Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis), c.A.D. 40-c.A.D. 104, Roman epigrammatic poet, b. Bilbilis, Spain. After A.D. 64 he lived in Rome for many years, winning fame by his wit and poetic gifts. He enjoyed the patronage of Titus, Domitian, and Pliny the Younger (see under Pliny the Elder) and the friendship of Juvenal and Quintilian. He wrote more than 1,500 epigrams, most of which concern aspects of life in urban Rome, particularly its follies and excesses, and many of which deal openly and often scathingly with the sexual practices of his contemporaries. Martial's verses are frequently characterized by a twist of wit at the end as well as by original meter and form, and have become models for the modern epigram.

See The Epigrams of Martial, tr. by J. Michie (1973); Epigrams/Martial, 3 vol., tr. by D. R. Shackleton Bailey (1993); Martial's Epigrams: A Selection, tr. by G. Wills (2008).

Temporary rule of a designated area by military authorities in time of emergency when the civil authorities are deemed unable to function. Under martial law, civil rights are usually suspended, and the activities of civil courts are restricted or supplanted entirely by military tribunals. Such “acts done by necessity” are limited only by international law and the conventions of civilized warfare. Though temporary in theory, a state of martial law may in fact continue indefinitely. Seealso human rights; war crimes.

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Any of several arts of combat and self-defense that are widely practiced as sport. There are armed and unarmed varieties, most based on traditional fighting methods used in East Asia. In modern times, derivatives of armed martial arts include kendo (fencing with wooden swords) and kyudo (archery). Unarmed varieties include aikido, judo, karate, kung fu, and tae kwon do. Because of the influence of Taoism and Zen Buddhism, there is a strong emphasis in all the martial arts on the practitioner's mental and spiritual state. A hierarchy of expertise, ranging from the novice (“white belt”) to the master (“black belt”), is usually recognized. Seealso t'ai chi ch'uan; jujitsu.

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Military court for hearing charges brought against members of the armed forces or others within its jurisdiction; also, the legal proceeding of such a court. Most countries today have military codes of justice administered by military courts, often subject to civilian appellate review. Courts-martial are generally convened as ad hoc courts to try one or more cases referred by some high military authority. The convening officer chooses officers, and sometimes enlisted personnel, from his or her command to sit on the court, determine guilt or innocence, and hand down sentences. Seealso military law.

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Latin Marcus Valerius Martialis

(born circa AD 38/41, Bilbilis, Hispania—died circa 103) Roman poet. Born in a Roman colony in what is now Spain, Martial went to Rome as a young man. There he associated with such figures as Seneca, Lucan, and Juvenal and enjoyed the patronage of the emperors Titus and Domitian. His early poetry, some marred by gross adulation of Titus, was undistinguished. He is renowned for his 12 books of epigrams (86–102?), a form he virtually created. Pointed and often obscene, they provide a picture of Roman society during the early empire that is remarkable both for its completeness and for its accurate portrayal of human foibles.

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The Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) is the official guide to the conduct of Courts-Martial in the United States. An executive order of the President of the United States, the MCM details and expands on the Military law in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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