Martial's name is a byword for caustic and often obscene wit. The fiercest Roman satirist after Juvenal, he was also a poet with a more reflective nature, whose acute observations of life are tinged with a keen awareness of death. Peter Whigham's selection from his enormous output represents both the serious and lighter aspects of a many-sided professional poet. His translations also convey, in their frequent homage to earlier translators and English followers of Martial, a sense of his enduring influence on the English poetic tradition. J.P. Sullivan's critical introduction sets Martial's life and poetry in the social and political context of his times, and accounts for his continuing popularity through the ages.
Peter Whigham was born in England in 1925. His selected poems 'Things Common, Properly' appeared in 1984. He has also translated 'The Poems of Catullus' and 'The Poems of Meleager'. J.P. Sullivan, also English-born, has taught at Oxford and several American universities. A founding editor of the classical journal 'Arion', he is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His publications include the critical studies 'Ezra Pound and Sextus Propertius' and 'The Satyricon of Petronius', which he has also translated for Penguin Classics.