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(Marcus Valerius Martialis) (mär`shəl), c.A.D. 40–c.A.D. 104, Roman epigrammatic poet, b. Bilbilis, Spain. After A.D. 64 he lived in Rome for many years, winning fame by his wit and poetic gifts. He enjoyed the patronage of TitusTitus
(Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus) , A.D. 39–A.D. 81, Roman emperor (A.D. 79–A.D. 81). Son of Emperor Vespasian, Titus was closely associated with his father in military campaigns, and after A.D. 71 he acted as coruler with the emperor.
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, DomitianDomitian
(Titus Flavius Domitianus) , A.D. 51–A.D. 96, Roman emperor (A.D. 81–A.D. 96), son of Vespasian. Although intended as the heir to his older brother, Titus, he was given no important posts.
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, and Pliny the Younger (see under Pliny the ElderPliny the Elder
(Caius Plinius Secundus) , c.A.D. 23–A.D. 79, Roman naturalist, b. Cisalpine Gaul. He was a friend and fellow soldier of Vespasian, and he dedicated his great work to Titus.
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) and the friendship of JuvenalJuvenal
(Decimus Junius Juvenalis) , fl. 1st to 2d cent. A.D., Roman satirical poet. His verse established a model for the satire of indignation, in contrast to the less harsh satire of ridicule of Horace.
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 and QuintilianQuintilian
(Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) , c.A.D. 35–c.A.D. 95, Roman rhetorician, b. Calagurris (now Calahorra), Spain. He taught rhetoric at Rome (Pliny the Younger and possibly Tacitus were among his pupils) and, as a public teacher, was endowed with a salary by
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. He wrote more than 1,500 epigrams, most of which concern aspects of life in urban Rome, particularly its follies and excesses, and many of which deal openly and often scathingly with the sexual practices of his contemporaries. Martial's verses are frequently characterized by a twist of wit at the end as well as by original meter and form, and have become models for the modern epigramepigram,
a short, polished, pithy saying, usually in verse, often with a satiric or paradoxical twist at the end. The term was originally applied by the Greeks to the inscriptions on stones. The epigrams of the Latin poet Martial established the form for many later writers.
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See The Epigrams of Martial, tr. by J. Michie (1973); Epigrams/Martial, 3 vol., tr. by D. R. Shackleton Bailey (1993); Martial's Epigrams: A Selection, tr. by G. Wills (2008).



(Marcus Valerius Martialis). Born c. A.D. 40, in Bilbilis, Spain; died there c. A.D. 104. Roman poet.

Martial wrote 15 books of epigrams—three with a common theme (Liber spectaculorum, Apophoreta, Xenia) and 12 of mixed content. These witty epigrams depict the life of various social strata; they are apt, mocking, and refined miniatures. His works were highly thought of by G. E. Lessing and J. W. Goethe and, in Russia, by M. V. Lomonosov, P. A. Viazemskii, and A. S. Pushkin.


Martialis epigrammaton, I-XIV. Edited by C. Giarratano. Turin, 1916; 3rd ed. Turin, 1951.
Epigrams, vols. 1-2. London, 1968.
In Russian translation:
Epigrammy. Moscow [1968].


Istoriia rimskoi literatury, vol. 2. Edited by S. I. Sobolevskii [et al.]. Moscow, 1962.
Barwick, K. Martial und die zeitgenössische Rhetorik. Berlin, 1959.


full name Marcus Valerius Martialis. ?40--?104 ad, Latin epigrammatist and poet, born in Spain
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