Messalina : The Life and Times of Rome’s Most Scandalous Empress


by Cargill-Martin, Honor | Ancient Rome
Published 14/03/2024 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (Apollo) in the United Kingdom
Paperback | 432 pages, 2×8 colour plate sections

ISBN: 9781801102605 Category:


This is the story of Messalina – third wife of Emperor Claudius and one of the most notorious women to have inhabited the Roman world.

According to the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, the Empress Messalina was a sexually insatiable schemer. The tales they told about her – including a twenty-four-hour sex competition with a prostitute – have taken deep root in the Western imagination, but Messalina’s real story is much more complex.

In her reappraisal of one of the most slandered female figures of ancient history, Honor Cargill-Martin finds an intelligent, passionate and ruthless woman who succeeded in asserting herself in the overwhelmingly male world of imperial Roman politics. Rather than setting out to ‘salvage’ Messalina’s reputation, she looks at her life in the context of her time. Above all, she seeks to reclaim the humanity of a life story previously circumscribed by currents of high politics and patriarchy.

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Weight 0.346 kg