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MARTIAL ° (M. Valerius Martialis ; c. 40–104 c.e.), Roman epigrammatist. Martial ridiculed the Jewish rite of circumcision (Epigrammaton, 7:55) and speaks mockingly of women who fast on the Sabbath (ibid., 4:4). In common with other classical writers (e.g., Augustus, Strabo, Pompeius Trogus, Persius, and Petronius), Martial confuses the Sabbath with a fast day, probably the Day of Atonement. He referred to licentious Jews who shared vices with their fellow Romans (ibid., 7:30). Martial scolded a circumcised rival poet from Solymae (Jerusalem) for plagiarizing his verses, while criticizing them (ibid., 11:94). In common with other Roman satirists (e.g., *Juvenal), he depicts unfavorably Jewish life in Rome, expressing indignation at the constant growth of that community which he considered strange.


Reinach, Textes, 287–9; M. Radin, The Jews among the Greeks and Romans (1915), 302, 325–6, 329–30.

[Solomon Rappaport]