Marcus Valerius Martialis, or Martial, as he is generally now known, was unique in the particular type of poetry he wrote and its effect. Following in the Indo-European tradition of the blame poet, he had special license to treat social transgressions with cutting wit and humor, as well as with extreme frankness, which included the use of obscenities and graphic sexual content. Typically Martial, in reaction to any perceived deterioration of norms of behavior, ridiculed socially aberrant and dangerously destructive behavior; or, less often, in an effort to prescribe and encourage socially acceptable behavior, he praised examples of ideal behavior. The aggregate result of this blame and praise poetry was a guide that voiced and …

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Citation:
Spisak, Arthur. "Martial". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2960, accessed 23 July 2014.]

Articles on Martial's works

  1. Epigrams