Farouk Grewing (ed.), Toto Notus in Orbe: Perspektiven der Martial-Interpretation. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998. Pp. 366. ISBN 3-515-07381-7. DM148.00.
Robert E. Colton
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This book, Volume 65 of the Palingenesia series of classical monographs and texts, contains a preface and sixteen articles on Martial. In the preface (pp. 7-14), Farouk Grewing provides a survey of modern editions, translations, and studies of Martial, with special emphasis on the late Sullivan's monograph[] and on Shackleton Bailey's three- volume Loeb edition.[] Grewing points out that the articles in the present collection are new, and that interest in Martial is worldwide; the contributors come from nine countries.
Two of the articles are devoted to Martial's earliest works. Kathleen M. Coleman, 'The Liber Spectaculorum: Perpetuating the Ephemeral' (pp. 15-36), demonstrates that Martial's purpose in writing the Liber Spectaculorum was to perpetuate the memory of Titus' opening of the Colosseum in A.D. 80 and thus to immortalize the beneficent emperor. She suggests that Titus himself may have assisted Martial in the dissemination of the book. T.J. Leary, 'Martial's Early Saturnalian Verse' (pp. 37-47), discusses the arrangement and the subject matter of the couplets contained in Martial's Xenia (Book 13) and Apophoreta (Book 14), and calls attention to the humor, literary skill, and variety displayed in the two books.
The influence of Martial's literary predecessors is the subject of two articles. Bruce W. Swann, 'Sic Scribit Catullus: The Importance of Catullus for Martial's Epigrams' (pp. 48-58), underscoring the significance of Catullus for Martial, shows that Martial often mentions Catullus by name, acknowledges him as a model, and borrows material from him. R.A. Pitcher, 'Martial's Debt to Ovid' (pp. 59-76), stresses the influence of the Tristia on passages in which Martial addresses his book and on passages in which he flatters Domitian. He also contrasts Ovid's romanticized treatment of love in the Amores with Martial's coarse and realistic handling of the theme.
Christer Henriksén, 'Martial und Statius' (pp. 77- 118), discusses Martial and his contemporary, the poet Statius. Henriksén observes the influence of Statius' epic the Thebaid on Martial's epigrams, and compares passages in Statius' Silvae with similar passages in Martial. Examined in considerable detail are those poems of the two writers which treat the same themes, e.g., Martial 6.21 and Statius, Silvae 1.2, on the wedding of Stella and Violentilla; Martial 6.42 and Silvae 1.5, on the baths of Claudius Etruscus; Martial 9.43 and 9.44 and Silvae 4.6, on the Hercules statuette of Novius Vindex.
Johannes Scherf, 'Zur Komposition von Martials Gedichtbüchern 1-12' (pp. 119-38), surveying Martial's Books 1-12, assembles pairs and groups of epigrams connected by theme. Similarly, Elena Merli devotes her attention to the cycles of Martial's epigrams that appear in Books 3 and 5.
John Garthwaite, 'Putting a Price on Praise: Martial's Debate with Domitian in Book 5' (pp. 157- 72), examines those epigrams of Martial's Book 5 that eulogize Domitian. He shows that Martial expects to receive material rewards, not just praise, from the emperor and from other beneficiaries of his poetic talents.
In his article on Martial's return to Spain, Peter Howell, 'Martial's Return to Spain' (pp. 173-86), analyzes 12.18, the epigram in which Martial, writing to Juvenal, contrasts his happy life in his native Bilbilis with Juvenal's unpleasant life as a client in Rome. Howell also refers to passages in which Martial evinces dissatisfaction with his life of retirement in Spain (12 praef., 12.68).
Eugene O'Connor's article, 'Martial the Moral Jester: Priapic Motifs and the Restoration of Order in the Epigrams' (pp. 187-204), studies epigrams that feature Pripus or refer to the god (1.35, 3.58, 3.68, 6.49, 6.72, 6.73, 7.91, 10.92, 11.15, 11.16, 11.18, 11.51, 11.72, 14.70). O'Connor also discusses Martial's ironic defence of Domitian's moral program as censor.
Willibrand Heilmann, 'Epigramme Martials über Leben und Tod' (pp. 205-19), shows that Martial's view of life and death, as set forth in 2.59, 5.64, 8.77, is Epicurean: one should enjoy the present, mindful of the inevitable end. Hellmann also studies epigrams of Martial on suicide (1.13, 1.42, 1.78).
Uwe Walter, 'Soziale Normen in den Epigrammen Martials' (pp. 220-42), discusses Martial's outlook on the various components of Roman society: the emperor, the equestrian order, the senatorial class, the plebs, clients, and freedmen. He concludes that Martial, justly famed for his varied, witty, polished epigrams, was not one who sought to change Rome and was not a social critic in the modern sense of the term.
Art L. Spisak, 'Gift-giving in Martial' (pp. 243-55), rejects the usual characterization of Martial as a mercenary poet, given to begging for money and gifts. He holds that Martial's many epigrams on gift-giving are 'sophisticated dialogues on the ethics of interpersonal relationships in accord with the model of social exchange'(p. 254), poems intended to instruct us on the workings of trust and friendship. Martial's poems on friendship and patronage are the subject of Marc Kleijwegt's article, 'Extra fortunam est quidquid donatur amicis: Martial on Friendship' (pp. 256-77). Kleijwegt analyzes especially the social relationship of Martial to Antonius Primus, M. Aquilius Regulus, Quintus Ovidius, and Julius Martialis, the epigrammatist's best friend.
Two articles examine Martial's language. M.A. Paulinus Greenwood, 'Martial, Gossip, and the Language of Rumour' (pp. 278-314), takes note of expressions used by Martial in the reporting of gossip; for example, verbs like dico, fero, narro in various forms and formulas like fama est, fama refert, rumor ait. Farouk Grewing, 'Etymologie und Etymologische Wortspiele in den Epigrammen Martials' (pp. 315-56), quotes and elucidates many passages that illustrate Martial's use of etymological wordplay, among them 3.34, 3.78, 4.53.7-8, 6.48, 12.39, 12.81.2-3, 13.30, and 14.217(216).
A bibliography accompanies every article. There is also an eight-page select bibliography at the end of the book. Anyone interested in Martial's epigrams will find this varied and informative collection valuable and stimulating.
[] John P. Sullivan, Martial, the Unexpected Classic (Cambridge 1991).
[] David R. Shackleton Bailey (ed. & tr.), Martial Epigrams. 3 Vols. (Cambridge, Mass. & London 1993).