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Description - Martial by Peter Howell

Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis) was a Spanish writer who lived in Rome in the second half of the first century AD. He wrote only in the genre of epigram, invented by the Greeks, which he chose because of his dislike of all that was pretentious and escapist in contemporary literature, where stale mythological topics were regarded as both 'elevated' and, in times of political danger, safe. His own boundless interest in the life he saw around him in Rome, and his sense of humour, led him to prefer to express himself in short and highly polished poems. He brought the genre to such a pitch of perfection that his work has defined it for subsequent authors. Although only a limited number of his own epigrams conform to the dictionary definition as 'a short poem ending in a witty turn of thought', their effectiveness has shaped this definition. This book tells what we know about the man's commonsense attitude to life, and his hatred of hypocrisy and malice. It assesses his debt to literary tradition and the astonishing influence he had on later writers. Part of the "Ancient in Action" series this new series of short incisive books introduces major figures of the ancient world to the modern general reader, including the essentials of each subject's life, works, and significance for later western civilisation.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781853997020
ISBN-10: 1853997021
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 135mm x 13mm)
Pages: 128
Imprint: Bristol Classical Press
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 26-Feb-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Peter Howell

Peter Howell was Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London until his retirement in 1999. He is the author of "A Commentary on Book I of the Epigrams of Martial" (1980) and "Martial: The Epigrams, Book V" (1995).

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