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This page provides a brief overview of the major sources used to prepare the Fasti Consulares.
The most easily available authoritative listing is in A.E. Samuel, Greek and Roman Chronology. Much extra detail is given in the three volumes of T. R. S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic. However, the definitive modern study for the consuls down to the death of Augustus is without doubt A. Degrassi, Fasti Consulares et Triumphales. Degrassi also developed a much briefer study of later consuls in I Fasti Consolari dell'Imperio Romano; so far as I know there is as yet nothing remotely comparable to Fasti Consulares et Triumphales for the period after the death of Augustus.
The primary sources may be classified into three groups: literary fasti, epigraphic fasti, and annalistic histories. The reconstructed listing is created by a process of comparing and combining these sources, and of fleshing them out with additional data, mostly literary in origin, which gives missing details in a non-annalistic framework.
Degrassi's first volume contains an important comparative listing of the primary source data. This listing is the principal basis for the comparison developed in these pages.
These are fasti preserved in late Imperial and Byzantine chronicles. The major ones are:
The Chronographus of A.D. 354, a very elaborate and illustrated almanac which includes a consular fasti down to that year. A transcription of the fasti is available online here.
The Consularia Constantinopolitana of A.D. 467, also known as the Fasti Hydatiani because in the original surviving MS they immediately follow a Chronicle composed by this Galician bishop. A modern critical analysis is available in R. W. Burgess, The Chronicle of Hydatius and the Consularia Constantinopolitana.
The Chronica of Cassiodorus, written in A.D. 519. Aside from Degrassi's table, the only copy of the fasti I have been able to access is that published by Mommsen.
The Chronicon Paschale, compiled c. A.D. 630. Degrassi's table is the only source I have been able to examine for this, hence coverage only goes to A.D. 13, although the Fasti themselves cover the whole period.
Fasti were also inscribed or painted in public inscriptions, and quite a large number of these are known. They are collected in Degrassi's book. A few additional fragaments have been published since then, but are of no importance for this study. The earliest surviving Fasti is the Fasti Antiates Maiores, which dates from about the 60s B.C. Fasti are known from as late as the third century A.D.
Far and away the most important of these is the Fasti Capitolini Consulares, the remains of which were discovered in the 16th century. This originally contained the complete canonical list, as determined by Augustan scholarship, down to the year before the death of Augustus, in A.D. 13. It gave complete names (with filiations) of ordinary and suffect consuls, and of consuls-designate who were not, for one reason or another, able to take up office. Every tenth year was explicitly dated according to a non-Varronian A.U.C. system in which A.U.C. 1 = 752 B.C., and many of these dates survive. Additionally, the Fasti recorded other offices, notably dictatorships and censorships, and noted years in which a census was completed, assigning each lustrum a number.
Unfortunately, the Fasti Capitolini Consulares do not survive in their entirety, and in any case they terminate in A.U.C. 766 = A.D. 13. They must be supplemented by other fasti for the early imperial period, such as the Fasti Ostienses, the Fasti Antiates Minores and the Fasti Magistrorum Vici. For the republic, the most important supplemental Fasti are the Fasti Capitolini Triumphales, which are also important for locating intercalary years. They originally gave a complete dated list of triumphs down to A.U.C. 735 = 19, and explicitly distinguished consular triumphs from proconsular triumphs.
The other major source of eponyms, of course, are the classical historians, particularly those who were organised annalistically. The three major ones are:
Livy, whose history covered Roman events till A.U.C. 745 = 9 B.C. For the period 218-167 it is a principal source. Unfortunately large sections of his history are lost, but for purposes of reconstructing the eponym list much of this material is still available in summaries (the Periochae) or derivative works such as Eutropius or Orosius.
Dio Cassius, whose history originally covered Roman events to the third century A.D. Again, large sections of this are lost, and for the third century B.C. it survives mostly through an epitome by the 12th century Byzantine politician-scholar Johannes Zonaras. However, for this period and for the early imperial period it is a major source for recovering eponyms.
Polybius also gives much annalistic data, originally derived from Roman historians now lost, for the third century B.C.
Additionally, incidental references in many other classical sources allow us to supply many of the details missing from the surviving fasti or annalistic historians. A complete listing (as of 1947) may be found in Degrassi.
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