Tremellius Scropha, Chauvinist Pig?

Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.6.30

“Tremellius Scropha received his cognomen in this way. At one time, Tremellius was at home with his family and children. When a neighbor’s sow (scropha) wandered onto the property, Tremellius’ slaves caught and killed it. The neighbor called his guards and surrounded the villa, so that the sow could not be taken away, and he ordered Tremellius to return the sow. Tremellius, learning the details of the matter from his estate-manager, hid the sow’s body under the blanket on which his wife was lying down, and allowed his neighbor to search the property. When they came to the bedroom, Tremellius pointed to the bed and swore a solemn oath: that there was no sow in the entire house except for that one which lay in the sheets. This exceptionally witty oath earned Tremellius the cognomen of ‘Scropha’ (‘the sow’).”

Tremellius vero Scropha cognominatus est eventu tali. Is Tremellius cum familia atque liberis in villa erat. Servi eius, cum de vicino scropha erraret, subreptam conficiunt: vicinus advocatis custodibus omnia circumvenit, ne qua ecferri possit: isque ad dominum appellat restitui sibi pecudem. Tremellius, qui ex vilico rem conperisset, scrophae cadaver sub centonibus conlocat super quos uxor cubabat: quaestionem vicino permittit. Cum ventum est ad cubiculum, verba iurationis concipit: nullam esse in villa sua scropham nisi istam, inquit, quae in centonibus iacet: lectulum monstrat. Ea facetissima iuratio Tremellio Scrophae cognomentum dedit.

Leave a Reply