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Wordle: Martial VI 



Two magistrates, four tribunes,

Seven advocates, ten poets

Were recently seeking the marriage of a certain girl

From a certain old man.

Not having hesitated, he

Gave the girl to the crier Eulogus.

Tell me, Severus, did he behave at all foolishly?

VIII meter: Hendecasyllabic

Praē tō|rēs dŭ ŏ,| quāt tŭ|ōr trĭ|bū nī,

Sēp tēm| caū dĭ|cī, dĕ|cēm pŏ|ē taē

iūs|dām mŏ dŏ| nūp tĭ|ās pĕ|tē bānt

Ā quō|dām sĕ nĕ.| Nōn mŏ|rā tŭs| īl lĕ

Praē cŏ|nī dĕ dĭt| Eū lŏ|gō pŭ|ēl lām.

Dīc, nūm|quīd fă tŭ|ē, Sĕ|vē rĕ,| fē cĭt?




This epigram lists a variety of professions and compares them to each other in reputation. Although auctioneers were usually a profitable profession, Martial had been known to look down on them. In this epigram, the auctioneer is the one who is allowed to marry the man's daughter, ultimately winning over magistrates, tribunes, advocates, and poets, all of which are generally well respected professions (Spaeth). Although this is surprising, some of this reflects Martial's own opinion of these professions. He has repudiated lawyers in multiple poems and has expressed his harsh views of poets who are not as talented as he is. Therefore, it is understandable why, in this epigram, the auctioneer is allowed to marry the girl. In the final line, Martial asks Severus to comment on whether or not this is a foolish action on the girl's father's part by posing a question, which allows the readers to answer this question as well, encouraging reflection on the epigram's topic (Krauss).

Krauss, Franklin B. "The Motive of Martial's Satire." The Classical Weekly, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Oct. 16, 1944), pp. 18-20.

Spaeth, John W. "Martial Looks at his World." The Classical Journal, Vol. 24, No. 5 (Feb., 1929), pp. 361-373.

Fitzgerald, William. Martial: The World of the Epigram. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. 

K. Renner