שית שנין יתירתא סבור רבנן קמיה דרב' למימר האי שטר מאוחר הוא ניעכביה עד דמטיא זמניה ולא טריף אמר רב נחמן האי ספרא דוקנא כתביה והנך שית שנין דמלכו בעילם דאנן לא חשבינן להו הוא קחשיב ליה ובזמניה כתביה
a date that had six additional years relative to the correct scribal date, which takes for its starting point the beginning of Greek rule. The Sages who studied before Rabba thought to say: This is a postdated promissory note, which can be used only from the date it specifies. Therefore, let us hold it until its time arrives so that the creditor will not repossess property that the debtor sold prior to the date that appears in the note. Rav Naḥman disagreed and said: This promissory note was written by an exacting scribe, and those six years are referring to the years when the Greeks ruled only in Elam. We do not count them, as Greek rule had not yet spread throughout the world, but he does count them. And therefore he wrote in the promissory note the correct time, as the date does in fact match the year in which the promissory note was written.
דתניא ר' יוסי אומר שש שנים מלכו בעילם ואח"כ פשטה מלכותן בכל העולם כולו:
Rav Naḥman cites a proof for his resolution: As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei says: The Greeks ruled for six years in Elam alone, and afterward their dominion spread throughout the entire world. It is the later event that serves as the basis for the dating system used by most scribes.
מתקיף לה רב אחא בר יעקב ממאי דלמלכות יונים מנינן דלמא ליציאת מצרים מנינן ושבקיה לאלפא קמא ונקטיה אלפא בתרא והאי מאוחר הוא אמר רב נחמן בגולה אין מונין אלא למלכי יונים בלבד
Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov objects to Rav Naḥman’s answer: From where is it known that we count years according to the Greek rule, and that this promissory note was dated according to a system that uses the Greek rule as a starting point and was written by an exacting scribe? Perhaps we count the years using the exodus from Egypt as the starting point, which occurred one thousand years before the start of the Greek rule, and in this case the scribe left out the first thousand years from the time of the exodus and held on only to the last thousand years, omitting the thousands digit and writing merely the hundreds, tens, and single digits. And if so, this promissory note is postdated. Rav Naḥman said in response: The practice is that in the exile we count years only according to the Greek kings.
הוא סבר דחויי קא מדחי ליה נפק דק ואשכח דתניא בגולה אין מונין אלא למלכי יונים בלבד
Upon hearing this reply, Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov thought: Rav Naḥman is merely deflecting my legitimate questions with this answer. Afterward, he went out, examined the matter, and discovered that it was as Rav Naḥman said. As it is taught in a baraita: In the exile we count years only according to the Greek kings.
אמר רבינא מתניתין נמי דיקא דתנן באחד בניסן ר"ה למלכים ולרגלים ואמרינן למלכים למאי הלכתא אמר רב חסדא לשטרות
Ravina said: The mishna is also precisely formulated, as it teaches that we calculate years according to the Greek kings. As we learned in a mishna (Rosh HaShana 2a): On the first of Nisan is the New Year for kings and for the Festivals. And we say about this: With regard to what halakha is it stated that the first of Nisan is the New Year for kings? Rav Ḥisda said: It is said with regard to dating documents and determining their validity.
ותנן באחד בתשרי ר"ה לשנים ולשמיטין ואמרינן לשנים למאי הלכתא ואמר רב חסדא לשטרות קשיא שטרות אהדדי
And we learned in the same mishna: On the first of Tishrei is the New Year for counting years and for calculating Sabbatical cycles. And we say: With regard to what halakha is it stated that the first of Tishrei is the New Year for counting years? And Rav Ḥisda said: It is said with regard to dating documents. These two statements with regard to the dating of documents are difficult in light of each other, as according to one statement the dating system is based on Nisan as the first month, whereas according to the other the year begins in Tishrei.
ומשנינן כאן למלכי ישראל כאן למלכי עובדי כוכבים למלכי עובדי כוכבים מתשרי מנינן למלכי ישראל מניסן מנינן
And we resolved the contradiction by explaining that here the dating is according to kings of Israel, and there the dating is according to the kings of the gentile nations of the world. That is, when we date years according to the kings of the nations of the world, we count from the month of Tishrei, whereas when we date years according to the kings of Israel, we count from the month of Nisan.
ואנן השתא מתשרי מנינן ואי ס"ד ליציאת מצרים מנינן מניסן בעינן למימני אלא לאו ש"מ למלכי יונים מנינן ש"מ:
Ravina explains his proof: And now that we count from the month of Tishrei when dating documents, one can claim as follows: If it enters your mind that we count and date years using the exodus from Egypt as the starting point, while leaving off the first thousand years, then we should count from the month of Nisan, when the exodus occurred. Rather, isn’t it correct to conclude from the mishna that we count years according to the Greek kings? The Gemara affirms: Conclude from it that the scribal years are in fact calculated according to the Greek kings. Therefore, one should explain as did Rav Naḥman: A promissory note that appears to be postdated by six years may not actually be a postdated promissory note; rather, it is assumed to have been written by an exacting scribe.
ויום גינוסיא של מלכיהם וכו': מאי ויום גינוסיא של מלכיהם אמר רב יהודה יום שמעמידין בו עובדי כוכבים את מלכם והתניא יום גינוסיא ויום שמעמידין בו את מלכם לא קשיא הא דידיה הא דבריה
§ One of the gentile festivals listed in the mishna is the day of the festival [geinuseya] of their kings. The Gemara asks: What is meant by: The day of geinuseya of their kings? Rav Yehuda says: This is referring to the day on which the gentiles appoint and crown their king. The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: Two gentile festivals are the day of geinuseya and the day on which the gentiles appoint their king? This indicates that these are two separate occasions. The Gemara answers that it is not difficult: This, the day of geinuseya, is referring to the coronation of the king himself, whereas that, the day on which the gentiles appoint and crown their king, is referring to the coronation of his son, when a son is crowned during his father’s lifetime.
ומי מוקמי מלכא בר מלכא והתני רב יוסף (עובדיה א, ב) הנה קטן נתתיך בגוים שאין מושיבין מלך בן מלך (עובדיה א, ב) בזוי אתה מאד שאין להן לא כתב ולא לשון אלא מאי יום גינוסיא יום הלידה
The Gemara asks: And do the Romans actually appoint as king the son of the king? But didn’t Rav Yosef teach: The verse relating a prophesy about Edom, associated with the Roman Empire: “Behold, I made you small among the nations” (Obadiah 1:2), is a reference to the fact that the Romans do not place on the throne as king the son of the king. The continuation of the verse: “You are greatly despised,” is a reference to the fact that the Romans have neither their own script nor their own language, but use those of other nations. The Gemara therefore rejects the explanation of the baraita that distinguishes between coronation of a king and coronation of the king’s son: Rather, what is the day of geinuseya? It is the king’s birthday.
והתניא יום גינוסיא ויום הלידה לא קשיא הא דידיה הא דבריה
The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: Two gentile festivals are the day of geinuseya and the birthday. Once again, these two events cannot be the same. The Gemara answers: It is not difficult: This, the day of geinuseya, is referring to the birthday of the king himself, whereas that, the birthday mentioned in the baraita, is referring to the birthday of his son.
והתניא יום גינוסיא שלו יום גינוסיא של בנו ויום הלידה שלו ויום הלידה של בנו אלא מאי יום גינוסיא יום שמעמידין בו מלכם ולא קשיא הא דידיה הא דבריה
The Gemara further asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: The day of geinuseya of the king, the day of geinuseya of his son, and the king’s birthday and the birthday of his son? If so, the geinuseya cannot be either his or his son’s birthday. Rather, what is meant by the day of geinuseya? In fact it is referring to the day on which the gentiles appoint and crown their king. And the fact that a baraita mentions both the day of geinuseya and the day on which the gentiles appoint and crown their king is not difficult, as this, the day of geinuseya, is referring to his own coronation, whereas that, the day on which the gentiles appoint and crown their king, is referring to the coronation of his son.
ואי קשיא לך דלא מוקמי מלכא בר מלכא ע"י שאלה מוקמי כגון אסוירוס בר אנטונינוס דמלך
And if it is difficult for you that which was stated earlier, that the Romans do not appoint as king the son of the king, in fact they do appoint a son of the king as king through the request of the king. For example, there was Asveirus, son of Antoninus, who ruled at the request of Antoninus.
א"ל אנטונינוס לרבי בעינא דימלוך אסוירוס ברי תחותי ותתעביד טבריא קלניא ואי אימא להו חדא עבדי תרי לא עבדי אייתי גברא ארכביה אחבריה ויהב ליה יונה לעילאי בידיה וא"ל לתתאה אימר לעילא דלמפרח מן ידיה יונה אמר שמע מינה הכי קאמר לי את בעי מינייהו דאסוירוס ברי ימלוך תחותי ואימא ליה לאסוירוס דתעביד טבריא קלניא
The Gemara provides the background for this assertion. It is related that Antoninus said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: I wish for Asveirus my son to rule instead of me, and that the city Tiberias be released [kelaneya] from paying taxes. And if I tell the Roman senate one of my wishes, they will do as I wish, but if I ask for two of them they will not do as I wish. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi conveyed his answer in the following manner: He brought a man, placed him on the shoulders of another man, and put a dove in the hands of the one on top. And he said to the one on the bottom: Tell the one on top that he should cause the dove to fly from his hands. Antoninus said to himself: Learn from it that this is what Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is saying to me: You should ask the Senate: Let Asveirus my son rule instead of me, and say to Asveirus that he should release Tiberias from paying taxes.
א"ל מצערין לי חשובי [רומאי] מעייל ליה לגינא כל יומא עקר ליה פוגלא ממשרא קמיה אמר ש"מ הכי קאמר לי את קטול חד חד מינייהו ולא תתגרה בהו בכולהו
Antoninus also said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: Important Romans are upsetting me; what can I do about them? Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi brought him to his garden, and every day he uprooted a radish from the garden bed before him. Antoninus said to himself: Learn from it that this is what Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is saying to me: You should kill them one by one, and do not incite all of them at once.