« A.U.C. 699 = 55 B.C. »
Brind'Amour inferred that this year was a 377-day intercalary year from indirect data; see discussion under A.U.C. 701 = 53. Its intercalary nature has since been confirmed directly by a tessera nummularia (AE (1992) #177; P. Pensabene in Studi per Laura Breglia II (1987) 69-76 [non. vid.]) dated Kal. Int. Cn. Po. M. Li. II, i.e. on Kal. Int. in the second consulate of Gnaeus Pompeius & M. Licinius Crassus = A.U.C. 699.
Against this, G. Radke, Fasti Romani 58, noted Cicero, De Provinciis Consularibus 37, which appears to indicate that Ianuarius, Februarius and Martius would be sequential, and argues that it indicates that this year was regular. However, since Cicero's speech was delivered in the middle of the previous year, his statement must be considered as indicating that the decision to intercalate had not yet been made.
This year was 377 days long, apparently the first in nearly a century. I see two possible explanations for this, both based on the fact that the previous three intercalations had been separated from their predecessors by three years rather than two.
As a result of the repeated triennial intercalary years since A.U.C. 687 = 67, the Roman year was slipping against the solar year. Under Caesar's pontificate, only 3 intercalations had occurred in a time that would normally have seen 4. The Lex Acilia appears to have defined a procedure for compensating for missed intercalations by inserting a 377-day intercalary year between a regular year and a 378 day year. By making this year a 377-day year, Caesar would have signalled an intent to make A.U.C. 700 = 54 intercalary which would have comensated for this.
At this time there was a superstition against a market day falling on Kal. Ian., and this event had not occurred since A.U.C. 677 = 77. This prohibition was responsible for the triennial intercalary sequence that had developed since A.U.C. 687 = 67, since having an intercalary year two years after it predecessor would have meant that Kal. Ian. of the following year was a market day. By now this postponement of intercalations had occurred 4 times, in A.U.C. 689 = 65, A.U.C. 692 = 62, A.U.C. 695 = 59 and A.U.C. 698 = 56, and it had probably been realised that the resulant pattern of triennial intercalation would become permanent, unless an active step was made to break it. This is because the length of the triennial cycle was 355+355+378 = 1,088 days = 8x136, i.e. exactly 136 nundinal cycles. Although intercalary years under the Lex Acilia were normally 378 days long, 377 day years were permitted. Introducing a 377 day year would have thrown off the phase relationship to the nundinal cycle by one day, which would have allowed an intercalation in A.U.C. 701 = 53 without causing a market day on Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 702 = 52.
That is, this year was 377-days long in order to break the pattern that had arisen over the previous decade. However, in the event neither of the next two years were intercalary, with the result that a market day fell, after all, on Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 702 = 52.
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