Publication Date: 11/06/2015 ISBN: 9780199645459 Category:


Martial, Gideon Nisbet

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 11/06/2015 ISBN: 9780199645459 Category:
Paperback / Softback


Become the envy of all book lovers with your own Mr B’s sticker to show off where you do your shopping.



‘If you’re one of those terribly serious readers, now is a good time to leave.’

The poet we call Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis, lived by his wits in first-century Rome. Pounding the mean streets of the Empire’s capital, he takes apart the pretensions, addictions, and cruelties of its inhabitants with perfect comic timing and killer punchlines. Social climbers and sex-offenders, rogue traders and two-faced preachers – all are subject to his forensic annihilations and often foul-mouthed verses. Packed with incident and detail, Martial’s epigrams bring Rome vividly to life in all its variety; biting satire rubs alongside tender friendship, lust for life beside sorrow for loss. Gossipy, clever, and above all entertaining, they express amusement as much as indignation at the vices they expose.

This selection brings Martial to a twenty-first century readership in a prose translation that pulls no punches and presents him in all his moods. It establishes his originality as a literary author, and the significance of his achievement as the poet who conquered epigram for Rome.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Publisher Review

This translation is offering not only a reasonably comprehensive view of Martial's literary universe, but also a pleasant experience. Gideon Nisbet's version of Martial's Rome and Martial's world is enjoyable and lively. * Carmen Fenechiu, Journal of Ancient History and Archeology * Martial is an epigrammatist of unmatched range and brilliance. Treating life, society and human foibles with coruscating wit, he mixes vicious abuse, frequently sexual, of individuals with biting satire on human weakness and lyrical reflections on Rome, friendship and country life. In his extremely useful edition Gideon Nisbet selects over 300 of his subject's c. 1600 poems, doing full justice to Martial's range. * Peter Jones, Classics for All *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible