Put a Cork in It: Martial and the Metaphor of Wine for Writing


1§1 Wine and water often appear in Greek and Latin poetry as metaphors for writing. In fact, the act of writing would eventually be considered equivalent to drinking manly amounts of wine.[1] Early Hellenistic elegy includes a list of behaviors for symposiasts, which includes poking fun at each other just enough to produce laughter. However, the teasing that took place at the symposium had the ability to spill over into anger and violence.[2] The state of inebriation, especially in the symposium, is often seen as a gateway for men to discuss topics that may have not been otherwise proper for men to discuss, such as love or, conversely, anger.[3] It is no surprise, then, that these also appear as themes quite frequently in poetry. In writing poetry with sympotic themes, Hellenistic authors would adapt these oral performances into a written context. These wine-inspired works are highly emotional and sympotic in nature, a reflection of their authors’ supposed drunkenness. Different uses of these metaphors for wine and drunkenness are seen in the writers of Hellenistic epigrams, especially Asclepiades, Posidippus, Callimachus, and Hedylus. Each of these authors declares himself to be a water-drinker, a wine-drinker, or a mixed wine-drinker, labels which reflect their writing style and their works as a whole. They declare themselves to be part of a spectrum, ranging from the emotionally expressive drinkers of pure wine, who are unencumbered by societal restraints, to the technically precise drinkers of pure water.

1§2 This symbolic nature of wine stays fairly consistent throughout Roman poets. Catullus expands this metaphor from just drinking wine to the larger setting of the symposium itself and ideas pertaining to the symposium, but still uses these objects in the same way that the Greeks used wine. Metaphors involving dining, luxury, and objects of leisure stand in for writing in addition to wine. In his poems, wine is associated with this overtly emotional style of writing, and water with technical precision. In his poetry, Martial makes use of this metaphor; moreover, he adds to it in a way his predecessors did not by politicizing the metaphor and associating the degrees of wine consumption with varying degrees of libertas. However, it is important first to examine the Greek use of this metaphor in order to better understand how it is used and subsequently transformed in the works of the Roman poets.

Wine in Greek Epigram

2§1 Asclepiades uses the setting symposium in AP 12.50 as a platform for the recitation of his poetry. He urges the lamenting writer to drown his sorrows in drink.

Drink, Asclepiades. Why these tears? What’s wrong with you?
You’re not the only one difficult Cypris has taken captive,
Nor against you alone has bitter Eros directed his bow and arros.
Why do you turn yourself into living ash?
Let us drink the strong drink of Bacchus. Dawn comes apace.
Or should we again wait for the bedtime lamp to bring rest?
Let us drink, unhappy lover. The time approaches,
Poor fellow, when we’ll rest during that long night.[4]

It may not be until later epigram that we see the distinction between wine drinkers, whose poetic “intoxication” is associated with emotional intensity, and water drinkers, who write technically precise poetry that often lacks these intense feelings of love or hatred.[5] However, I would like to suggest that we can find this theme earlier than is generally stated, and that what we see here is exactly that. One of the key details here is that the poem is addressed not to another person in the symposium, but to Asclepiades himself. Asclepiades wants to write poetry, so he must drink the wine himself. He must give up water, in the form of tears, in favor of wine. Another aspect of these wine-inspired poems is that, like AP 12.50, they tend to be remarkably self-contained. Although Asclepiades obviously does not produce his own wine, the water and the writing all come directly from him. This symposium, if it can be called that, is a symposium of one. This self-centered focus is present in many wine-inspired poems.

2§2 In this poem, Asclepiades presents himself as a drinker of pure wine. This is in contrast to social and literary norms, which dictate that people mix wine to avoid appearing absolutely barbaric in nature.[6] Therefore, it becomes more apparent that Asclepiades is not merely talking about the act of drinking here. When one drinks wine and becomes drunk in the symposium, the composition of spontaneous brief poems can take place similar to epigrams on love and other topics that do not fall in line with societal norms. This is especially so when one is incredibly drunk from pure wine. It follows, then, that a writer like Asclepiades might metaphorically refer to the writing of such topics as the act of drinking itself. When Asclepiades says “Let us drink Bacchus’ pure wine,” he means, “Let us write about love.”[7] Pure wine here is metaphorically describing the genre of poetry Asclepiades wishes to write about. In addition, it seems curious that Asclepiades mentions no object of his affection in this poem, as one might expect. This may be because when he is shot with Cupid’s arrows he falls in love not with a person, but with love poetry itself.[8] That is why he must drink pure wine and stay up all night writing poems such as these instead of seeking out a physical lover. Wine is not merely a “solace for the pain of love,” but it is a metaphorical representation of the object of Asclepiades’ love itself.

2§3 Posidippus elaborates on this symbol of wine as writing in his own work. Similar to Asclepiades, in poem AP 5.134, Posidippus suggests that the drinking of wine at the symposium has become a symbol for the recitation or reading of his collection. Posidippus assumes that the reader has knowledge of Asclepiades’ epigrams, and immediately starts with the metaphor of drinking. In this poem, the sprinkling of wine from the jug is a clear allusion to the poetic inspiration that has traditionally been thought to derive from the drinking of wine.[9]

Sprinkle, Cecropian jug, the dewy moisture of Bacchus,
Sprinkle it. Let the toast that I contribute bedew us.
Let Zeno, the wise swan, be silent, and Cleanthes’ Muse,
And let bittersweet Eros be my topic.[10]

2§4 The evolution of this metaphor is apparent in AP 12.168, when Posidippus overtly acknowledges the use of symposium as a metaphor for his collection and drinks down cups of poetry.

Pour two ladles of Nanno and Lyde, two of Mimnermus,
dear to lovers, and of sober Antimachus.
Mix in the fifth of me and the sixth, saying,
Heliodorus, of whoever has chanced to love.
Say the seventh is of Hesiod and the eighth of Homer,
The ninth of the Muses and the tenth of Mnemosyne.
I will drink the cup full to the brim, Cypris. And what’s more, Erotes,
whether of water or wine, it’s not all that unpleasant.[11]

In this poem, Posidippus drinks cups full of his different influences. Here, we can easily see the metaphor of wine as the writing of authors, and that the act of drinking is metaphorical for the writing of his own poetry. He drinks cups filled with these various influences, and is pleased by the mixture of “water” and “wine.” Water in this case is representative of the more serious authors listed above, like Homer. He references the love epigrammatist Mimnermus and his Nanno, and the elegist Antimachus and his Lyde.[12]  Heliodorus was a famous poet who is closely associated with Aristophanes. He finally draws inspiration from Hesiod, perhaps the oldest known Greek poet, and Homer, the widely accepted best poet in antiquity, both of whom are epic poets. Instead of drinking pure wine like Asclepiades, he drinks mixed wine. In doing so, he projects a persona different from that of Asclepiades’ in that his emotional intensity is tempered by literary precision, his drunkenness by sobriety, and his self-centeredness by literary indebtedness.[13]

2§5 As Aslepiades had set himself up to be a pure wine drinker and Posidippus a drinker of the mixture of wine and water, Callimachus also describes himself as a drinker of sorts. Like Posidippus, he plots a middle course. He presents himself as the Muses’ cicada who drinks natural dew instead of the dew of wine.[14] In fact, the image of the cicada drunk on dew appears in later epigrammatists.[15] Cicadas were valued in antiquity because of the sounds they make. The cicada’s name, which literally means “dweller in the oak”, recalls Homer’s description of the insect as “sitting in a tree and [sending] forth lily voices.”[16] They were thought to be a source of poetic inspiration.[17] Callimachus’ epigrams had large influence on Roman epigrammatists like Catullus and Martial, as well as elegists like Ovid. While the epigrammatists tend to draw from the work’s wit and charm, the elegists find inspiration in the sweetness, expressiveness, and human feeling.[18] One mention of a toast in Callimachus can be found in one of his erotic epigrams, AP 12.51, and it presents a view on the water/wine relationship that the poets mentioned previously would probably not agree with.

Pour a toast and say again, “For Diocles.” Acheloos has
nothing to do with the holy cups dedicated to him.
The boy is beautiful, Acheloos, too beautiful. If anyone
Denies it, I am content to be beauty’s only connoisseur.[19]

Some have suggested that Acheloos is not the name of the river, but a member of the party Callimachus is attending, and that Callimachus is creating a joke on the words’ equivalence. Therefore, when Callimachus is calling for a toast in the name of Diocles, he is acknowledging that the boy “is paying no heed to the gesture and mentions the fact in a line that puns on the absence of water in the toasting cup.”[20],[21] Because Callimachus claims to draw his inspiration from various sources of water, it is logical that this beautiful boy he is writing about would not care for unmixed wine. In fact, here Callimachus seems to be criticizing the comic and epigrammatic poets and their widely-known (at least in literary circles) use of wine as inspiration. He almost laments the fact that he is the only one who recognizes the beauty of this water, but finishes by saying that he will happily keep this beauty all to himself.

2§6 Lastly, Hedylus’s use of wine in his work is more closely related to the model presented by Asclepiades. Like Posidippus and Asclepiades before him, Hedylus presents the drinking of wine as a metaphor for the process of composition. However, he purposefully tries to set himself apart from Posidippus’ middle-of-the-road persona. He rejects the middle position between drunkenness and sobriety, which symbolizes the production of learned yet inspired poetry, by declaring that the only life worth living is a drunken one. Hedylus adopts Asclepiades’ use of the symposium as a metaphor for the recitation of epigrams. His own poetic persona is a drunken, uninhibited one, much like that of Asclepiades before him.[22]

Let us drink, and so over wine I hope to invent
Something new, some sweet and refined song.
Drench me with amphoras of Chian wine and say, “Play,
Hedylus.” I hate to live pointlessly, unintoxicated.[23]

The opening of the poem is a clear reference to Aslelepiades’ poem AP 12.50, as they both begin with exactly the same word. This poem declares that Hedylus will attempt to create original writing by producing this new, sweet refined song. This, however, is in direct contrast to reality as the very words he uses were used before him by Asclepiades, and the metaphors he uses are borrowed as well. Additionally, the vocabulary he uses in saying that very statement is seen in Callimachus GP 56. So while Callimachus and Hedylus share similar inspirations, Hedylus uses this opportunity to set himself apart from his counterpart by presenting himself as a wine lover instead of a water drinker.[24] In fact, it is almost as if he is recycling the words used by Callimachus for a better purpose—for his wine-inspired poetry, instead of Callimachus’ water.

Wine in Roman Epigram

3§1 In Roman epigram, this metaphor of wine for writing is used in many different ways, depending on the poet. Some poets are very close to the original Hellenistic metaphor of wine as describing genre, the drinking of wine as composition, and the symposium as a platform for oral recitation of epigram. Others, however, stray quite far. For example, the metaphor expands in Martial and Catullus to include not only wine, but other objects of the symposium, dining, and leisure as well. Although the trend in Catullus is to stray from the original metaphor, most likely because he aspires to be labeled more original than the average poet, there are moments when his poems are very reminiscent of Hellenistic epigram. These instances show the reader that he knows very well that these metaphors exist, so that it is not a stretch of the imagination to see the same metaphor elsewhere in his work. Catullus 27 is one example of Catullus staying extremely close to the Hellenistic original.

Minister vetuli puer Falerni
inger mi calices amariores
ut lex Postumiae iubet magistrae
ebrioso acino ebriosioris
at vos quo lubet hinc abite, lymphae,
vini pernicies, et at severos
migrate. hic merus est Thyonianus.

Boy server of old Falernian
pour me out more pungent cups
as toastmistress Postumia rules
who’s drunker than the drunken grape
pure water, find your level elsewhere
you ruin wine. Shift to the sober.
Here is unmixed Thonian.[25]

Here Catullus uses the cups and the wine as a metaphor for his collection and influences. The calices amariores here are not meant to mean bitter in an unpleasant sense, but merely referring to the taste and strength of the wine.[26] Amariores most likely refers to a wine that is quite pure and has a bit of a bite. In addition, amarus sounds strikingly similar to the word for love, amor. Because amores frequently refer to love poems themselves, it is possible that Catullus is making a pun about how his bitter cups are actually his love poems.[27] The calices are reminiscent of Posidippus, who discusses ladles of wine. He then mentions Postumia, which may be a reference to the lex Postumiae, a law on the use of certain kinds of wine and the pouring of libations.[28] It would explain the use of the term iubet instead of another fitting word. He orders that water not be mixed with the wine because it ruins wine, but instead of saying aquae or another word for waters, he chooses to use lymphae. If this poem is discussing writing as its predecessors were, this is a considerably more “epic” term for water, which in itself is describing a more serious, technically precise genre quite like epic. The word pernicies that follows is frequently seen in Roman comedy, and is a “low brow” word to use right next to something as lofty as lymphae. Finally, he declares himself a drinker of unmixed Thyonianus, or Bacchus, a term which is frequently used to signify wine.

3§2 In this poem Catullus argues, by stating that wine and water should not be mixed, that epic and epigram are simply not compatible. The mixing of genres is a common theme throughout Greek and Latin literature, and often is used to show the superiority of one genre over the other. He also makes the point to label himself as a drinker of pure wine, or pure love poems, like Asclepiades and Hedylus. Considering Catullus’ corpus as a whole, this declaration is not particularly surprising. His perhaps most famous poems are about his love for Lesbia, whose name may refer to his lover Clodia, but is definitely referring to the Greek lyric poet Sappho.[29]

3§3 Catullus also expands this wine metaphor greatly in his corpus. Instead of just wine being representative of his poetry and the type of poetry he would like to write, he uses many different objects involved in Roman symposium and dining. I believe the logical progression of the metaphor comes from the fact that the drinking of wine is a given during a Roman dinner, and so he leaves that out entirely and trusts his readers to be able to make the mental leap.[30] Dining itself, or even the luxuries allowed to someone who has the pleasure of dining well, all appear in his work as metaphors for writing. A typical use of the metaphor in Catullus utilizes a broader category of objects which appear as metaphors for his corpus. While often analyzed as just a witty parody of the invitation poem, I would argue that Catullus 13 can be taken as a metaphorical presentation of Catullus’ corpus to another person. At some level, Catullus 13 clearly is a parody of an invitation poem, which in itself is a parody of a simple letter.[31] However, it seems rather strange that the poem contains very little actual food, which would typically be at the center of the typical invitation poem, but that is the joke. Catullus takes the trope of the poor, beggar-poet to the extreme when he invites his “friend” Fabullus to a dinner, and then asks Fabullus to bring everything that should be involved in any sort of extravagant dinner.

Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me
paucis, si tibi di favent, diebus,
Si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam
Cenam, non sine candida puella
Et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis.
Haec si, inquam, attuleris, venuste noster,
Cenabis bene; nam tui Catulli
Plenus sacculus est aranearum.
Sed contra accipies meros amores
Seu quid suavius elegantiusve est:
Nam unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae
Donarunt Veneris Cupidinesque,
Quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis,
Totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.

You will dine well with me, Fabullus
In a few days, if the gods favor you,
If you bring with you a good dinner and lots of it,
Not without a pretty girl
And wine and salt and all sorts of laughter.
If, I say, you bring all of this, my charming friend,
You will dine well; for the purse
Of your Catullus if full of cobwebs.
But on the other hand you will have from me pure love,
Or what is more sweet or elegant:
For I will give you perfume, which the
Venuses and Cupids gave to my girl,
Which, when you smell it, you will ask the gods
Fabullus, to make you all nose.

The first indication that this is a parody is Fabullus’ very name, which can mean “little bean,” and is a strong indication of the lack of food that Catullus is willing to provide for the affair.[32] Catullus then instructs Fabullus that he is to bring fine food, a pretty girl, wine, wit, and laughter. Catullus then says that in return he will give Fabullus some perfume that will make Fabullus want to be totum nasum. There is debate among scholars about whether this poem is metaphorical or literal. However, I would like to suggest that the dinner he is describing is both. He is utilizing the trope of the beggar poet, a humorous character his audience would be familiar with, and is changing him to have dual meanings and new significance.

3§4 The first indications that this is not entirely a real dinner show up in the first two lines in the form of Fabullus’ name and the wide time frame that Catullus gives his guest as a date to this dinner he is hosting. Paucis diebus is hardly an indication about when such an event would occur, so if this were truly an invitation, it would certainly be an inconvenient one. Next, all of the things that Catullus lists for this Fabullus to bring can have literary connotations. He asks Fabullus to bring wine, which as discussed previously is often a metaphor for love poetry. He asks him to bring sale and omnibus cachinnis. Sale is both a term for the literal salt that one puts on food and for wit. It is possible that this good, large dinner is actually a metaphor for Fabullus’ own writing. He wants Fabullus to bring funny, witty love poems. Catullus refers to Fabullus as venustus, a word for ‘charming’ that Catullus uses occasionally to describe an author or his writing. If he brings all this, he will have a good “dinner” because Catullus’s pockets are full of cobwebs. This is the sort of sarcasm that one would expect from Catullus, who himself is writing a witty poem and is bringing his own sale. He says that he will not bring food to this dinner, but if this dinner is in fact metaphorical, Fabullus will be dining quite well on Catullus’ writing alone. If one chooses to take this dinner metaphorically, then this is exactly the sort of false modesty that is expected from Catullus and is seen frequently throughout his corpus.

3§5 Catullus then says that he will provide meros amores, which can be translated very literally as “unmixed loves.” This idea of the love being unmixed is the same metaphor that appears many times previously in all of the other discussions of wine, especially in AP 12.50, where they both discuss drinking unmixed wine. Here Catullus, like Asclepiades and Hedylus, presents himself as a drinker of unmixed wine. The implication is that someone who “writes” unmixed wine is in fact composing uninhibited love poems, which is elaborated on in the final lines of the poem. There, Catullus says that he will give Fabullus a perfume given to him by “my girl” (meae puellae) that will make him want to be “all nose” (totum nasum). Here, the perfume is taking the place of the wine in being representative of Catullus’ writing. More specifically, Catullus is giving Fabullus a copy of one of his Lesbia poems, which is why it is a perfume and not a wine. The poem was inspired by Lesbia. It is a distinctly feminine piece about his love that was inspired by Venus and Cupid. Catullus says that Fabullus will be made into a nose, which could be a colloquial way of saying that he will become a critic.[33] In becoming all nose, Fabullus will become entirely a critic, presumably against the poor quality of Catullus’ writing.

3§6 In summary, Catullus is telling Fabullus to bring all his witty love poetry, and he will give Fabullus his own. There is reason to believe that Catullus is not being entirely genuine in his desire to read Fabullus’ writing at this metaphorical dinner, which is primarily derived from the fact that Catullus claims he lacks sale and only has a purse full of cobwebs. Both are not the case. Catullus is very proud of his wit and clever poems, which suggests that everything Catullus says may be laced with some heavy sarcasm. In reading the poem this way the reader discovers that this Fabullus does not have funny, uninhibited love poetry full of wit, but Catullus does.

Wine in Martial

4§1 Catullus 13 is not the only instance where Fabullus shows up while dining. Martial writes what readers may consider a sequel to Catullus 13 in his own epigram, 3.12. In this poem, he plays on the same dual metaphorical and cheap-host tropes that were common in Roman poetry and are present in Catullus 13.

Unguentum, fateor, bonum dedisti convivis here, sed nihil scidisti.
res salsa est bene olere et esurire.
qui non cenat et unguitur, Fabulle, his vere mihi mortuus videtur.

I confess that you have given good unguent to your guests yesterday, but you cut nothing.
It is a witty thing to be well anointed and starve.
He who is perfumed and does not eat, Fabullus, seems truly dead to me.

There are significant points of contact between this poem and poem 13 of Catullus, primarily the dinner setting, the unguentum, the salt, and the fact that Fabullus is the one throwing the dinner party. In this poem, it seems as if Fabullus has tried to repeat what Catullus had done to him in poem 13, by providing his guests with nice perfume but no food. In this case, the perfume may be representative of either Catullus’ own poems, or Fabullus’ poems inspired by his own lover. However, the guests are not nearly as receptive to his antics as Fabullus presumably was to those of Catullus. Martial references funerary practices when he mentions that the only occasion where it is acceptable to give a guest perfume but no food is at a funeral, where this “guest” is actually a corpse.

4§2 Martial makes reference to the metaphorical nature of Catullus’ feast, and perhaps his use of metaphor, while also making fun of his own writing.[34] That is the purpose of the third line: it takes wit for someone to present their guests with good unguent and to convince them that they are not starving. As discussed previously, this wit is why the reader was able to find sustenance in Catullus 13. Catullus constantly reassures both Fabullus and the reader that they will dine well because of all the metaphorical wine and salt and everything else that he is able to provide for their feast.  There is very little that suggests that we are meant to assume Fabullus would have starved. However, in Martial, Fabullus is unable to provide this sustenance. We are reminded three times in just as many lines that Fabullus has provided his guests with nothing (nihil scidisti, esurire, qui non cenat). The attempted trickery of his guests has quite clearly not been successful, despite the fact that he was able to provide bonum unguentum, which we can interpret as good quality poems just like we did above. This criticism of Catullus’ Fabullus, I believe, can be interpreted as a criticism of Catullus himself. This belief is founded on the intertextual evidence which suggests that the Fabullus in this poem is the same Fabullus in Catullus’ poem. There is little reason to believe that this Fabullus has lived long enough to throw this terrible dinner party himself. Martial is using this Fabullus character to make a deliberate point of contact to Catullus 13. Therefore, I believe that the criticisms within this poem are directed at Catullus or, more specifically, at Catullus 13.  It appears as if Martial is criticizing the lack of actual dining in Catullus 13, suggesting that being perfumed and not eating is evidently more fitting for funerary practices than for invitation poems. The poem was good, but perhaps it may have lacked some of the subtlety Martial would have preferred in that it was a clear parody an invitation poem, of which Martial writes quite a few. He roots the metaphor of unguent as poetry in reality by tying it to cultural norms, while also including intertextual elements like the wit and fine perfume that suggest he is using the metaphor just as Catullus did.

4§3 Martial’s use of this metaphor of wine for writing is not limited to his moments of intertextuality with Catullus, nor are his reinterpretations of the metaphor limited to the perfume Catullus makes use of in his poetry. Martial makes use of the metaphor again in poem 8.6, when he describes a man who has all sorts of old objects with which he mistakenly associates extravagant myths and epic. Many of the myths Martial includes in this poem are purposefully wrong in order to show the arrogance and stupidity of Martial’s subject of criticism, Euctus. He ends his poem with the lines:

Miratus fueris cum prisca toreumata multum,
In Priami calathis Astyanacta bibes.

Once you have marveled enough at this old art
you will drink Astyanax in Priam’s cups.

The final line says that “you will drink Astyanax in Priam’s cups”, though in reality it implies that Euctus is serving new wine stored in old containers in order to appear richer. Here, Martial acknowledges the association with literature and wine and reverses the metaphor. Instead of wine being representative of writing, literary characters are taking the place of wine. It is interesting, then, that there are epic characters representing the wine, and not characters associated with the symposium. The work in which these characters reside is not associated with the personal emotional expression of the author, which makes them strange choices to represent the wine within the containers. Wine-inspired works are typically associated with the symposium and are centered around the poet himself. The Iliad clearly does not fit that description. It is reasonable, I believe, to assume that this choice is most likely due to the notoriety of the characters within the context of the poem, as Euctus repeatedly tries to tie his artifacts back to Troy. In addition, there is a significant lack of characters within wine-inspired poems, as they are usually centered around the poet himself, making this sort of metaphor nearly impossible. However, this choice of characters may also be because of the mistakes made previously in the poem. While the subject matter of this poem is more water-inspired, with its allusions to epic, its delivery is strictly epigrammatic. It is no secret that Euctus is the subject of the sort of criticism that one might be in a sympotic setting. Euctus is serving wine here because he is still the inspiration of an epigrammatic poem, regardless of the subject of the poem. The reader should not be confused as to whether this poem is inspired by wine or water, because it is definitely inspired entirely by wine. Martial merely uses his knowledge of epic and myth in order to display this fact, and we are clearly supposed to contrast Euctus’ lack of knowledge with Martial’s presumed expertise.

4§4 It is fairly clear that Martial makes use of this metaphor in his corpus but he tends to make subtle changes, just as Catullus did in Catullus 13. In 3.12 he maintains Catullus’ expansion of the metaphor, and in 8.6 he has reversed it and had literary characters stand in for the beverages that would normally be used to represent the works in which they are contained. In each of these expansions we see different things standing in for wine or water, but the association between these objects and literature stays the same. This is not always the case in Martial’s corpus. In other instances he stays fairly close to the older uses of metaphor. One of these poems is 1.18 which begins by mentioning Tucca, his contemporary rival.

Quid te, Tucca, iuvat vetulo miscere Falerno
in Vaticanis condita musta cadis?
Quid tantum fecere boni tibi pessima vina?
Aut quid fecerunt optima vina mali?
De nobis facile est: scelus est iugulare Falernum
Et dare Campano toxica saeva mero.
Convivae meruere tui fortasse perire:
Amphora non meruit tam pretiosa mori.

Why do you choose, Tucca, to mix with old Falernian
the must stored in Vatican casks?
What is this great benefit the vilest wines have bestowed on you,
or what harm have the best wines caused you?
As to us ‘tis no matter; it is a crime to murder Falernian,
to apply to Campanian wine deadly poison.
Your guests perhaps have deserved extinction:
a jar so priceless did not deserve to die.[35]

He criticizes Tucca’s mixing of good wine with the must, or high-sugar grape juice, already stored in these Vatican casks. He asks why fine Falernian should be stored in Vatican casks, as Vatican wine is thought to be very inferior. He is insulting Tucca’s use of vessel, because it will make the wine taste cheap. In contrast, it was understood that a good vessel to store wine in would have been Greek jars, as they can improve both the flavor and longevity because of the salt content.[36] He asks what harm good wines have given him, because that is clearly the only explanation as to why Tucca is using such a cheap vessel. He finishes by saying that perhaps Tucca’s guests deserve to perish, because a valuable jar does not deserve to die.

4§5 The last sentiment Martial expresses is quite strange, because one would expect him to wish for fine wine to be stored in valuable jars, so as not to ruin its taste. Perhaps this is because people who are uncultured enough to store good wine in cheap vessels deserve to be punished for their poor treatment of a beverage Martial obviously holds quite dear. Maybe he is willing to sacrifice fine wine in an effort to make this happen. However, Martial’s harsh use of language suggests otherwise. Tucca does not simply ruin wine, he poisons and murders it. This is nearly anthropomorphizing the wine, which may suggest that it is not simply wine that Martial is so angry about. There are a few poems in Book 9 addressed to Martial’s rival, Tucca. Although most of the criticisms against Tucca lie in his frugality in the construction of his home, I do not think it would be unreasonable to assume that Tucca has had his hand in the composition of poetry, and that some of this hostility is professional.[37] While Tucca is known as cheap and the sort to carry out this act quite literally, the similarities between this poem and Horace’s Ode 1.20, in which this metaphor of wine for writing is present, suggests that this metaphor may also be present in this poem. If the casks are interpreted as the meter in which the poem was written like in Horace 1.20, then Martial may be criticizing the genre in which Tucca chose to compose his poems. Perhaps he has chosen to compose epigrams, and has done so very poorly.  He asks what these fine wines must have done to him to make him avoid them, another insult against Tucca’s work and quite possibly his knowledge of what Martial considers to be “good” literature. He is mixing with old Falernian, or in this interpretation the apparently well-respected genre (or at the very least, well-respected by Martial) in which he has chosen to compose, poor quality young wine, i.e. his own work. Finally, he declares that these other jars are so valuable that they do not deserve to die. In this case the jar is most likely standing in for the Falernian inside it, indicating that Tucca has wholly ruined the entirety of whatever genre in which he chose to write, quite possibly epigram, simply by composing his own. Saying that Tucca’s guests deserve to perish insults the sort of people who would enjoy Tucca’s work in the first place. In his opinion, those who enjoy hearing Tucca’s poetry recited are so uncultured that they ought to be punished by being forced to hear it recited.[38]

4§6 The metaphor of wine for writing is very present within Martial with varying degrees of similarity to the Hellenistic originals. We have seen a great deal of diversity in Martial’s use of this metaphor, mostly due to the intertextual relationships he has with other poets. However, Martial does create his own reinterpretations. Within his works, there are some instances where the wine itself comes to represent something other than sympotic themes like in the poem above. Some authors of this period, like Pliny and Tacitus, make use of metaphors about the body in order to express the psychological state of society under Domitian. While Pliny uses metaphors involving physical violence, Tacitus uses metaphors involving illness.[39] I believe that Martial follows this trend, and uses the states of drunkenness and sobriety to express the psychological consequences of Domitian’s rule on the individual. Drunkenness and the symposium are enjoyable for men with libertas, but the sobriety that comes with water-drinking may be more appropriate when free speech is dangerous. It is then logical that poems containing Martial’s politicized use of the metaphor are primarily about water, while Martial only uses wine to show how little libertas he actually has. Wine in Martial becomes associated with the freedom to express emotions that are both sincere and politically relevant. Martial does not have this freedom, due to both the laws and the society in which he lives. Martial possesses limited degrees of this societal libertas, and therefore chooses to address most of this criticism either to people of the past, or to people like Tucca who have done things that are foolish and not entirely important.[40] This is exemplified in poem 10.48, in which Martial invites his friends to come dine with him.

Nuntiat octavam Phariae sua turba iuvencae,
Et pilata redit iamque subitque cohors.
Temperat haec thermas, nimios prior hora vapores
Halat, et inmodico sexta Nerone calet.
Stella, Nepos, Cani, Cerialis, Flacce, venitis?
Septem sigma capit, sex sumus, adde Lupum.
Exoneraturas ventrem mihi vilica malvas
Adtulit et varias, quas habet hortus, opes,
In quibus est lactuca sedens et tonsile porrum,
Nec deest ructatrix menta nec herba salax;
Secta coronabunt rutatos ova lacertos,
Et madidum thynni de sale sumen erit.
Gustus in his; una ponetur cenula mensa,
Haedus, inhumani raptus ab ore lupi,
Et quae non egeant ferro structoris ofellae,
Et faba fabrorum prototomique rudes;
Pullus ad haec cenisque tribus iam perna superstes
Addetur. Saturis mitia poma dabo,
De Nomentana vinum sine faece lagona,
Quae bis Frontino consule trima fuit.
Accedent sine felle ioci nec mane timenda
Libertas et nil quod tacuisse velis:
De prasino conviva meus venetoque loquatur,
Nec facient quemquam pocula nostra reum.

Her votaries announce the eighth hour to the Pharian heifer
and the pike-carrying cohort returns to camp as another comes on duty.
This hour cools the warm baths, the one proceeding plants out immoderate heat,
the sixth glows with Nero’s excess.
Stella, Nepos, Canius, Cerialis, Flaccus, are you coming?
The sigma takes seven, we are six; add Lupus.
The bailiff’s wife has brought me mallows to relieve the stomach
and the garden’s various wealth.
There is sessile lettuce and clipped leeks, belching mint is not to seek,
nor the salacious herb.
Slices of egg will top mackerel flavored with rue
and there will be a sow’s udder wet from tunny’s brine.
So much for the hors d’oeuvres. The little dinner will be served in one course;
a kid, snatched from the jaws of a savage wolf,
morsels requiring no carver’s knife,
workmen’s beans and early greens.
To these will accrue a chicken and a ham that has already survived three dinners.
When my guests are satisfied,
I shall offer ripe fruit and leesless wine from a Nomentan flagon
twice three years old in Frontinus’ consulship.
To boot there will be merriment free of malice,
frank speech that gives no anxiety the morning after,
nothing you would wish you haven’t said.
Let my guests talk of Scorpus and the Green;
let my cups get no man put on trial.[41]

He offers his guests modest food and dregs of wine that were six years old during Frontius’ consulship. If this wine is interpreted as a poem recitation, it dates the poem to around AD 92, or toward the end of Domitian’s reign.[42] He declares that this dinner will provide the sort of libertas that will not make the party-goers afraid the next morning, a popular sentiment expressed in invitation poems from around this time period that may serve to show how little free speech was actually tolerated. In this poem Martial differentiates between his own sort of freedom, and the supposed libertas provided by other hosts at the time. He insinuates that his guests will not have to be afraid of being put on trial, while at other parties they should be afraid of such a thing, regardless of how much libertas their host claims to provide them. In his Agricola Tacitus clams that “…we would have lost memory itself as well as voice, if it had been as much in our power (in nostra potestate) to forget as to keep silent.”[43] On this subject, Haynes states that, “…the tyrannized subject can, in turn, tyrannize his own power of speech.”[44] I suggest that we can apply this tyrannization of self not only to an individual, but to society as a whole. In applying this logic to Martial 10.48, we find that these sorts of libertas do not come about due to the laws themselves, as the law by definition can only produce one sort of libertas or lack thereof, but to societal constraints limiting free speech. These limitations are based on the company one chooses to keep, which is why this guest/host relationship Martial is describing is so important. It is also why he then qualifies the extent of this libertas by limiting the topics of conversation to Scorpus and the Green, further proving that this is supposed to be a parody of contemporary invitation poems, just like the one Catullus wrote in poem 13. The wine here is meant to provide elements of both humor and danger. The joke is that they clearly do not have this sort of libertas that Martial would like—his guests can discuss emotional topics, but not topics that are important or relevant to the current state of affairs. The danger comes about from imbibing too much wine and saying something political, a penalty for which may occur after being turned in by a fellow guest.

4§7 This negation at the very end of the poem is a very popular tool used in epigram in order to produce a sort of ring structure that forces the reader to re-read the poem. With the addition of a theme like libertas as opposed to other words for ‘freedom’ that are present in other invitation poems and could have been used, Martial is making this poem political. In reading the poem a second time, we are able to see additional metaphors and themes that were not evident the first time. The first thing we see is the importance of time—unlike Catullus in poem 13. Martial is very particular about setting the time of this dinner late in the day. He does not want to set the dinner when Nero’s baths are positively glowing with heat, or even later when it is still far too hot outside. Instead, he wants the weather to be cool. These four lines of imagery about heat and time bring to mind the limitations on political speech brought about by Nero, which may explain the presence of the abbreviation of Nero’s baths as simply Nerone. In addition, some of the foods are meant to relieve the stomach—or, perhaps, to off-set this “heat” in the form of Domitian’s reign. More strange imagery is introduced with the food Martial includes in his feast, especially when he states that he will be serving a kid taken up from the mouth of a savage wolf as well as chicken and ham that have survived three dinners already. As this poem already touches on both the political and social aspects of libertas, it is possible that this is the idea being expressed through these images. Food that has sat around and been dead for a long time may be symbolic of the political source of libertas—free speech is either limited by law or it is not; there is no middle ground. However, there is hope for libertas based on society. During this time in history, this societal libertas is not present. The hope is dashed, and the kid (libertas) has been snatched up from the jaws of the wolf (Domitian), only to be killed for dinner at the very party in which Martial jokes about his lack of freedom. What 10.48 serves to show is that the sort of libertas Martial claims to supply, the kind that allows for uninhibited talk of any sort (but especially political), does not currently exist. Instead, guests are forced to avoid any political topics of conversation for fear of waking up worried the morning after about being put on trial. This poem is therefore a commentary not only on Domitian, which can almost be expected, but on society as a whole.[45] Tacitus describes the survivors of the rule of Domitian as “survivors of ourselves” (nostri superstites).[46] This idea is present in Martial’s epigrams as well, though in typical epigrammatic fashion, he makes jokes about his lack of libertas rather than criticizing society directly.

4§8 Although freedom was certainly limited by Domitian, it was not completely absent. As Martial shows in 10.48, the libertas of a person also depended on the company he decided to keep. While Martial may have been critical of his company in 10.48, it appears as if there was still some element of trust among close friends. This is shown in epigram 5.78 where Martial describes a modest dinner that he is able to give his friend Toranius. The language in this invitation makes the affair seem more intimate, and far more pleasant than the bitterness that was present in 10.48. He tells his friend that if he finds dining at home tiresome, then he may join Martial for dinner. He provides us with a list of things he will be able to provide his guest with, including poor quality food, what is presumably bad wine, and a brief recitation of Martial’s own poetry.

Si tristi domicenio laboras,
Torani, potes esurire mecum.
Non deerunt tibi, si soles propinein,
viles Cappadocae gravesque porri,
divisis cybium latebit ovis.
Ponetur digitus tenendus unctis
nigra coliculus virens patella,
algentem modo qui reliquit hortum,
et pultem niveam premens botellus,
et pallens faba cum rubente lardo.
Mensae munera si voles secundae,
marcentes tibi porrigentur uvae
et nomen pira quae ferunt Syrorum,
et quas docta Neapolis creavit,
lento castaneae vapore tostae:
vinum tu facies bonum bibendo.
Post haec omnia forte si movebit
Bacchus quam solet esuritionem,
succurrent tibi nobiles olivae,
Piceni modo quas tulere rami,
et fervens cicer et tepens lupinus.
Parva est cenula—quis potest negare?—
Sed finges nihil audiesve fictum
et voltu placidus tuo recumbes;
nec crassum dominus leget volumen
nec de Gadibus inprobis puellae
vibrabunt sine fine prurientes
lascivos docili tremore lumbos;
sed quod nec grave sit nec infacetum,
parvi tibia Condyli sonabit.
Haec est cenula. Claudiam sequeris.
Quam nobis cupis esse tu priorem?

If you are troubled by the prospect of a cheerless dinner at home,
Toranius, you may fare modestly with me.
You will not lack, if you are accustomed to an appetizer,
cheap Cappadocian lettuces and strong-smelling leeks;
a piece of tunny will lie hid in sliced eggs.
There will be served—to be handled with scorched fingers—
on a black-ware dish light green broccoli,
which has just left the cool garden,
and a sausage lying on white pease-pudding,
and pale beans with ruddy bacon.
If you wish for what a dessert can give,
grapes past their prime shall be offered you,
and pears that bear the name of Syrian,
and chestnuts which learned Naples has grown,
roasted in a slow heat;
the wine you will make good by drinking it.
After all this spread, if—as may be—
Bacchus rouses a usual appetite,
choice olives which Picenian branches
have but lately borne will relieve you,
and hot chick-peas and warm lupines.
My poor dinner is a small one—who can deny it?
—but you will say no word insincere nor hear one,
and, wearing your natural face, will recline at ease;
nor will your host read a bulky volume,
nor will girls from wanton Gades
with endless prurience swing
lascivious loins in practiced writhings;
but the pipe of little Condylus shall play
something not too solemn nor unlively.
Such is your little dinner. You will follow Claudia.
What girl do you desire to meet before me?[47]

At face value, there is practically nothing good about this dinner. In fact, Toranius may very well be better off eating at home. However, there is one catch. Martial insists his guest will hear nothing false (nihil audiesue fictum), indicating that the wine and relaxation associated with this sympotic setting are providing both him and his guest an outlet to speak freely. There is no qualification of the freedom of speech that Martial expressed in the previous poem. This leads us to question the original meaning of this poor quality wine that Toranius can only make good through drinking. This may be one of the rare instances in which Martial refers to his own poetry as wine. Like a typical Roman poet he insinuates that it is of poor quality, but insists to his guest that it will be made good by hearing it recited. He assures his guest that he will not read a weighty volume, and what he does read will be absolutely the truth. This truth, or freedom of speech, is meant to be relaxing for Toranius, who must find dining at home exhausting. It must be relaxing for Martial as well, which is why he says the poems, while poor in quality, will be made good simply due to the setting in which he can recite them safely. In the case of Tacitus, Haynes suggests that when he discusses how poor quality his writing is, he is not doing so to be modest. In fact, she believes he is doing so to express how his poetic voice is “unpracticed in the language of libertas.”[48] This may be the case in this poem, though there is little evidence to suggest either side. We can assume that Martial does not actually believe his writing is poor quality, but whether he expresses this in mock modesty or as another expression of his lack of libertas is uncertain. Regardless, Martial presents us with a fairly clear association of wine with this idea of libertas as well as the idea that free political expression is apparently no longer the norm.

4§9 In these poems, Martial uses wine to express the degree of libertas he has when writing. Martial, like Catullus and other poets before him, uses elements of the sympotic setting to symbolize writing and aspects of writing. Writing under Domitian has its limitations in that speech cannot be wholly free or wholly sincere. While in Hellenistic poetry this metaphor of wine for writing was in association with apolitical, emotional writing, this is now not the case. Using this logic, it is no surprise that Martial is known to associate Domitian with water.[49] In fact, many poems that use water in the context of this metaphor have political undertones.[50] One example of this is 9.18, in which Martial talks of drawing his inspiration from water in order to write about the emperor.

Est mihi—sitque precor longum te praeside, Caesar—
rus minimum, parvi sunt et in urbe lares.
sed de valle brevi quas det sitientibus hortis
curva laboratas antlia tollit aquas:
Sicca domus queritur nullo se rore foveri,
Cum mihi vicino Marcia fonte sonet.
Quam dederis nostris, Auguste, penatibus undam,
Castalis haec nobis aut Iovis imber erit.

I own (and may it long be mine under your rule, Caesar)
a tiny country place and a small dwelling in the city.
But from the narrow valley a curved pump
toilsomely brings up water to give to the thirsty villa,
whereas my dry town house complains
that it is refreshed by no liquid, though I hear Marcia’s stream hard by.
The water that you give, Augustus, to my home
shall be to me fount of Castalia or rain of Jupiter.[51]

In this poem, Martial complains about the lack of water being delivered to his home via private pipes. At the time when Martial was writing this, senatorial families and the like were provided with their own private water supplies, delivered to the house through pipes with the families’ names engraved on them. Permission to obtain one of these pipes could only be granted by the emperor, hence Martial’s appeal to Caesar.[52] Martial states that this water delivered to him from the Aqua Marcia will act as the water from Castalia, a fountain sacred to the Muses and thought to be a source of poetic inspiration.[53] The implication here is that if Domitian provides Martial with water, then he will write poems about him.

4§10 The close association of the emperor and water is complicated with the interpretation of poem 4.18, in which a young boy is murdered by water.

Qua vicina pluit Vipsanis porta columnis
et madet assiduo lubricus imbre lapis,
In iugulum pueri, qui roscida tecta subibat,
Decidit hiberno praegravis unda gelu:
Cumque peregisset miseri crudelia fata,
Tabuit in calido vulnere mucro tener.
Quid non saeva sibi voluit Fortuna licere?
Aut ubi non mors est, si iugulatis aquae?

Where the gate drips near the Vipsanian Columns,
and the slippery stone is wet with the constant shower,
on a boy’s throat, as he passed under that dewy roof,
fell water weighted with winter frost;
and when it has wrought the unhappy victim’s cruel death,
the frail dagger melted on the warm gash.
What stretch of power has not ruthless Fortune willed for herself,
if ye, O Waters, are cut-throats?[54]

Vividly recounting unusual deaths as can be seen in line 6 is a common occurrence in Hellenistic epigrams. This poem describes an icicle formed near the Porticus Vipsania. While passing under the gateway on which the icicle has formed, the boy is struck by the falling icicle on his neck.[55] The poem ends with the question: “But where is death not, if you waters cut throats?” The paradoxical nature of this question has been examined many times, as water is typically seen as a life-giving force. However, here it is a cause of death. In addition, Rome would not have had the climate necessary in order to produce such an event, leading some scholars to interpret the event Martial is describing as either an embellishment on reality or as a metaphor.[56]

4§11 Due to this, it is entirely possible that poem 4.18 has politically critical elements that tie into a use of this metaphor for water and genre. As exhibited in poem 9.18, water can be interpreted as a source of inspiration, specifically when writing about the emperor. The fact that the Porticus Vipsania was begun by Agrippa’s sister and later finished by Augustus may support that its presence in a poem is a hint to look for commentary on past political events. On the other hand, it may not be surprising that some sources place the location of the Porticus Vipsania beside the Naumachia Domitiani, where Domitian is said to have held mock naval battles. The use of the word vicina is now important, especially considering that some maps place them nearly side-by-side.[57] Regardless, the association of water and death with a politically-charged monument (as most monuments were) highlights the dangers associated with writing about the emperor.

4§12 To Martial’s Greek and Roman predecessors wine, with its ability to loosen the tongue and explain away poor behavior caused by drunkenness, represented the freedom to write about topics that were not socially acceptable to discuss. In doing so, wine frequently appears as a metaphor for writing within a sympotic setting. The metaphor of water then came to represent writing associated with literary perfection and technical care. Roman poets such as Catullus adopt this metaphor almost exactly, but extend it to other objects also related to luxury, dining, and the symposium. It is clear that some of the poems in which Martial discusses wine or water do not fit this use of metaphor. In quite a few poems he has points of contact with these earlier poets, suggesting that he is fully aware of the presence and other potential meanings of this metaphor. However, it still appears that even when using wine in ways reminiscent of earlier poets, he is doing it in novel or strange ways. Therefore, there must be some other meaning to derive from his use of this metaphor. Sometimes, when Martial discusses wine in the context of writing, it is to describe the lack of free political expression as a result of both imperial policy and society. Similarly, many of Martial’s poems about or to Domitian contain water and the use of water as a metaphor. His poems describing water as a source of inspiration are almost entirely in the present and political. Due to the emperor that Martial is writing under, he is unable to express himself freely in the ways his predecessors could. Martial draws upon multiple meanings of liber, using it to discuss wine and absolute freedom. In this spectrum based on free expression, water represents the careful, conscious thought that must go into writing under the rule of the emperor. Water is dangerous, and must be treated as such. Similarly, wine is no longer associated with emotional response or freedom from social norms. Instead, it becomes representative of the lack of creative freedom from constraints brought about both by the policies of Domitian, and by the internalized tyrannical behavior that caused citizens to limit one another’s free speech.

[1] Gutzwiller 1998:181.

[2] Gutzwiller 1998:172.

[3] One example of this may be Plato’s Symposium.

[4] Gutzwiller 1998:148.

[5] Gutzwiller 1998:168.

[6] One example of this is the Cyclops in Odyssey ix, who was incapacitated by Odysseus and his men after drinking pure wine.

[7] Even today we talk about writing that “flows well”. This association of liquids and writing is not so out of place in today’s society.

[8] This is arguably the case in Ovid’s Amores 1.1.

[9] Gutzwiller 1998:158–159.

[10] AP 5.134.

[11] Translation Gutzwiller.

[12] Hornblower et al. 2012.

[13] Gutzwiller 1998:169.

[14] Gutzwiller 1998:168.

[15] Asclepiades AP 5.134 describes dew, but the dew is actually referring to wine. While the readers would expect to hear of water, he is actually writing about wine.

[16] Gutzwiller 1998:66.

[17] Gutzwiller 1998:113.

[18] Gutzwiller 1998:183.

[19] Translation Gutzwiller.

[20] Gutzwiller 1998:222.

[21] Diocles is also the name of an Athenian comic poet from 400 BC.

[22] Gutzwiller 1998:179.

[23] Translation Gutzwiller.

[24] Gutzwiller 1998:180.

[25] Translation Lee 1998:29.

[26] Thomson 1997:273.

[27] In fact, it appears that he is making fun of himself for using such a common metaphor.

[28] Thompson 1997:273.

[29] This reference is similar to Ovid’s use of Corinna as the name of his lover.

[30] This is typical Catullan behavior. Catullus frequently makes reference to the obscure in order to exclude members of his audience. He makes fun of the people who do not understand and quite enjoys doing so.

[31] Gowers 1993:229.

[32] Gowers 1993:229.

[33] Gowers 1993:231.

[34] It is also possible that Martial is breaking off from tradition here and focusing on reality instead of the metaphors of his predecessors. He is clearly aware of the metaphor present in Catullus 13 and knows that readers would expect it, so he may be purposefully excluding it in favor of making this dinner entirely real as opposed to metaphorical. In this case, the point still stands: Martial is still criticizing the highly metaphorical nature of Catullus 13 as well as its lack of any real food despite it being an invitation poem of sorts.

[35] Translation Ker.

[36] West 1997:96.

[37] Henriksén 2014:309.

[38] Of course, the listeners would not be able to recognize that they were reading bad poetry, making Martial’s efforts to punish them fruitless. However, Martial would still have the satisfaction of having insulted them.

[39] Haynes 2006:159.

[40] Cf. Juvenal 1.170–171 for the safety found in criticizing the dead.

[41] Translation Shackleton Bailey.

[42] Domitian ruled until AD 96.

[43] Tacitus Agricola 2.4.1. Translation Haynes 2006:152.

[44] Haynes 2006:158.

[45] On the subject of political guilt, it has been said, “They denounced their colleagues to save their own skins, they did not oppose injustices when they should have, or they simply kept quiet.” Salecl 1994:85. See Haynes 2006:152.

[46] Tacitus Agricola 3.2.5.

[47] Translation Ker.

[48] Haynes 2006:153.

[49] The beginning of Book 5, primarily poems 1 and 3, contains a few references to Domitian in association with water. This metaphor may not be present in each of these poems, but the association is still there.

[50] Water is the lesser used beverage in this wine/water metaphor, at least in the Roman poets. It is often not present.

[51] Translation Shackleton Bailey.

[52] Watson and Watson 2003:113.

[53] Watson and Watson 2003:114.

[54]  Translation Ker.

[55] Watson and Watson 2003:331.

[56] Watson and Watson 2003:330.

[57] Platner and Ashby 1929.


Gowers, Emily. 1993. The Loaded Table: Representations of Food in Roman Literature. Oxford.

Gutzwiller, Kathryn J. 1998. Poetic Garlands: Hellenistic Epigrams in Context. Berkeley.

Haynes, Holly. 2006. “Survival and Memory in the Agricola.” Arethusa 39.2:149-70.

Henriksén, Martial C. 2012. A Commentary on Martial, Epigrams Book 9. Oxford.

Hornblower, Simon, Antony Spawforth, and Esther Eidinow, eds. 2012. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford.

Ker, W. C. A., ed. and trans. 1925. Martial. Epigrams. Rev. ed. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.

Lee, Guy, trans. 1998. The Poems of Catullus. Oxford.

Platner, Samuel Ball (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby). 1929. A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome. London.

Sens, Alexander, ed. and trans. 2011. Asclepiades of Samos: Epigrams and Fragments. Oxford.

Shackleton Bailey, D. R., ed. and trans. 1993. Martial. Epigrams. Rev. ed. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.

Thomson, D. F. S, ed. 1997. Catullus. Toronto.

Watson, Lindsay and Patricia Watson, eds. 2003. Martial. Selected Epigrams. Cambridge.

West, David, trans. 1997. Horace: The Complete Odes and Epodes. Oxford.

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