🔼The name Porcius: Summary
- Belonging To Swine
- From the noun porcus, hog or pig.
🔼The name Porcius in the Bible
The nomen Porcius is well attested in Roman literature. The famous Roman statesman and historian Cato the Elder's name was fully Marcus Porcius Cato, which was identical to that of his equally distinguished grandson Cato the Younger. The feminine form of Porcius, namely Porcia, belonged to the sister of Cato the Younger and aunt of Brutus the Liberator (one of the assassins of Julius Caesar), and also to the latter's wife.
The so-called Lex Porcia (named after a legislator from the Porcius family) was a continuation of an ancient Roman law (namely Lex Valeria) that dealt with punishment and the right to appeal, and most importantly provided a set of rules which made it very difficult for one person to assume tyrannical power, and legal for others to kill anyone who tried. It was this law which gave the Liberators the courage and perceived legal right to assassinate Julius Caesar (see our articles on the names Philippi and Pilate for more on this).
🔼Etymology of the name Porcius
The name Porcius comes from the noun porcus, meaning hog or pig (hence our word "pork"). This word was sometimes used derogatorily to denote a human glutton, but in general, the Romans held the hog in much higher regard than we do today (hence the feminine name Porcia, which means Sow).
The pig was one of three animals sacrificed to Mars in the most sacred rite called suovetaurilia, and several other deities were understood to find pleasure in the sacrifice of pigs.
Hence hogs were bred on an industrial scale — there was even such a thing as pig-tax, although it's not quite clear what that was all about — and this probably also explains why there were herds of pigs available for Jesus to send demons into (read our article on the name Legion for a more detailed look at this).
The name Porcius means Belonging To Swine or With Swine or something of that order. It probably originated as the title of herdsmen of hog breeder, or perhaps that of a religious authority specialized in slaughtering and sacrificing pigs.