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. Porcius Cato, in B. C. 195.
The name was derived by the Romans from porcus,
a pig, and was compared with Ovinius, Caprilius,
all of which names indicated connection with the breeding or feeding of cattle. (Plut. Publ. 11
; Varr. de R. R.
2.1.) 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.