Publication Date: August 13, 2002
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Martial, the father of the epigram, was one of the brilliant provincial poets who made their literary mark on first-century Rome. His Epigrams can be affectionate or cruel, elegiac or playful; they target every element of Roman society, from slaves to schoolmasters to, above all, the aristocratic elite. With wit and wisdom, Martial evokes not “the grandeur that was Rome,” but rather the timeless themes of urban life and society.
James Michie studied classics at Trinity College, Oxford. His other translations include The Poems of Catullus and Horace’s Odes (available as a Modern Library Paperback Classic). His Collected Poems was awarded the Hawthornden Prize.
Shadi Bartsch is Chair of the Department of Classics at the University of Chicago, the editor in chief of Classical Philology, and the author of Decoding the Ancient Novel; Ideology in Cold Blood: A Reading of Lucan’s “Civil War”; and Actors in the Audi-ence: Theatricality and Doublespeak from Nero to Hadrian.
“Martial, . . . concentrating on the epigram as his one form of literary expression, brought it to a pitch of technical perfection never afterwards rivaled.” —Peter Howell