« A.U.C. 654 = 100 B.C. »

SEG XXVI 1227, the Knidos antipiracy decree, contains a reference to a Lex Porcia dated a.d. III Feralia in an unspecified year. The date was originally read as a.d. III Non. Feb. However, that date is a dies nefastus, on which laws could not be passed; the new reading resolves that problem (cf. V. M. Warrior, Latomus 50 (1991) 80 at 83). The absence of a year reference argues that the law was passed in the same year as the anti-piracy decree itself (so also A. W. Lintott, ZPE 20 (1976) 65 at 81). The point at issue, then, is the date of the Knidos decree.

The text of this decree overlaps with a second antipiracy decree from Delphi, SEG III 378, discovered late in the 19th century. The two texts are usually discussed together and are considered to be variant texts of the same law. The text mentions the consul C. Marius and L. Valerius, coss. AUC 654 = 100. However, the context appears to allow this to be a prospective reference, since it describes the roles of the "prior consul", without naming him, and also of unnamed governors of Macedonia and Asia. This suggests that the law was passed very late in the year, before these governors had been appointed. On these grounds, G. Colin, BCH 48 (1924) 58, argued that must be dated to late A.U.C. 653 = 101. G. V. Sumner, GRBS 19 (1978) 211 at 221 notes that there is no known example of the anticipatory eponymous dating that this date implies, and at 215 points out that the "prior consul" for AUC 654 = 100 must have been known at the time of passage, since both consuls for that year are named. He further notes that the consular elections for A.U.C. 655 = 99 were interrupted by the murder of two of the candidates on a.d. V. and IV Id. Dec. A.U.C. 654 (Appian, B. Civ. 1.32), so that the incoming consuls for that year were not known till exceptionally late in the previous year. All this seems very sensible to me, implying that the decree was passed in late December A.U.C. 654, and the Lex Porcia had been passed in the previous Februarius.

Under the reconstruction of the Lex Acilia proposed in A.U.C. 563 = 191, a year following a 378-day year was not a candidate intercalary year, and all intercalations after A.U.C. 614 = 140 were 23 days long. If festival-based dates in Februarius indicate that A.U.C. 654 = 100 was a candidate intercalary year then it would further follow that the previous year, A.U.C. 653 = 101, was regular.

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