(in an older form
), the market day,
division of the Calendar, and hence the market itself. The Romans had a
system of eight-day weeks, which, like our seven-day weeks, ran on from one
month to another and from one year to another without breaking, and starting
afresh with the new month or year, so that the nundinae was a day “qui
nono semper ab orbe redit” (Ov. Fast.
). By the ordinary inclusive reckoning the eighth day was
counted as the ninth and [p. 2.252]
the whole week, or period of eight days, being
termed inter nundinum,
or, in one adjective,
(tempus). The days were marked in
calendars by the letters A, B, C, D, E, , G, H, and it would naturally be
supposed posed that H would always be the letter of the nundinae; but this
was not so, because the 1st of January always began afresh with A, while the
first nundinae of the new year was invariably the eighth day after the last
nundinae of December, and consequently, unless the nundinae had fallen on
the 31st of December, was marked by a different letter, which belonged to
all the nundinae of that year. It may be observed that this system of
letters cannot belong to the earliest times, because the letter G was only
introduced in the third cent. B.C. But this does not prevent the eight-day
division being a very ancient Roman arrangement, as Dionysius (2.28
) and others describe it. (The
Sabines, however, even till the end of the Republic, had a seven-day week,
which appears in the fasti Sabini
3.281.) The countrymen, having worked
seven days in the fields, came into the towns on the eighth for the market
(Macrob. 1.16, 33; Verg. Moret.
80). The jus nundinorumn
--that is, the exclusive right of the dwellers in a
particular spot to hold the periodical markets for a particular
district--was granted by the senate (cf. Suet. Cl.
; Plin. Ep. 5.4
). As to the
regulations about law business and comitia on the nundinae, see DIES
Vol. I. p. 636, and COMITIA
Vol. I. p. 506 b;
as regards school holidays, LUDUS LITTERARIUS
The expression trinum nundinum
adjective trinundinus, trinundino die,
&c.) is disputed, and still open to dispute, both as to its grammar
and its meaning. The usual explanation is that it is a genitive from
with an ellipse of a word
and this is agreeable to the rule for the use of numerals in the best
Latinity, though the rule is not without exceptions, That Cicero took it as
a genitive is clear from de Dom.
16, 41; and its use
elsewhere is not against this, if we take trinundino
to be an adjective. The sense, according to this view,
is, such a period as to include three nundinae (i. e. seventeen days), from
the 1st to the 3rd nundinae. That Plutarch and Dionysius so understood it,
is clear from their rendering it by ἡ τρίτη
(Dionys. A. R. 7.58
). On the other hand, Mommsen brings instances which seem
to show that the period was longer than seventeen days, at any rate in
republican times, and he holds that it was a space of three complete internundina,
i.e. twenty-four days, and, if a
genitive at all, stands for trinorum nundinorum.
does not seem to us to overthrow beyond dispute the usual interpretation. It
might be suggested that, if the required notice had to extend over three
nundinae, it was originally a varying length, extending from seventeen days,
when notice was given on the nundinae, to twenty-three days, when the notice
was given just after a “market day” was past, and therefore the
trinundinum may sometimes come before us as a period longer than twenty days
(as in the cases cited by Mommsen), sometimes as a conventional term for
exactly seventeen days. For the notice required for holding COMITIA
see Vol. I. p. 533 a.
a later form of nundinum, is found = nundinae
(C. I. L.
8.408), and = internundinum (Macrob. l.c.
); but a use specially to be noticed is its
signification, the period of consulship.
the Empire, several pairs of consuls were created in one year [CONSUL,
Vol. I. p. 537], the period of a single
consulship was called nundinium
28, 43; Vopisc. Vit. Tacit.
9). (Marquardt, Staatsverwalt.