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789
MARTIAL


received in Spain in the first century of the empire. The success of his countrymen may have been the motive which induced Martial to remove to Rome when he had completed his education. This he did in A.D. 64, one year before the fall of Seneca and Lucan, who were probably his earliest patrons. Of the details of his life for the first twenty years or so after he came to Rome we do not know much. He published some juvenile poems of which he thought very little in his maturer years, and he laughs at a foolish bookseller who would not allow them to die a natural death (i. 113). Martial had neither youthful passion nor youthful enthusiasm to make him precociously a poet. His faculty ripened with experience and with the knowledge of that social life which was both his theme and his inspiration; and many of his best epigrams are among those written in his last years. From many answers which he makes to the remonstrances of friends-among others to those of Quintilian-it may be inferred that he was urged to practise at the bar, but that he preferred his own lazy Bohemian kind of life. He made many influential friends and patrons, and secured the favour both of Titus and Domitian. From them he obtained various privileges, among others the semestris lfibunatus, which conferred on him equestrian rank. He failed, however, in his application to the latter for more substantial advantages, although he commemorates the glory of having been invited to dinner by him, and also the fact that he procured the privilege of citizenship for many persons in whose behalf he appealed to him. The earliest of his extant works, that known by the name of Liber speclaculorum, was first published at the opening of the Colosseum in the reign of Titus, and relates to the theatrical performances given by him; but the book as it now stands was given to the world in or about the first year of Domitian, i.e. about A.D. 81. The favour of the emperor procured him the countenance of some of the worst creatures at the imperial court-among them of the notorious Crispinus, and probably of Paris, the supposed author of ]uvenal's exile, for whose monument Martial afterwards wrote a eulogistic epitaph. The two books, numbered by editors xiii. and xiv., and known by the names of Xenia and Apophoreta-inscriptions in two lines each for presents, —were published at the Saturnalia of 84. In 86 he gave to the world the first two of the twelve books on which his reputation rests. From that time till his return to Spain in A.D. 98 he published a volume almost every year. The first nine books and the first edition of book x. appeared in the reign of Domitian; and book xi. at the end of A.D. 96, shortly after the accession of Nerva. A revised edition of book x., that which we now possess, appeared in A.D. 98, about the time of the entrance of Trajan into Rome. The last book was written after three years' absence in Spain, shortly before his death, which happened about the year A.D. 102 or 103.

These twelve books bring Martial's ordinary mode of life between the age of five-and-forty and sixty very fully before us. His regular home for five-and-thirty years was Rome. He lived at first up three pairs of stairs, and his “ garret ” overlooked the laurels in front of the portico of Agrippa. He had a small villa and unproductive farm near Nomentum, in the Sabine territory, to which he occasionally retired from the bores and noises of the city (ii. 38, xii. 57). In his later years he had also a small house on the Quirinal, near the temple of Quirinus. At the time when his third book was brought out he had retired for ashort time to Cisalpine Gaul, in weariness, as he tells us, of his unremunerative attendance on the levées of the great. For a time he seems to have felt the charm of the new scenes which he visited, and in a later book (iv. 2 5) he contemplates the prospect of retiring to the neighbourhood of Aquileia and the Timavus. But the spell exercised over him by Rome and Roman society was too great; even the epigrams sent from Forum Corneli and the Aemilian Way ring much more of the Roman forum, and of the streets, baths, porticos and clubs of Rome, than of the places from which they are dated. So too his motive for his final departure from Rome in A.D. 98 was a weariness of the burdens imposed on him by his social position, and apparently the difficulties of meeting the ordinary expenses of living in the metropolis (x. 96); and he looks forward to a return to the scenes familiar to his youth. The well-known epigram addressed to Iuvenal (xii. 18) shows that for a time his ideal was realized; but the more trustworthy evidence of the prose epistle prefixed to book xii. proves that his contentment was of short duration, and that he could not live happily away from the literary and social pleasures of Rome. The one consolation of his exile was the society of a lady, Marcella, of whom he writes rather as if she were his patroness and it seems to have been a necessity of his being to have always a patron or patroness-than his wife or mistress. During his life at Rome, although he never rose to a position of real independence, and had always a hard struggle with poverty, he seems to have known everybody, especially every one of any eminence at the bar or in literature. In addition to Lucan and Quintilian, he numbered among his friends or more intimate acquaintances Silius Italicus, juvenal, the younger Pliny; and there were many others of high position whose society and patronage he enjoyed. The silence which he and Statius, although authors writing at the same time, having common friends and treating often of the same subjects, maintain in regard to one another may be explained by mutual dislike or want of sympathy. Martial in many places shows an undisguised contempt for the artificial kind of epic on which Statius's reputation chiefly rests; and it seems quite natural that the respectable author of the Thebaid and the Silvae should feel little admiration for either the life or the works of the Bohemian epigrammatist.

Martial's faults are of the most glaring kind, and are exhibited without the least concealment. Living under perhaps the worst of the many bad emperors who ruled the world in the 1st century, he addresses him and his favourites with the most servile flattery in his lifetime, censures him immediately after his death (xii. 6), and offers incense at the shrine of his successor. He is not ashamed to be dependent on his wealthy friends and patrons for gifts of money, for his dinner, and even for his dress. We cannot feel sure that even what seem his sincerest tributes of regard may not be prompted by the hope of payment. Further, there are in every book epigrams which cannot be read with any other feelings than those of extreme distaste. These faults are so unmistakable and undeniable that many have formed their whole estimate of Martial from them, and have declined to make any further acquaintance with him. Even those who greatly admire his genius, and find the freshest interest in his representation of Roman life and his sketches of manners and character, do not attempt to palliate his faults, though they may partially account for them by reference to the morals of his age and the circumstances of his life. The age was one when literature had either to be silent or to be servile. Martial was essentially a man of letters: he was bound either to gain favour by his writings or to starve. Even Statius, whose writings are in other respects irreproachable, is nearly as fulsome in his adulation. The relation of client to patron had been recognized as an honourable one by the best Roman traditions. No blame had attached 'to Virgil or Horace on account of the favours which they received from Augustus and Maecenas, or of the return which they made for these' favours in their verse. That old honourable relationship had, however, greatly changed between Augustus and Domitian. Men of good birth and education, and sometimes even of high official position (Juv. i. 117), accepted the dole (sportula). Martial was merely following a general fashion in paying his court to “ a lord, ” and he made the best of the custom. In his earlier career he used to accompany his patrons to their villas at Baiae or Tibur, and to attend their morning levees. Later on he went to his own small country house, near Nomentum, and sent a poem, or a small volume of his poems, as his representative at the early visit. The fault of grossness Martial shares with nearly all ancient and many modern writers who treat of life from the baser or more ridiculous side. That he offends more than perhaps any of them is not, apparently, to be explained on