The Italian Almanac


Valeria Messalina

More about Messalina


Valeria Messalina

Valeria Messalina (22 - 48)

Third wife of the emperor Claudius, whom she married at the age of 14. She bore him two children, Octavia (wife of Nero) and Britannicus. She instigated a reign of terror during which many senators were put to death, but her end came when Narcissus (secretary to Claudius) convinced Claudius that in his absence she had married Gaius Silius and was plotting against him. Her name has become a byword for avarice, lust, and cruelty.