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(c. 40 - c. 102-104 CE)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis) was a Roman poet born in Augusta Blbilis in Spain around 40 CE. We don’t know much about the first 40 years of his life. He came to Rome in the time of Nero at the age of twenty. He knew rhetoric and grammar well. Soon he found influential protectors among senators and equites, ready to provide him with protection and modest support in exchange for escort services.

In his early works, he already complains about the client’s fate, getting up early, running from house to house, the ritual of morning greetings, tramping in your retinue. He is irritated by the sulk and greed of the rich, whom he has to beg for donations and gifts. He also wrote about his life in his poems. He received the title of a military tribune, Emperor Domitian raised him to the state of equites. After Domitian the poet left Rome. He published two more books of epigrams: the eleventh and another tenth, and then provided for the road by Pliny in 98 CE set off for his native Bilbilis.

He died between 102 and 104 CE.

Works: Martial’s most famous work is epigrams. He published twelve books of epigrams in which he often ridiculed various human attitudes. Besides, he also wrote Liber spectaculorum and “Xenia Apophoreta”.

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