Prayers of Martial
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
Marcus Valerius Martialis (43-102 CE)


IV 13.7-8: To Concordia Radiant Concordia, ever reside in this marriage, and so, fitly joined in matrimony, may Venus always bless this couple with children.

IV 45.1-2 To Apollo An offering I gladly give You, Phoebus, a box of fragrant incense, from Palatinus Parthenius on behalf of his son.

V 7.5 To Vulcan Soon, I pray, Vulcan, memories of whispered rumors of disgrace and loud quarrels of complaint You will no longer hold against the children of Mars; we are also the children of Your sweet wife Venus, spare us, Father.

VI 38.9-10 To the Gods Gods preserve him, I pray, until returned from distant wars he fulfills his vows to You, and in the son will be found both his father and his brother. (i. e. in Domitian, Vespasian and Titus.)

VI 43 To Egeria Divine Nymph, gliding through my Stella's house, your waters lave your lord's fair halls and court. Perchance Egaria, divine wife of royal Numa, sent you forth from Diana's sacred grove, or have you come from the nine heavenly Muses? This sacrifice of a virgin sow I, Marcus, offer at your shrine, since, while ill, by stealth I took a draught of your healing waters. Accept my quittance, Nymph, and henceforth freely allow me to be safe and sound.

VII 60 To Jupiter Jupiter, sacred ruler on Tarpeian Heights, who we call Thunder, let other men petition You and request Your divine favor, while Caesar is safe. But be not wroth with me if nothing I desire, and nothing for my own bounty I ask, and all my prayers to the heavens are made for Caesar's good health, for all I truly need, from Caesar it is freely given.

VII 74 To Mercury Mercury, Cyllene's Glory, Heaven's pride, Messenger with the clever tongue, around whose golden staff the serpent coil, may it shine brightly among the Gods. May You enjoy Your stolen loves, whether You desire Venus or Ganymede, and on the Ides may Your Mother's altar be adorned with laurels, and Your grandfather Atlas bear a lighter load, if You will allow Norbana and Carpus, who met for the first time today, to always celebrate their nuptials together. This a pious master of the arts offer a gift to Your wisdom, this incense I send to You, faithfully I pray, and faithfully also to Jupiter.

VIII 2.8 To Janus May You give, Father Janus, what we ask of You.

VIII 8.1-6 To Janus Janus, though You begin each fleeting year, and renew the long ages wherever You appear, though vows and incense are piously first offered to You, and the consuls begin each year by laying offerings at Your feet, still there is no more joy for You to know than that our divine emperor (Domitian) returns from the northern climes.

VIII 39.5-6 Domitian Much later, I pray, it will be until you wish to ascend to your Heavenly Father and rejoin His convivial company; if the Thunderer is in haste, let Jupiter descend to you.

IX 17 To Asculapis Latona's grandson, revered Aesculapis, by whose mild herbal remedies too briefly are the Fates beguiled, from Rome this child sends You his golden locks, that were once his lord's delight, and along with these the mirror that often assured him he was fair. He hastens to sacrifice these tresses that once circled his shining face, happily to serve, in payment for a vow, if You judge that out of danger he will be. Preserve his youthful grace, though his hair is now shortened, and long may You keep him handsome.

IX 42 To Apollo May Myrina's richness ever You hold, Apollo, thus always the swan song, too, may You enjoy, may the well versed sisters ever serve You, the Delphic Pythia ever reveal any of Your oracles, may the Palatia ever love and revere You, Were You ever to ask, and Caesar grant, that he should invest Stella with consular powers, then gladly would I by vow become indebted to You.

IX 58 To a Lake Nymph Nymph who reigns over this sacred lake, for whom grateful Sabinus piously commissioned and enclosed this temple precinct. Thus may mountainous Umbria always worship You there; its townsfolk of Sarsina never lured off to Baia. Gently dispel my anxieties, accept my humble books into Your care, and You will have been a Pegasean fountain of pure waters to my Muse. (The Nymph replies) "Whoever offers his songs into the care of nymphs, foretells what renown his own books will receive."

IX 90.13-8 To Venus Restore our youth, Venus, restore our healthy glow, and the kalends of March they will devote to the Paphian goddess. Gladly will the procession wind to Your altar, in shining white robes they will bring You sweet incense and pure wine, served with glistening morsels of meat piled as delicate petit fors.

X 7.1-2 For the Rhine Rhine, Father of every northern stream and of every northern nymph whoever drinks your hoarfrost fed waters.

X 28.1-2 To Janus Sower of the years, Janus, beginning of the shining and most beautiful world, with You begins our prayers and public vows.

XI 4 Nerva Lares whose sacred Phrygian rites the heir of Troy chose to preserve, brought by Aeneas from when that city fell, so that now the gods, eternally crowned in gold, sit on high. Jupiter, and Juno, His heavenly sister and daughter of the Highest Father, and Janus, to You I pray, I piously call on You to preserve the Senate, preserve the purple robed emperor, leader of all, Nerva three times elected consul. May this prince live just as he is now, free from death and disease.

XII 62.1 To Saturnus Saturnus, Great King of ancient starry skies and earth primeval, under Your peaceful reign never was anyone?s tranquility disturbed by labor.
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