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The legend black about Messalina hs cpntinuat succeeding over the centuries thanks to the its diffusion en writing, theater, painting, film and even more recently, in erotic cinema. As a result, most of the statements and criticisms leveled at her have come intact to the present day.

EIn 1633, it was the Venetian philosopher, poet and writer Francesco Pona who wrote stories of fairly well-known fictionts.[1]The poet dedicated one of his works entirely to Messalina, calling her precisely, The messalina. In this one, he showed us repeated erotic scenes of her with different lovers. The author highlighted in the story the daily arousals he felt when he slept with his lover Morphues, describing how at night, even if he slept with Claudi, he could not help but think of all his sexual fantasies.which he had with the lover.[2] 

Painting of Valeria Messalina.

Messalina shaking by the turbulence of her thoughts did not sleep at night; and if she slept, Morpheus slept beside her, causing agitation in her, stealing and stripping a thousand images that his sexual fantasies during the day had suggested. “ Francesco PONA

[1]Image taken from the post

But Pona does not for thesingle scriptr I mentioned itnà, convé also highlight one of the best known novels involving Messalina: the work of the English poet, scholar and novelist Robert Graves. This, he was the writer of important works on Claudius.[3] The story Wife Messalina published in 1839, as its title allows us to intuit, about the life of Claudius and his wife Messalina.In thata, the author he criticized the young woman for being promiscuous and generally portrayed her as a teenager at the time of their marriage and attributed her all the actions mentioned now in ancient sources. On the other hand he explained, how the couple got married without knowing that their relationship was incestuous, and the following question is asked: what would Messalina have done? He wondered why she claimed she was so vicious that she wouldn’t have cared.[4]

Otherwise, there were manyes other novels that mentioned her, such as that of the politician, cultural activist and playwright Edward Maturin, who described it in his only novel Sejanus: And Other Roman Tales, published in 1849 dealing with the stories of theIempire from the year 22 a. C. until the third century d. C. In this work theidealized relationship d’thiswoman with her lover Silio, explaining how he will give her neck in order to save her. At this moment, Messalina regrets all her shameless acts and mourns her death knowing that all the guilt, according to the author, was entirelyof her. [5]

Painting of the execution of Valeria Messalina.

” His voice weakened and suffocated as he looked at them; and aware that the curse of guilt and dishonor might fall upon them, tears of repentance for the first time supplanted the witnesses of fear. “


[2]Image taken form the web

Finally, in the field of novels, the work of the French author and playwright should be highlighted Alexandre Dumas Fill, known for writing remarkable romantic novels.[6] His work Claude’s wife, published in 1873, presented to Claude Ruper as the hero (Caesar Claudius) and to his wife Césarine (Messalina) as a totally corrupt creature on all levels, reflecting all the beliefs imposed by the sources classics who accused her of being treacherous, shameless, shameless, and corruptor. [7]

In the theatrical field, it was the stage production of English playwright and poet Nathaniel Richards, perpetuate the contemporary statements in Messalina. He wrote, The tragedy of Mesalina, the Roman empress published in the year 1640. This, crazy one of the first to represent the fall of the woman i she is depicted as a monster, constantly using her to attack the English Catholic wife of the English king, Charles I, comparing her to a woman who according to the author was a real meuca. In a passage from history to Messalina, three furies appear in her dreams that represent her sins: pride, lust, and murder.[8]

Richards was not the only one to highlight his sins, Messalina is treated as equally evil in the work of the Venetian Pietro Zaguri, author of various works dedicated to other relevant women in history.[9] However, he created La messalina, one operates in prose of 4 acts published in the year 1662. This work turned around the subject with its lover Silio Key. In general, in the work she is treated as all the authors mentioned used to do, giving her the reputation of a prostitute, ruthless and proud. In the introduction to the opera, Zaguri stated that Messalina was driven by her natural inclinations to be a person totally devoted to pleasure and lewd life.[10]

Painting of Messalina in the brothel.
Figure Nº 2: Messalina is shown being penetrated by a young man in a brothel, while a woman looks at them, Agostino CARRACCI, Messaline in the lisisca lodge, location unknown, s. XVI.

Legends were also continued through graphic arts such as painting. This is the case of the painting by the Italian painter, tapestry designer, and master of art Agostino Carracci. He painted important works such asThe Holy Supper o The Ecstasy of Saint Catherine of Siena,[11]i Messalina the lodge of Lisica published in the 16th century. As we see, and as its title says it translates asMessalina working in the brothel, the play shows the young woman having sex in the brothel while being watched by a woman.

 In addition, Messalina and her legend find a place in the cinematographic discipline as was the case with the film by Italian screenwriter and director Vittorio Cottafavi, director of feature films. Cleopatra’s legions o Brave bull among others.[12]But it was in the film Messalina Empress Venus, published in 1960, where he turned all his attention to Messalina. The play begins when Emperor Caligula has been assassinated and Claudius is proclaimed Caesar. A noble conspirator demands that Claudius marry the young Messalina hoping to control power through her. However, Messalina has the plans for herself and kills the nobleman when she is married. Meanwhile, a young military commander named Lucius Maximus finds her in the gardens and falls in love with her, but she uses a false name and he fails to find out her identity. Finally, Caesar when finding out this assassinates the boy.[13]

Portrait of the film Messalina " (1960)
[3]Image taken fromt he web site

Finally, and following the thread in the audiovisual area we study the work of the Italian writer, producer, cinematographer and film director Joe D’amato known for his erotic productions,[14] and also for his works of terror.[15]In the film the young virgin Messalina seduces Claudia, a Roman historian, to reach the emperor Caligula and become his wife. But later, he learns that Caligula died and was succeeded by Claudius, and for this reason he becomes interested in him. In the film, it was shown how the emperor can not satisfy his wife, according to the director, a nymphomaniac, and therefore maintains relations with his secretary Narcissus.[16]

In short, Messalina is treated over time as a coward, malicious and murderous. We can analyze how her contemporaries created an image of her that is reaffirmed through e writing, theater, painting, film and even more recently, in erotic cinema, to the present day.

[1]I enclose, by way of example, an edition of each book cited: Francesco PONA, The lantern of Eureta Misoscolo Academico Filarmonico, Veneto, Venice, 1663; Il paradiso de ‘fiori, ouero Lo archetipo de’ giardini, Discorso, Verona, 1622.

[2]Messalina shaking the turbulence of her thoughts did not sleep at night; and if she slept, Morpheus slept beside her, causing agitation in her, stealing and stripping a thousand images that his sexual fantasies during the day had suggested. “. Francesco PONA, La Messalina, Prieulegio, Venice, 1627, pp. 34.

[3]I enclose, by way of example, an edition of each book cited: Robert GRAVES, Count Belisarius, Rosetta Books, New York, 2014. Robert GRAVES, I, Claudius, Rosetta Books, New York, 2014.

[4]“ First, marriage would be incestuous; secondly, she was the mother of Lucius Domitius, to whom she had taken the most violent aversion; third, now that Messalina was dead, she could claim the title of the worst woman in Rome. Even in Messalina’s life it would have been a very good question how to decide between these two: they were equally vicious, and if Messalina had been more promiscuous than Agrippinilla, she had at least never committed incest, as Agrippinilla, as far as I know, had. But Agrippinilla had a solitary virtue: she was very brave, while Messalina, as we have seen, was a coward. “. Robert SERIOUS, Wife Messalina, Rosettabooks, New York, 2014, pp. 356.

[5]” His voice weakened and suffocated as he looked at them; and aware that the curse of guilt and dishonor might fall upon them, tears of repentance for the first time supplanted the witnesses of fear. “Do not weep, my love,” said Silius, as he looked quickly at her beauty, who, like a landscape seen through the mist of a summer rain, borrowed a softness from her tears; “As you are wife and mother, Claudius’ love cannot be deaf to the allure of all. “For my part, I think not, for you are safe. Let the punishment of both fall alone upon Silius, and he will bear it patiently, yes, he will give you a kind greeting, if, in death, you still he has his love “. Edward MATURIN, Sejanus: And Other Roman Tales, Saunders, New York, 1839, pp. 95.

[6]Attached are some of his works by way of example as Alexandre DUMAS, The Lady with the Pearls, BNF, Paris, 2014 or the whole work Give me to the Camellias in the following link: (06/09/2020)

[7]Alexandre DUMAS, Claude’s wife, Third, Paris, 1837, pp. 77 – 86.

[8]“Instead of wanting this, my implored desire, / to be consumed in thunder, smoke and fire. / That the boring appetite of / the little queens fears fear, / I will be the queen of my own pleasure in everything. / already, what is this? That music stops there; / A sudden strange heaviness / and drowsiness / I love my tender eyes to turn off their lights. (falls asleep) [Between three furies with the arrows of pride, lust and murder] / First fury: Of those blue flames that burn faint, / Where black souls swim in brimstone. / Dark infernal fall below, / Lakes of horror, pain and affliction / Second fury: From the terrible thunder smoking fire, / We come, we fly to your desire. / Third fury: To ignite your mind, leaning lewd / First fury: To unjust deeds, murders and lust. ” Excerpt from the work of Nathaniel RICHARDS, The tragedy of Mesalina, the Roman empress , Kunde, London, 1662, verses 20 – 34.

[9]Pietro ZAGURI, My dear Casanova, H. Champion, Venice, 2008.

[10] “Here is Messalina, who, against my will, as always, carried by her natural inclinations, made a demonstration of herself, although the black of my ink has deformed it so much that it should (as it is usual). for women) seek to hide and fear being seen in public. In the end, all institutions and all teachings are unable to contain the natural impulses of a person who develops from birth to the soul and who is completely devoted to pleasure and life. civics. Readers, apologize for your faults, and if she lives shamelessly, let her enjoy it, because after a violent death, she will return to the lights. “Information found in the book by Wendy HELLER, Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women’s Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice, University of California, London, 2003, pp. 275. If you want to read ZAGURI’s original work, you can find it at the following link: (28/07/2020)

[11]I add a link where you will find information about the boxes: (11/09/2020)

[12]Attached, for those who are interested in seeing his filmography, links to the works mentioned: You can watch the film Cleopatra’s legions complete on Youtube:; and also the summary ofBrave bull: (06/09/2020)

[13] I propose to you, the link where you can find the movie Messalina Empress Venus, directed by Vittorio COTTAFAVI (28/07/2020)

[14] Then I give it to you, for those interested, two of the author’s adult films: Holocaust Porn The work is not on the Internet, but I attach a link where you can buy it; (06/09/2020) i The erotic nights of the living dead, full movie link: (06/09/2020)

[15]The reader can find it at the following link, some of his horror works: Trailer of Anthropophagus. (06/09/2020) o In the following link you can see the full version of the workRed blood (06/09/2020)

[16]The information written comes from the following website: (28/07/2020)

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