A Commentary on Martial

Book Details

Author  Christer HenriksĂ©n
Publisher  Oxford University Press
Publication Date   October 15, 2012
ISBN  0199606315
Pages  608

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Description

In this volume, Henriksen offers the first extensive commentary on Book 9 of the Epigrams of M. Valerius Martialis (ca. AD 40-104), who published fifteen books of Epigrams during the last two decades of the 1st century AD. Firmly established in a literary tradition that had begun in Greece more than half a millennium earlier, Martial's work represents the height of the development of ancient epigram. Conscious of his own times and society, Martial often engages current genres and his great Roman predecessors, such as Catullus, Vergil, and Ovid, in an intertextual dialogue.

First published in AD 94/95, Book 9 is the last book in the corpus of Martial to have been published in the reign of the emperor Domitian. While it presents the reader with the epigrammatist's characteristic variety of subjects drawn from contemporary Roman society and everyday life, it also contains a patently higher number of poems focusing on and eulogizing Domitian than any other book in the Epigrams. Unlike those of Book 8, the panegyrics in Book 9 are mixed with satirical and obscene epigrams, and the panegyrical tone is intensified. Book 9 also provides a conclusion to the large cycle on Domitian's Second Pannonian War that extends over Books 7, 8, and 9, the three books that have been termed Martial's 'Kaisertriade'.

A thoroughly revised and expanded edition of Henriksen's published thesis, the book consists of an introduction discussing the date, characteristics, structure, and themes of Book 9, followed by a detailed commentary on each of the 105 poems, which places them in their literary, social, and historical context.

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