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Question 103. Why do they call those whose fathers are not known Spurius?

Solution. It is not verily—as the Grecians suppose and as the rhetoricians say in their determinations—because they are begot of some promiscuous and common seed (as the Greeks say σπόρος). But Spurius is found [p. 259] among first names, as Sextus, Decimus, Caius. But the Romans do not write all the letters of the first name; but either one letter, as T. for Titus, L. for Lucius, M. for Marcus; or two letters, as Ti. for Tiberius, Cn. for Cnaeus; or three, as Sex. for Sextus, and Ser. for Servius. Now Spurius is of those that are written with two letters, Sp. But with these same letters they write without father, S. for sine, and P. for patre, which truly hath caused the mistake. Moreover, we may meet with another reason, but it is more absurd. They say, that the Sabines called the privities of a woman spurious; and therefore they call him so, by way of reproach, who is born of a woman unmarried and unespoused.

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