« A.U.C. 728 = 26 B.C. »

Dio Cassius 51.19.6 states that the Senate had decreed that the date of the fall of Alexandria should be regarded as the start of the reckoning of time, i.e. of Augustus' regnal year in Egypt. From the Fasti Antiates, we know that Alexandria fell on Kal. Sex. A.U.C. 724 = 30. Thus, if Dio is correct, Augustus' regnal years in Egypt were initially reckoned to begin on Kal. Sex.

The earliest document that shows a regular Egyptian regnal year for Augustus is SB 16.12469, the lease of a red cow in year 5 = 26/5, which runs from Hathyr to 30 Mesore without a change in year number. From this it is clear that any attempt to implement the Senate decree failed no later than year 5.

In several studies, T. C. Skeat cited contemporary evidence in support of this thesis that Augustus' year began on the anniversary of the fall of Alexandria before that year:

Skeat argued that this data should be interpreted to mean that the Augustan regnal year ran from 8 Mesore to 7 Mesore in his years 1 to 4. This is certainly possible. However, he did not consider the relationship of such a regnal year to the Roman calendar. The original senatusconsultum was surely dated according the Roman calendar, not the Egyptian one. Thus, Roman leap days will have caused uncertainty about when the regnal year ended on the Egyptian calendar.

If Skeat's analyses are correct, we may therefore infer that:

On the standard model of the triennial cycle, a leap year occurred in A.U.C. 727 = 27 = year 3; on the system proposed here, Roman leap years occurred in A.U.C. 725 = 29 = year 1 and A.U.C. 728 = 26 = year 4. The first occurred too early in the Roman regime to have caused calendrical difficulties in Egypt, while the second appears to be reflected in the "uncertainty" that Skeat detected on the date in pRylands 4.601.

In a recent article, E. Grzybek, in Y. Perrin (ed.), Neronia VII, 145 at 148-150 has challenged Skeat's arguments on pOxy 12.1453 and pRylands 4.601:

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