Tuesday, 17 May 2016

De Spectaculis Liber II - Marcus Valerius Martialis

Here where, rayed with stars,
the Colossus[1] views heaven anear,
and in the middle way tall scaffolds[2] rise,
hatefully gleamed the palace of a savage king,
and but a single house now stood in all the City.
Here, where the far-seen Amphitheatre lifts its mass
august, was Nero's mere.

Here, where we admire the warm-baths [3],
a gift swiftly wrought,
a proud domain[4] had robbed their dwellings from the poor.
Where the Claudian Colonnade
extends its outspread shade
the Palace ended in its furthest part.
Rome has been restored to herself,
and under thy governance, Caesar,
that is now the delight
of a people which was once a master's.

Marcus Valerius Martialis (c. 40 - 104) Spain
Translated by Abraham Cowley (1618 - 1667)

  1. A statue of Nero, afterwards turned by Vespasian into a statue of the Sun with rays surrounding the head
  2. Either the scaffolding of the new works, or movable cranes (pegmata) which could lengthen or contract, open or shut, and were used at shows as part of the appointments
  3. The Baths of Titus
  4. Nero's Golden House

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