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 reflected on the ethical views and concerns of his readership.…

3550 words

Citation: Spisak, Arthur. "Martial". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2007 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

2960 Martial 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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