« A.U.C. 696 = 58 B.C. »
Cicero, Ad Atticum 2.20.6, tells us that elections were to be held on a.d. XV Kal. Nov. A.U.C. 695, i.e. that this day was a comitial day, and hence not a nundinal day. If neither A.U.C. 696 nor A.U.C. 697 were intercalary then the distance between this date and the next known nundinal day, a.d. X Kal. Dec. A.U.C. 697, is 744 = 8*93 days, making a.d. XV Kal. Nov. A.U.C. 695 also nundinal. Therefore, since there was no intercalation in A.U.C. 697 = 57, there must have been an intercalation in A.U.C. 696.
It may be possible to determine the size of the intercalation from Cicero's evidence. On a 22-day intercalation, the nundinal letter of market days in A.U.C. 695 = 59 was B; on a 23-day intercalation it was C. Cicero, Ad. Att. 2.21.3, dates a contio at which there was a speech on the edicts of Bibulus to a.d. VIII Kal. Sex. A.U.C. 695, a day with a nundinal letter of B. Macrobius' statement (Sat. 1.16.29) that contiones could not be held on market days therefore seems to imply that the intercalation of this year must be one of 23 days.
The problem with this analysis is that Cicero, Ad. Att. 1.14.1, apparently describes a contio at which Pompey spoke in A.U.C. 693 = 61 as being held on a market day. A. K. Michels, The Calendar of the Roman Republic, 47 argues that Cicero was actually expressing surprise at the size of the crowd, as if it had been a market day. P. Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain, 114, notes that Cicero's syntax does not support such an interpretation, which would require "ut nundinarum" instead of the "nundinarum" of our MSS. While an emendation is obviously possible, it is not obviously necessary. Instead Brind'Amour distinguishes two types of contiones: (a) an assembly at which new legislation was introduced to the the people preparatory to being voted on in comitia; and (b) an assembly called by a magistrate simply for the purposes of making a speech. He argues that only type (a) had constitutional import, and hence only this type was subject to nundinal prohibition of the Lex Hortensia. This seems to me to be certainly possible, and not at all unreasonable.
The character of a.d. VIII Kal. Sex. is "NP". The expansion of this is uncertain, but, according to A. K. Michels, The Calendar of the Roman Republic, 74, there is general agreement that the "N" indicates that the day was a dies nefastus, on which legal actions could not be taken. Therefore the contio in question was of type (b), which was not certainly subject to the Lex Hortensia. For this reason, its date cannot certainly be used to establish that the intercalation of this year was 23 days long.
As a result, this year marks the farthest point that Julian dates can be determined by dead reckoning back from Kal. Ian. AUC 709 = 31 December 46 solely by using the literary sources:
Kal. Mart. A.U.C. 696 = 24 February 58 B.C.
Up to this point, my reconstruction only differs from Brind'Amour's by the two day difference in our reconstruction of the Julian year. From here on back, this difference begins to significantly affect the analysis of the available data. As a result my reconstruction begins to diverge significantly from his.
The length of the intercalation is reconstructed here as 23 days based on the inferred Lex Acilia.
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