Friday, 16 October 2015

Introductory post: 'The man you read, the man you want...'

The man you read, the man you want - here he is: Martial, famous all round the world for his gossipy little books of epigrams. While he still lives and breathes, Avid Fan, you have conferred on him distinction such as few poets achieve when dead and gone.
 Marcus Valerius Martialis - 'Martial', to readers in English - was a poet in Latin in the late first century AD. He wrote epigrams - thousands of epigrams, a miniaturist on a massive scale. The Rome of his poems became the Rome of Martial and is still the big, bad city of our collective imaginings.

I'm Gideon Nisbet, I teach and research classics at the University of Birmingham in England, and I was lucky enough to be asked to translate Martial for the World's Classics series, published in paperback by Oxford University Press. This blog is for fellow Avid Fans. I'll post occasional thoughts about Martial and some further translations, which I hope you will enjoy.

A warning to readers: Martial is a member of a slave-owning, patriarchal, and (kind of) homophobic society; his poetry includes personal attacks, describes sexual acts, and uses obscene language.

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