« A.U.C. 494 = 260 B.C. »

The Fasti Triumphales record that one of the consuls for this year, C. Duilius, celebrated a naval triumph on Kal. Int. of this year, hence the year was certainly intercalary. Its length is unknown.

Dio Cassius 11.11 describes the action for which this triumph was awarded and notes that he returned to Rome at the end of the summer, i.e. in late October. If we assume that the interval between his return and his triumph is fairly short, long enough to conduct the elections and celebrate the triumph, then we have the equation that November 260 = c. Februarius A.U.C. 494, i.e. that the Roman year is 2-3 months ahead of the Julian year at this point. M. G. Morgan, Chiron 7 (1977) 89 at 97, argues that the calendars cannot have been aligned essentially because if they were it would give Duilius 4 months in Rome before his triumph with almost nothing to do that we know of. But, if we accept that the consulate started on Kal. Mai., there were still three full months after his triumph that are unaccounted for. Clearly, this is an argument from ignorance, in itself proving nothing. All we can really conclude from it is that the Roman year was at most 3 months ahead of the Julian calendar at this time. Note that this argument is essentially independent of the date of the start of the consulate.

P. Brind'Amour, Le calendrier romain 179, gives an additional argument for a substantial advance at this time. He notes that, after describing Duilius' return to Rome, Dio Cassius 11.11 mentions that one of the consuls for the following year, C. Aquilius Florus, was wintering in Sicily. Brind'Amour jumps to the conclusion that Florus must have arrived almost as Duilius left. This would imply a calendrical advance of at least 6 months on a Kal. Mai. consulate. First, one must note that this leaves Duilius with no time to celebrate his triumph as consul, which status is required by its date. Second, Dio mentions this point after describing a series of actions by the Carthaginian general Hamilcar which set the context for it. These actions can only have taken place in the following campaigning, so the reference certainly refers to Florus' being in winter quarters at the end of his term rather than the beginning.

M. G. Morgan, Chiron 7 (1977) 89 at 96 makes a more interesting argument at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year Duilius' colleague Cn. Cornelius Scipio Asina went to Sicily and promptly fell into a trap at Lipara. Dio notes that before Duilius arrived in Sicily Hamilcar, who was already campaigning against the Romans before Lipara, attacked their forces in Segesta, where they were assisted by a military tribune, C. Caecilius. Morgan notes that this tribune cannot have been assigned to Duilius, who had not yet arrived, nor to Scipio, since Dio notes that all his tribunes were captured at Lipara. Hence he must have been a tribune from one of the consuls of the previous year, left behind when they returned to Rome. While Morgan does not explicitly say so, the chronological argument only works if we further understand that his intended role was to command the winter encampment and that he would normally have been relieved at the start of the campaigning season; this seems perfectly reasonable though I am not aware of positive data in its favour.

Since Caecilius hadn't been relieved, these events must have occurred early in the campaigning system, i.e. around mid March or early April. Since Scipio seems to have rushed to Sicily as soon as he could after assuming office, Morgan concludes that the start of his consular term was in early March.

The following table gives the dates for Kal. Mai. in this year, for 28-30 intercalations between this year and A.U.C. 564 = 190, the most recent year whose dates are certain. The bounds are determined from the results for A.U.C. 496 = 258, and from the fact that this year was certainly intercalary:

Number of Intercalations   Number of intercalated days     Kal. Mai. A.U.C. 494
     A.U.C. 494-564                                                           

              28                              616-644               16 Mar. - 13 Apr. 260
              29                              638-667               21 Feb. - 22 Mar. 260
              30                              660-700               29 Jan. - 28 Feb. 260

The date ranges compatible with the data are highlighted in blue.  It doesn't seem to be possible to distinguish between them, though the favoured dates for A.U.C. 496 = 258 tend to favour the later range, since the earlier range would then require consecutive intercalations. A bias towards 23 day intercalations favours 28 intercalations; a bias towards 22 favours 29.

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