclamation of the decree, and the haste is perfectly understandable. On Buxton & Hannah's interpretation, the reform took effect over a year after its proclamation. If that had been the plan, there should have been plenty of time to arrange for a decent and accurate translation.
On the standard interpretation, the decree introduced the incorrect intercalary cycle in Asia at almost exactly the same time as it was corrected in Rome, yet although there fragments of this decree known from many sites there is no evidence of any attempt to destroy them or to correct them.
It is not at all obvious that we should expect to see signs of destruction or correction. The beneficience of the divine emperor and the glory of his birthday are extremely prominent in the text. Destruction or modification of the decree easily amounted to sacrilege. The fact that there are so many examples of the decree could equally well be interpreted as evidence that the decree did require adjustment. Rather than deface the existing texts, they may very well have been placed in obscure positions that eventually led to their preservation.
Also, the modification needed to correct the (standard interpretation of the) decree is very slight, amounting simply to suspension of intercalation for a number of years and resumption of intercalation on a quadrennial cycle. The basic reform of the calendar -- fixing the Asian month lengths and their alignment with the Roman calendar -- was unaffected by the intercalary issue. Hence even with the erroneous version of the cycle the decree remained useful.
On the standard interpretation, the first day of the reformed calendar was effected on the a.d. IX Kal. Feb. = 15 Peritios (old) = 1 Dystros (new) following its proclamation, indeed that it was proclaimed in the very Peritios in which it was to take effect. This is too quick to introduce a new calendar, which should require considerable planning to avoid creating confusion. Rather than understanding the decree to take effect "in the current month of Peritios" it should be understood as taking effect on the 15th day of Peritios "as it is currently constituted" two years hence.
On the contrary, decreeing the change to occur two years hence seems to me to be far too far in advance. Compare Caesar's actions in A.U.C. 708 = 46, in which an even more radical reform affecting the entire Roman world cannot have been proclaimed before Sextilis of that year, yet the first effects -- the intercalary months following November -- took place only four months later. Here we are talking about a reform affecting only the province of Asia. A timescale of a month or two seems quite reasonable.
Moreover, on this interpretation, Augustus' birthday in 6 BC is allowed to pass without a realignment of the calendars. Since the need to celebrate his birthday as the first day of the year is given as the reason for the reform, it is not at all clear why this should be allowed to happen.
It is also perfectly likely that the contents of the reform was well known to the Asians before the month in which it was formally proclaimed. According to the decree, the reform was not proclaimed directly by Fabius but by "the Greeks in the Province of Asia" -- i.e. the assembly of the Asian cities. Thus, even if the decree was formally enacted in Peritios, it is more than likely that its contents had already been disseminated in the preceding month or two.
A minor objection to their proposal is that it means that Fabius would not have been present in the province to oversee the actual execution of the decree, unless his proconsulship was for a two-year term (i.e. 7/6 and 6/5). But it is certain that the proconsul in 6/5 was C. Asinius Gallus (cos. A.U.C. 746 = 8), since he is named in two inscriptions in which Augustus is respectively cos. desig. XII and cos. XII -- i.e. Augustus' 12th consulate (A.U.C. 749 = 5) began in his term.
Given the nature of the calendrical problem, and especially given the erection of the horologium Augusti in 10/9, which would have quickly revealed the existence of the issue, Fabius should, as an educated man, have been aware that a reform was in the works and therefore would not have instituted the old, incorrect cycle.
If there is one thing that the whole story of the triennial cycle reveals, it is the extent of scientific illiteracy in the educated Roman aristocracy and their lack of interest. The error was allowed to persist over three decades before it was corrected. Alexandrian astronomers must been screaming blue murder at their Roman colleagues the entire time. Clearly they were ignored, even though the correct period for the intercalary cycle was instituted in Egypt at least 16 years before the Augustan reform.
It is extremely unlikely that this reform would have been undertaken by Fabius on his own initiative. Rather, its timing indicates that it was part of a general reform of provincial calendars that was intended to reflect Augustus' reform of 8 BC.
I agree with the basic point. I think that a general reform of provincial calendars was intended, and that it was connected to the erection of the horologium Augusti. But it is not at all clear that the original motivation of the reform was correction of the triennial error. Construction of the horologium Augusti began well before the Augustan reform was proclaimed. OGIS 458 is crystal clear that the Asian reform was intended to celebrate the glory and beneficience of the divine emperor. It was not synchronised astronomically, but to Augustus' birthday in the Roman civil calendar, and the new month lengths were deliberately aligned to start on a.d. IX Kal. each Roman civil month, so that there was a fixed phase relationship to Roman civil dates.
I have the distinct impression that the realisation that Caesar's reform had, after all, not been correctly implemented came at a point when plans for the universal synchronisation of provincial calendars to the imperial calendar were far advanced, and that the discovery was a serious embarrassment.
Buxton and Hannah also make the following evidentiary arguments:
The phrase that is key for dating the decree to a year of intercalation (9 or 8 BC depending on one's viewpoint), "ef etoV", is interpreted by Laffi as "in this year" based on a citation from Julius Pollux, who wrote in the late second century AD. The phrase is rare. However, Josephus, Ant. Jud. 15.302, 17.229, 17.308, 17.318 and 17.321, who wrote "a generation or so" after the decree, consistently uses it in the sense of "each year". Hence there is reason to interpret the decree that stating that there shall be a 32-day Xandikos "in each year" that there is an intercalation.
The late first century AD is not exactly "within a generation or so" of the decree -- it's over three quarters of a century later. It is therefore questionable whether Josephus is a valid example of contemporary usage, even though he did live a century before Pollux. Moreover, he uses the phrase in the sense of "annually" rather than "on each year that <condition> occurs", which is what OGIS 458 requires, and in each case the circumstances described include the current year. Further, Josephus was not a native Greek speaker, whereas Pollux was a grammaticist and rhetorician from the Greek community of Naucratis who taught in Athens and who wrote the Onomasticon, a dictionary of synonyms and phrases. Given this background and technical interest, it seems to me that Pollux is a much more plausible authority than Josephus on the pedantically correct meaning of obscure Greek phrases.
The verb that controls the relationship of the two year interval and the intercalary Xandikos is "geinomenwn". This is normally interpreted as the present participle of "geinomenai" (I am born or beget), which as a present participle would imply repeated action -- hence that the two years represents the interval on regular years between intercalary years. Buxton and Hannah prefer to interpret it as the aorist participle of "gignomai" -- indicating a singular act of creation, the two years then representating the distance between the publication of the decree and the institution of the intercalary system. They speculate that the translator was attempting to translate an ablative absolute in the original Latin.
Maybe, maybe not. It would certainly help to discover the equivalent Latin text of the phrase in question. However, it is worth noting that this change also changes the calendar referred to and the count of the two years. In the standard interpretation, the two years fall between consecutive intercalations: I O O I. Hence they are a count of complete reformed Asian years. This is very straightforward. A count of Asian years is also what we would expect for a decree that was intended for an Asian audience.
Buxton and Hannah's interpretation seems to require that the year count is Roman, not Asian. There are three Roman years involved: the last part of A.U.C. 747 = 7, A.U.C. 748 = 6 and A.U.C. 749 = 5. The reform is in Ian. A.U.C. 749, with the first intercalation in Feb. A.U.C. 749. On the Asian calendar, the corresponding years run from about Panemos (July) 7 - Hyperberetaios (September) 7; Kaisarios (October) 7 - Hyperberetaios (September) 6; Kaisarios (October) 6 - Hyperberetaios (September) 5. The reform occurs four months into this year, part way through Peritios (January) 5. Whichever year is being counted, the count of two years must be inclusive of either the year of the decree or the year the decree became effective. In other words, the count is based on an anniversary, and the year of the intercalation is the year (Asian or Roman) that begins after the second anniversary of the decree.
Two factors favour the Roman year on the Buxton/Hannah interpretation. First, the decree was effective with the first reformed month that began after the start of a Roman year. Second, if it was the Asian year, the decree must have been promulgated in the first three months of the proconsulate -- possible, but extends the minimum distance between decree and execution by three months. Further, the result is that proper celebrations of Augustus' birthday would be missed in both 7 and in 6 B.C. This is especially unlikely since 23 September 7 B.C. was a new moon, i.e. the start of an unreformed Asian year. If the reform was decreed before that date and was truly intended to align the Asian calendar to the Julian year from the start, as Buxton and Hannah seem to suppose, this would have been the perfect occasion to do so.
The first day of the new calendar a.d. IX Kal. Feb. = 1 Dystros (new) = 15 Peritios (old) should be on or about the date of a full moon. There was a full moon on 24 January 5 B.C.
But according to the standard model of the unreformed Roman calendar, which they are following, 24 January 5 = a.d. VI Kal. Feb. A.U.C. 749. a.d. IX Kal. Feb. A.U.C. 749 = 21 January 5 -- three days too early. Even on the model proposed in these pages, the difference is two days. In other words, the alignment only works better than one proposed here for 8 if Fabius was instituting the correct Julian calendar in 5. But in that case it would be 3 (or 2) days out of alignment with the Roman calendar on its inception, moving to 2 days (or 1) within a month -- and Augustus' birthday would be celebrated 2 (or 1) days late in that year.
The last point highlights what I regard as the decisive argument against Buxton and Hannah's proposal: it does not track the Augustan reform. According to their analysis of the Peritios date, Fabius designed the Asian reform so that the proclaimed alignment would give correct Julian dates from the start. That is, by introducing quadrennial intercalation in 5 B.C., their proposed interpretation of the reform aligns the Asian calendar, not to the Roman calendar but to the true Julian calendar -- despite the fact that the decree explicitly equates the changeover date, 1 Dystros (new) = 15 Peritios (old) to the Roman civil date a.d. IX Kal. Feb., clearly showing that the Roman/Asian alignment was supposed to be correct from the start. On their model, the Roman and Julian calendars were three days apart on that date.
The Julian calendar would continue to slip against the Roman calendar until the latter started its own quadrennial leap year cycle. That means that the calendrical alignments given in the decree would not be correct against the Roman calendar for another 4 (or 8) years. In other words, Asia would be celebrating Augustus' birthday 1 (or 2, in their scheme) days late in the first four years of operation of the new calendar.
I do not believe that this is what Fabius intended to happen.
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