Calendrical Synchronisms

There are several cross-calendrical synchronisms that could be used to reconstruct Roman chronology. However, many of them are much less useful than one might expect. For the pre-Julian period I have found the following:

For the early Julian calendar there are five additional synchronisms:

Eight of the synchronisms listed are taken from epigraphic sources of the second and first centuries B.C., and three more are papyrological. Several of these have been overlooked by most Roman chronologists. Only five are from literary sources, and the most important of these, the synchronism provided by Plutarch for Sulla's sack of Athens. has been generally overlooked. The Sack of Athens, and the epigraphic synchronisms for A.U.C. 687 = 67 and A.U.C. 614 = 140, are vital to reconstructing the Lex Acilia.

I found two of these epigraphic synchronisms -- those for A.U.C. 614 = 140 and A.U.C. 698 = 56 -- in R. K. Sherk, Rome and the Greek East to the Death of Augustus, a compilation of epigraphic translations; that of A.U.C. 642 = 112 was first brought to my attention by Mark Passehl. More such synchronisms ought to exist for this period, since at this time Rome was a dominant force in Greece and Asia Minor, areas with their own independent calendars and a strong epigraphic tradition. They may well be sitting there unrecognised in the epigraphical literature. Such synchronisms are by far our best bet for ever making progress in nailing down the exact chronology of those years. Nevertheless they are unlikely to be straightforward, both for epigraphic reasons and because in many cases, such as that of A.U.C. 584 = 170, they may be synchronisms to calendars that are less well understood than the Roman one.

Additional synchronisms in the third century or earlier, unfortunately, are not to be expected, since Roman rule in this period did not cover areas with a known calendar and a strong epigraphic tradition. The only possible source of epigraphic data for this period is Sicily and Greek Italy.

Finally, additional synchronisms for the early Julian period may well emerge from Egyptian papyri. Specifically, a double date in the range of 1 B.C. - A.D. 4 would confirm or refute the model of the early Julian calendar developed here.

If you know of any others please contact me.

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