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On this page: Porcia Gens – Porcina – Porcius Festus – Porcius Latro – Porcius Septimius – Porph Yrion – Porphyrio – Porphyrius



thigh in order to show that she had a courageous soul and could be trusted with the secret. At the same time her affection for her husband was stronger than her stoicism, and on the morning of the 15th, her anxiety for his safety was so great that she fainted away, and word was brought to Brutus in the senate-house that his wife was dying. She parted with Brutus at Velia in Lucania in the course of the same year, when he embarked for Greece. She then returned to Rome, where she continued to live un­molested by the triumvirs. But after she learnt the loss of the battle of Philippi and the death of Brutus in b. c. 42, she resolved not to survive the ruin of her party and the death of her husband, and accordingly put an end to her own life. The common tale was, that her friends, suspecting her design, had taken all weapons out of her way, and that she therefore destroyed herself by swal­lowing live coals. The real fact may have been that she suffocated herself by the vapour of a charcoal fire, which we know was a frequent means of self-destruction among the Romans. (Pint. Cat. 25, 73, Brut. 2, 13, 15, 23, 33 ; Dion Cass. xliv. 13, xlvii. 49 ; Appian, B.C. iv. 136 ; Val. Max. iii. 2. § 5, iv. 6. § 5 ; Polyaen. viii. 32 ; Martial, i. 43.)

3. The daughter of Cato Uticensis by his second wife Marcia. She remained with her mother in Rome when her father left the city in b. c. 49 on Caesar's approach. . (Plut. Cat. 52.) She probably died young.

PORCIA GENS, plebeian, is not mentioned till the middle of the third century before the Christian aera ; and the first member of the gens, who obtained the consulship, was the celebrated M. Porciue Cato, in b. c. 195. The name was derived by the Romans from porcus, a pig, and was compared with Ovinius, Caprilius, and Taurus, all of which names indicated connection with the breeding or feeding of cattle. (Plut. Public. 11 ; V&n.deR.R. ii. 1.) The Porcii were divided into three families under the republic, namely, those of laeca, licinus, and cato, all of which names appear on coins. In the imperial period we find two or three other cognomens, which are given below.

PORCINA, an agnomen of M. Aemilius Lepi-dus, consul b. c. 137.




PORPHYRIO, POMPO'NIUS, the most valuable among the ancient commentators on Ho­race. His annotations, however, in common with those of all the earlier Latin scholiasts, have been so altered and interpolated by the transcribers of the middle ages, that it is extremely difficult, and, in many cases impossible, to separate the genuine matter from what is supposititious. We know no­thing regarding the history of Porphyrio, nor the period when he flourished, except that he was, if we can trust Charisius (p. 196, ed. Lindemann), later than Festus, and that he must have been later than Aero also, whom he quotes (ad Hor. Sat. i. 8. 25, ii. 3. 33.) (See Suringar, Ilistoria Crit. Scholiast. Lat.} For the editions of Porphyrio, see the notice of the editions of hor ati us. [ W. R.]

PORPH YRION (nop^upiW). L One of the giants, a son of Uranus and Ge. During the fight between the giants and the gods, when Porphyrion intended to offer violence to Hera, or,


according to others, attempted to throw the island of Delos against the gods, Zeus hurled a thunder­bolt at him, and Heracles completed his destruction with his arrows. (Apollod. i. 6. § 1, &c. ; Pind. Pyth. viii. ] 2 ; Horat. Carm. iii. 4. 54; Claudian, Gigantom. 114, &c.)

2. According to a tradition of the Athmonians, the most ancient king in Attica; he is said to have reigned even before Actaeus, and to have in­ troduced into Attica the worship of Aphrodite. (Pans. i. 2. § 5, 14. §6.) [L. S.]

PORPHYRIUS (UopQdpios), the celebrated antagonist of Christianity, was a Greek philosopher of the Neo-Platonic school. Eunapius and Suidas (following no doubt, Porphyrius himself, Vit. Plot. 8, p. 107), in their biographies call him a Tyrian ; but both St. Jerome (Praef. Epist. ad Gal.} and St. Chrysostom (Homil VI. in I. ad Corinth, p. 58) term him Earavec^rrjs^ a word on the fancied correction of which a good deal of ingenuity has been unnecessarily expended ; some imagining that it is a corruption of some term of reproach (such as fioTavKarys, herb-eater, pioQdvaros, or /BaAavecvTTjs). The more reasonable view is that the word is correct enough, and describes more accurately the birth-place of Porphyrius,—Batanea, the Bashan of Scripture. To account for his being called a Tyrian some have supposed that he was originally of Jewish origin, and having first embraced, and afterwards renounced Christianity, called himself a Tyrian to conceal his real origin. Heumann, mak­ing a slight alteration in the text of Chrysostom, supposed that Porphyrius falsely assumed the epi­thet BaTa^eouTTjy, to induce the belief that he was of Jewish origin, that his statements with regard to the Jewish Scriptures might have the more weight. None of these conjectures seems in any degree pro­bable. The least improbable view is that of Jon^ sius, who is followed by Fabricius, Brucker, and others, that there was a Tyrian settlement in the district of Batanea, and that Porphyrius was born there, but, from the neighbourhood of the more im­portant place, called himself, and was called by others, a Tyrian. (Brucker, Hist. Crit. Phil. vol. ii. p. 240 ; Harles, ad Fabr. Bibl. Gi\ vol. v. p. 725.)

The original name of Porphyrius was Malchus (MaA%os, the Greek form of the Syrophoenician Melech), a word, as he himself tells us, which signified king. His father bore the same name, and was a man of distinguished family (Porph. Vit. Plot. c. 16). Aurelius, in dedicating a work to him, styled him BacrtAeus. The more euphonious name TloptyvpLos (in allusion to the usual colour of royal robes), was subsequently devised for him by his preceptor Longinus (Eunap. Porph. p. 13 ; Suid. s. v.). Suidas states that he lived in the reign of Aurelian, and died in that of Diocletian. Eunapius says, more explicitly, that he lived in the reigns of Gallienus, Claudius, Tacitus, Aurelian, and Probus. Porphyrius himself tells us that he was thirty years of age when he first became the pupil of Plotinus, which was in the tenth year of the reign of Gallienus ( Vit. Plot. c. 4. p. 99) ; the date of his birth was, therefore, a. d, 233.

From Porphyrius himself, as quoted by Eusebius (H.E. iii. 19 ; coinp. Proclus, in Tim. i. p. 20), it appears that when very young he was placed under the instruction of Origen. This could not have been, as some have imagined, at Alexandria, for about the time of the birth of Porphyrius Origen

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