Fortune gives too much to many, enough to no one
Martial, Epigrams, 12, 10, 2.
Satirical wit and brevity are the essence of epigram and Martial is the undisputed master of the genre. The poet is a cynical observer of imperial Rome, and an intelligent critic of its vices and miseries. His poems are classics because its criticism transcends time and reflects the flaws that plague human nature at all times. Insatiable greed is one of them. The tone of the Martial Epigrams is, however, never too harsh, never quite damning. In his work, a decadent and sophisticated society looks itself, and this, rather than to reproach, moves to laughter.