Martial epigrams - (1919) PDF ebook

Martial epigrams

Martial epigrams

Piso in A.I). 65 threw Martial on his own resources. Quintilian seems to have advised him to take up a profession/ perhaps the bar, but Martial preferred, as he says, to make the most of life while he could, a note which he strikes consistently throughout his writings. Of his life up to A.D. 84 or 85, the date of the publication of Book I. of his epigrams, we know nothing. 

In A.D. 80, however, the collection known as the Liber Spectaculorum was published to celebrate the opening of the Colosseum by Titus. On the strength of this book, and the Xenia and Apophoreta (Books XIII. and XIV.) which were issued in A.D. 84 or 85, or of other writings that have not come down to us, Martial by A.D. 85 enjoyed an assured position as a poet, as he himself says, 2 "known all over the world," and equally widely plagiarised.

At Rome, he remained continuously for thirty-five years, and here all his books were published except Book III., which was issued from Gallia Cisalpina, whither he had gone in a fit of spleen at the poor rewards of literature. 3 In Book I. he speaks of himself 4 as living in a garret up three high flights of

stairs. Later on, by A.D. 94, he had a house of his own in the same quarter, the Quirinal, and a country villa at Momentum, 1 which according to his own account was a poor place. 

Whether these houses were purchased or given to him is unknown. During his thirty-five years' sojourn, he led the ordinary life of the needy client dependent on rich patrons, and he never ceases to complain of the weariness of levees to be attended, complimentary duties to be discharged at unreasonable hours and in all weathers- and of the insolence and stinginess of wealthy men. 

Yet he was not without compensations. Domitian rejected his petition for a sum of money, but he received from Titus the jus trium liberorum, a right confirmed by Domitian, and the tribunatus semestrix, a kind of honorary tribuneship carrying with it the title of a knight. 2 Moreover, he mixed in the best society in the capital, numbering among his friends Quintilian, the poets Silius and Valerius Flaccus, the younger Pliny, and Juvenal. 
That Martial was capable of a very sincere and lusting friendship is shown by many of his epigrams. It is curious that he never mentions Statius, nor is he mentioned by him. At the end of his thirty-five years' residence in Rome.

Pliny the Younger, in the short tribute which he pays to him on hearing of his death, wrote, "He had as much good-nature as wit and pungency in his writings"

the book details :
  • Author: Marcus Valerius Martialis was a Roman poet from Hispania best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan.
  • Translator: Walter C. A . Ker
  • Publication date: 1919-1920
  • Company: London : Heinemann; New York: Putnam

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