Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as Martial) (March 1, between 38 and 41 AD – between 102 and 104 AD), was a Latin poet from Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 (the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

) best known for his twelve books of Epigram
An epigram is a brief, interesting, usually memorable and sometimes surprising statement. Derived from the epigramma "inscription" from ἐπιγράφειν epigraphein "to write on inscribe", this literary device has been employed for over two millennia....

, published in Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

, Nerva
Nerva , was Roman Emperor from 96 to 98. Nerva became Emperor at the age of sixty-five, after a lifetime of imperial service under Nero and the rulers of the Flavian dynasty. Under Nero, he was a member of the imperial entourage and played a vital part in exposing the Pisonian conspiracy of 65...

 and Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

. In these short, witty poems he cheerfully satirises
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 city life and the scandalous activities of his acquaintances, and romanticises his provincial upbringing.

Lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba.

My poems are naughty, but my life is pure. - Liber I, iv.

Sera nimis vita est crastina: vive hodie.

Translation: Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today.

Stop abusing my verses, or publish some of your own.

I, 91

You complain, friend Swift, of the length of my epigrams, but you yourself write nothing. Yours are shorter.

I, 110

I do not love thee, Sabidius, nor can I say why; this only I can say, I do not love thee.

I, 32, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare "I do not love thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why I cannot tell; But this alone I know full well, I do not love thee, Doctor Fell", Tom Brown, Laconics.

Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.

III, 42

The bee enclosed and through the amber shownSeems buried in the juice which was his own.

IV, 32, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare "Whence we see spiders, flies, or ants entombed and preserved forever in amber, a more than royal tomb", Francis Bacon,Historia Vitæ et Mortis; Sylva Sylvarum, Cent. i. experiment 100.

You ask what a nice girl will do? She won't give an inch, but she won't say no.

IV, 71

Nullos esse deos, inane caelum Adfirmat Segius: probatque, quod se Factum, dum negat haec, videt beatum.

Selius affirms, in heav'n no gods there are: And while he thrives, and they their thunder spare, His daring tenet to the world seems fair. -Anon, 1695