Cato the heavyweight

In Petermann’s Latin translation of the Armenian version of Eusebius’ Chronicle one finds reference to “Cato Porkius”.  Somehow I had always thought of him as a well-built man…

Porkius is just Porcius — we would say Marcus Porcius Cato–, and it indicates the hard-sound that ‘c’ had in antiquity.  In medieval times the ‘c’ sound would alternate with ‘t’; so we find manuscripts of Tertullian’s De patientia where it reads De patiencia, which gives our own word ‘patience’.

1 Response to “Cato the heavyweight”


  1. Chris Weimer

    It’s not just a “t” sound, but a “t” followed by an i, e, ae, or oe, the latter two usually dropping to merely “e”, the letters which soften both the /k/ sound of c and the /t/ sound of t into a /tʃ/, or the modern “ch” in church.