Marcus Valerius Martialis
Relevant Non-Istrians

Epigrams: Book 12, Line 63 - To Cordova

Uncto Corduba laetior Venafro,
Histra nec minus absoluta testa,
Albi quae superas oves Galaesi
Nullo murice nec cruore mendax,

Sed tinctis gregibus colore vivo:
Dic vestro, rogo, sit pudor poetae,
Nec gratis recitet meos libellos.
Ferrem, si faceret bonus poeta,
Cui possem dare mutuos dolores.

Corrumpit sine talione caelebs,
Caecus perdere non potest quod aufert:
Nil est deterius latrone nudo:
Nil securius est malo poeta.


Cordova, spot more delightful than rich Venafrum, unsurpassed in fertility by the olive-bearing Istria,3 richer in sheep than the pellucid Galaesus,4 and that deceives not with purple or red dye, but have your flocks tinged by nature; command, I pray you, that poet of yours to have some sense of modesty, and not to recite my compositions without having paid me for them. I could have borne his proceedings, if he had been a good poet, on whom I could have made reprisal, but he is a bachelor who destroys my peace without giving me the opportunity of revenge. A blind man cannot be retaliated upon for the loss of sight of which he deprives another. Nobody is more reckless than a plunderer, who has nothing to lose; nobody more secure than a bad poet.

3 "Not less perfect than the (olive) jar of Histria," The best olives were produced at Vanafrum in Campania, the next best in Istria.


  • Martial, Epigrams. Book 12. Mainly from Bohn's Classical Library (1897) -

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