Valeria Messallīna

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Great‐granddaughter of Augustus' sister Octavia on her father's and mother's sides; b. before ad 20. In 39 or 40 she married her second cousin Claudius, then c.50 years old and bore him two children, Claudia Octavia and Britannicus. Claudius alone was blind to her sexual profligacy (which Juvenal travestied in Satires 6 and 10), even to her eventual participation in the formalities of a marriage service with a consul‐designate in 48. Narcissus turned against her and, while Claudius was in a state of stunned incredulity, ensured that an executioner was sent. Since she was unable to do the deed herself, the tribune ran her through.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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