Messalina (Valeria Messalina)mĕsəlĪˈnə, d. A.D. 48, Roman empress, wife of Claudius I. She was the mother of his children, Britannicus and Octavia. Her reputation for greed and lust was supposedly unknown to her husband until, in Claudius' absence, she publicly married her lover Caius Silius. A political plot was apparently involved, and Claudius' secretary Narcissus informed the emperor. Messalina was killed.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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