Julio Claudian Essay

The emperor, Claudius, was a man with great integrity, individuality, common sense, patriotism and determination. He contributed a substantial amount of greatness in order to serve the Roman Empire well and as sources say, did so due to the influence of the Freedmen and Imperial Women.
Though some believe that their influence was too strong and Claudius’ decisions were based directly on their manipulative power.
Sources from both Tacitus and Suetonius provide us with information that allows us to look deeper into the decisions and influences of Claudius’ role as Emperor.
One of the many influential people in Claudius’ life was an Imperial Woman by the name of Valeria Messalina.
Messalina was a Roman Empress as the third wife and second cousin of Claudius.
Messalina was seen as a very promiscuous woman, full of sexual power to influence the influential.
Although that played a major part in the Emperor’s role of authority, she did give Claudius two children – Octavia (AD 39) and Britannicus (AD 41).
The sources – Suetonius and Tacitus, provide us with information that allows us to look closely at Messalina’s reputation throughout Ancient Rome.
Both Suetonius and Tacitus portray Messalina as extremely ‘lustful’, but also ‘insulting’, ‘disgraceful’, ‘cruel’, and ‘avaricious’; they claimed her negative qualities were a result of her inbreeding.
Though stories of wild parties, intrigue and murder follow Messalina from the ancient sources, some modern scholars have painted her as a ‘wise’ player in the political world of the time.
Messalina’s ability to seduce meant a great deal of power was placed into her hands. She could not only influence those around her, but Claudius too.
Soon, Messalina became the most powerful woman in Rome. Claudius bestowed great honour’s in her name. Her face became familiar in public places, as statues of her were being erected in many various locations. Her birthday was also one to be celebrated officially, now that she had...