BORN at Bilbilis, a town in the province of Tarraconensis in Spain, Martial came to Rome in 64 A. D., when he was about twenty years of age. Throughout the whole period of his residence in the capital he was a client, one of that numerous class of needy dependents who relied for their support solely upon the generosity of their patrons. It was not at any time a position of dignity, but in the case of Martial, who had no difficulty in securing the patronage of rich and influential citizens, it carried with it a fair competence, and afforded him boundless opportunities for coming in contact with those sides of Roman life which furnished the best material for the pen of the epigrammatist.
The Liber Spectaculorum, a collection of pieces on shows given mostly in the Flavian Amphitheatre, twelve books of Epigrams, and two books of Xenia and Apophoreta, distichs intended to accompany presents such as were exchanged on the Saturnalia, make up the list of Martial's extant works. In the Epigrams, which are the poet's most important contribution to Latin literature, we find a great variety of subjects. It was the field that he made peculiarly his own, and he worked in it with such success that from his time down to the present day his name has been identified with the Epigram as a literary type. When we attempt to select individual pictures from the long gallery which he has left us, we find ourselves confronted by an embarrassment of riches. He had a quick eye for the
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Publication information: Book title: Masterpieces of Latin Literature:Terence: Lucretius: Catullus: Virgil: Horace: Tibullus: Propertius: Ovid: Petronius: Martial: Juvenal: Cicero: Caesar: Livy: Tacitus: Pliny the Younger: Apuleius; with Biographical Sketches and Notes. Contributors: Gordon Jennings Laing - Editor. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin and Company. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1903. Page number: 393.