« A.U.C. 693 = 61 B.C. »

Cicero, Ad Atticum 1.14.5, writing on Id. Feb. A.U.C. 693, says that as of that date the senate had not assigned provincial praetorships and was delaying the decision until another, very controversial, bill authorising the trial of P. Clodius Pulcher for incestus was approved by the comitia curiata. This would normally have been a rubber-stamp exercise, but Clodius controlled the votes of plebian tribunes, who could veto the legislation for the trial. Evidently the decision to tie passage of the trial bill to the assignment of provincial posts was intended to create pressure to settle the Clodian matter quickly. In Ad Atticum 1.15.1, written on Id. Mart. A.U.C. 693, Cicero tells Atticus that his brother Quintus has just received the province of Asia; though he also notes that Atticus may already have heard the news. The comitial approval period was a trinum nundinam, i.e. a period variously argued to be 17, 24 or 25 days, or else the period to the third nundinae after the bill, i.e. anywhere between 17 and 25 days. Whatever the value of the trinum nundinum, if there was an intercalary month then these important appointments must have been held up for over a month, but if there was no intercalation then the senate must have reversed itself within a few days of Cicero's first letter.

Clearly, the senate created a Mexican standoff to force the question of the trial. They were ultimately successful: as noted by Cicero in Ad Atticum 1.16 the trial did eventually take place, but apparently not till Aprilis or early Maius, so the Clodian faction eventually blinked, and allowed the appointments to proceed. In Brind'Amour's view, it is very unlikely that they were delayed by over a month once the standoff was created, hence the balance of probabilities is that there was no intercalary month and that A.U.C. 693 was a regular year of 355 days.

I find this unconvincing. I see no reason the standoff could not have continued for some time; its a judgement call. If anything I think this is more likely than not. Thus I do not think there is any direct evidence of value for this year.

On the reconstructed Lex Acilia proposed here, A.U.C. 693 = 61 was an intercalary year since there were only three intercalations between A.U.C. 687 = 67 and A.U.C. 697 = 57, including A.U.C. 696 = 58.

Cicero, Ad Atticum 1.16.13, dates a comitia to a.d. VI Kal. Sex., which was therefore not a market day. The nundinal letter of this day is D. However this datum has no chronological value since there is no model for the years between this year and A.U.C. 697 = 57 in which it could be a market day.

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