'If you're one of those terribly serious readers, now is a good time to leave.' The poet we call Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis, lived by his wits in first-century Rome. Pounding the mean streets of the Empire's capital, he takes apart the pretensions, addictions, and cruelties of its inhabitants with perfect comic timing and killer punchlines. Social climbers and sex-offenders, rogue traders and two-faced preachers - all are subject to his forensic annihilations and often foul-mouthed verses.
Martial Epigrams, Volume I: Books 1-5: Vol 1 One (Loeb Classical Library 94)