8 Pages

The Fragment of Martial’s Sulpicia

ByJudith P. Hallett

The Latin poet Marcus Valerius Martialis, whom English speakers generally refer to by the nickname Martial, came to Rome from the province of Spain in approximately 64 C.E. He attained literary prominence by winning the favor and patronage of the emperor Domitian, who reigned from 81 through 96 C.E. Martial has left us fourteen books of epigrams: short and witty poems in elegiac, hendecasyllabic, and other meters, often cynical in tone and risqué in topic. Many of his epigrams address or portray women with whom he was personally acquainted and call them by their actual names.1