« A.U.C. 689 = 65 B.C. »

Plutarch, Pompey 34.2 tells us that his army was subjected to a surprise attack in the onset of winter at the Saturnalia (a.d. XIV Kal. Ian.) of A.U.C. 688 = 66. This is most likely if December is approximately aligned with Julian December. Assuming one intercalation between A.U.C. 697 = 59 and A.U.C. 691 = 63, this alignment is best achieved by assuming one more intercalation between A.U.C. 691 = 63 and A.U.C. 689 = 65. If there was none then the Saturnalia would fall in January, which is well into winter; if there was more than one then it would fall into November or earlier. This suggests one intercalation in these years. See the discussion under A.U.C. 687 = 67 for arguments for inferring it to be 23 days.

On the reconstructed Lex Acilia proposed here, A.U.C. 689 = 65 was a regular 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. This requires some explanations, since every odd year from at least A.U.C. 668 = 86 to A.U.C. 687 = 67 was intercalary on this model, and Q. Caecilius Metellus, the pontifex maximus in this year, had presided over most of these intercalations. Had this year been intercalary the next, A.U.C. 690 = 64, would have begun with a market day on Kal. Ian. The last time this had occurred was in A.U.C. 677 = 77, and Dio Cassius 40.47 and 48.33.4 note that this event was regarded as inauspicious and to be avoided. The fact that a sequence of alternating intercalations was broken in this year supports this story, and shows that active steps were taken to avoid a market day on Kal. Ian. at this time.

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