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Book XIV of Martial's epigrams, the Apophoreta, derives its name from the presents hosts gave 'to be carried away' by their guests at the Roman Saturnalia. The book comprises poetic couplets designed to accompany such presents and arranged so as to describe, alternately, the gifts of rich and poor. It is a unique source of information about one of the principal Roman festivals and about many of the everyday objects of first-century Roman life; yet until now it has attracted scant attention.
This edition, while dealing comprehensively with matters of literary, linguistic and textual note, concerns itself also with the social context of theApophoreta and the gifts it describes. It is a rich source of information not only for specialists in Latin epigram and the literature of the Flavian period, but also for historians and archaeologists, and indeed anyone with an interest in the life and customs of Imperial Rome.