Messalla Corvinus

(2549 words)
  • Hannah Mitchell (St Andrews University)

Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus was a politician, writer, orator, and patron of poets, active at the time of the late Republic and Augustan Principate. He was reputedly one of the most eloquent men of his day. Descended from an ancient patrician family which could boast many distinguished ancestors, he was thus destined for a prominent political career from the outset. His career was eventful, as it spanned a period of civil war and the creation of the Principate.

Political Career

Both the dates of Messalla’s birth and death have been disputed: most likely he was born in 64 BCE and died in either 8 or 13 CE. His father was M. Valerius Messalla Niger, the consul of 61 BCE, and his mother was Palla. Messalla is first …

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Mitchell, Hannah. "Messalla Corvinus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 January 2014
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]