Porcus ex grege diaboli

Sup all?

It’s time to parse some Latin, and for reasons that need to remain opaque I have picked something short and sweet.

Porcus ex grege diaboli.

It translates as ‘swine from the devils flock’ and so the question as ever is how do we get this?

Porcus is pretty straight-forward, meaning a tame swine, hog or pig.

Digressing slightly (having looked this up in my Lewis & Short), porculus (the diminutive) means a young swine, pig, porker or porkling.

If you felt so inclined, you could substitute porculus in place of porcus leaving you with the slightly more vitriolic :-

Porculus ex grege diaboli.

By the way, porcus marinus, sea hog was the original Latin name for porpoise.

Ex, taking the ablative as many Latin prepositions do, gives us ‘out of, from’.

And what about grege?

Obviously, we can guess that it means ‘flock, herd’ but that isn’t parsing Latin, it is guessing at a meaning.

In fact, it is a third declension noun with a nominative of grex and genitive of gregis with various meanings.

Knowing this, allow us to decline if, and it declines something like this:-

grex, grex, gregem, gregis, gregi, grege

I say something like this, as there is the possibility that I have mis-remembered my third declension nouns, and I’m not going to check.

So be warned.

However, grex, gregis looks suspiciously like rex, regis to me, a noun which I learnt as a model back in the day.

Grege is as we had hoped an ablative, and so ex grege looks like a good match for ‘from the flock’. No guessing.

That just leaves diaboli and I will give you a clue which is that the literal translation is

Swine from the flock OF the devil.

In other words, diaboli looks at first blush to be a genitive, and a quick glance in my dictionary tells me that it is a second declension masculine noun.

It will decline like so:-

diabolus, diabole, diabolum, diaboli, diabolo, diabolo.

The noun Diaboli is in the genitive meaning ‘of the devil’ and so our final translation is as we guessed.

But we now know that it is correct.

Besos and baci.

MF

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