Martial Spectacles 1 (contributed by Francesca Sapsford)

The Liber Spectaculorum was probably Martial’s first collection of epigrams and this is the first of three prefatory epigrams introducing the Flavian ampitheatre.

Francesca Sapsford


Barbara pyramidum sileat miracula Memphis,

Assyrius iactet nec Babylona labor,

nec Triuiae templo molles laudentur Iones;

dissimulet Delon cornibus ara frequens,

aere nec uacuo pendentia Mausolea                                         5

laudibus immodicis Cares in astra ferant.

omnis Caesareo cedit labor amphitheatro:

unum pro cunctis Fama loquetur opus.




Let barbarous Memphis stop talking about the miracle of the pyramids;

Assyrian toil is not to vaunt Babylon

and the soft Ionians are not to garner praise for Trivia’s temple;

let the altar of many horns say nothing about Delos,

and do not let the Carians lavish extravagant praise on the

Mausoleum suspended in empty air and exalt it to the stars.

All labour yields to Caesar’s amphitheatre:

Fame will tell of one work instead of them all.



The Flavian Amphitheatre, also known as the Colosseum, Rome.



Chosen by Francesca Sapsford, PhD Student.

The above text is provided by the The Latin Library, and the translation is by K. M. Coleman.

Read more of this text at the Latin Library.

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