(Marcus Valerius Martialis)40–102
|FAMOUS ROMAN WRITERS|
Valerius Martialis was part of a literary circle in Rome that thrived near the turn of the first
century, sometimes called the Silver Age
of Latin literature. He was born in Spain,
into fairly modest circumstances, but as a young man, moved to Rome. His first patrons were Seneca
and Lucan, whose families were also from Spain. Both however, were put to death as a result of a
conspiracy against Nero. His later patrons included the Flavian emperors, Pliny the Younger,
Juvenal, and Quintilian. Martial was primarily known for his epigrams, which were very witty, short
sayings. Epigrams were sometimes written on monuments or tombstones, and in an age when writing was
difficult, were highly valued. He was also known as a wit, and was a frequent guest at fashionable
homes in Rome. Martial first became known for a collection of poems entitled Liber
, that was published 81 A
. in honor of the Flavian Colosseum. This was followed
by two collections of short mottos, entitled Xenia
. His most
famous works however, were the twelve books of Epigrams
that he published, at
approximately one per year, from 86 to 98 A
Key events during the life of Martial:
||Raised in Bilbilis, Spain
||Early patrons in Rome were Seneca and Lucan.
||Seneca and Lucan are put to death in one of Nero's purges.
||Befriended Pliny the Younger, Juvenal, Quintilan.
||Published Liber Spectaculorum.
||Published Xenia and Apophoreta.
||Published first two books of Epigrams.
||Published twelfth book of Epigrams.
||Tutor and minister to Nero. Forced to commit suicide after falling from grace.
||Satirical poet; ridiculed the vices of imperial Roman society.
||Teacher of Rhetoric. Wrote Institutio Oratoria. Pliny and Tacitus were students.
||Third Flavian emperor. Known for purges and persecutions near end of reign.
||Second Flavian emperor. Conquered Jerusalem. Reigned with father Vespasian.
|Pliny the Younger
||Roman statesman and and orator. His letters are important historical sources.