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It is well-known that the Romans referred to a particular year by reporting the names of the two consuls that had been elected to serve during that year. We have numerous inscriptions that confirm this (see here for a few examples).

However, how did they do this in conversation, or in prose? More specifically:

  • How did they differentiate between different years during which the same magistrate was in charge? Inscriptions just use numerals (e.g. M CLAUDIO MARCELLO II CON), but I wonder how they would have read it out loud.
  • If necessary, would they have specified that there was a dictator in charge, and how? And what about consules suffecti, tribuni consulares, and consules sine collega? Do these specifications pertain exclusively to inscriptional writing?
  • I doubt dictators would figure in the year labels much, simply because they were generally in position for less than a year - while the cycle of consular elections was (mostly) nice and regular. – SamBC Jan 31 at 22:57

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