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cohd Spanish war, in b. o. 45, He was the purchaser of the domus Autroniana. (Cic. ad Att. i. 13.)
8. M. valerius, M. p. M. n. mess all a corvinus, son of the preceding, was born, according to Eusebius, in b. c. 59, in the same year with Livy the historian. (HieroD. in Euseb. Ckron. Olymp. 180. 2.) Since, however, Messalla had gained some reputation for eloquence before the breaking out of the civil war in b. c. 43, the earlier date assigned by Scaliger (ad loc. Euseb.) for his birth, about b. c. 70, seems preferable. (Ellendt, Proleg. ad Cic. Brut. p. 131, comp. Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. p. 183, B. C. 59.) He was partly educated at Athens (Cic. ad Att. xii. 32), where probably began his intimacy with Horace and L. Bibulus. (Hor. Sat. i. 10. 81—86; Appian, B. C. iv. 38; comp. Plut. Brut. 24.) In the interval between Caesar's death and the formation of the triumvirate, Messalla returned to Italy. (Cic. ad Att. xv. 17.) He attached himself to the senatorian party, and especially to its leader, Cas-sius, whom, long after, when he had become the friend of Augustus, he was accustomed to call "my general." (Tac. Ann. iv. 34 ; Dion Cass. xlvii. 24; Plut. Brut. 40 ; Veil, ii. 71.) Messalla was proscribed ; but since his kinsmen proved his absence from Rome at the time of Caesar's assassination, the triumvirs, notwithstanding his wealth and influence (Appian, I. c.; Cic. ad Att. xvi. 16), erased his name from the list, and offered him security for his person and property. Messalla, however, rejected their offers, followed Cassius into Asia, held the third place in the command of the republican army (Veil. Pat. ii. 71), and at Philippi, in the first day's battle, turned Augustus's flank, stormed his camp, and narrowly missed taking him prisoner. (Plut. Brut. 41.) To Messalla, on the night before the battle, Cassius made his protest that, like Cn. Pompey at Pharsalia, he was compelled to set his country's fortune on a single stake. (Id. ib. 40.) After the death of Brutus and Cassius, Messalla, with a numerous body of fugitives, took refuge in the island of Thasos. His followers,, though defeated, were not disorganised and offered him the command. But he induced them to accept honourable terms from Antony (Appian, B. C. iv. 38), to whom he attached himself until Cleopatra's influence made his ruin certain and easy to be foreseen. Messalla then, for the third time, changed his party, and served Augustus effectively in Sicily (Appian, B. C. v. 102—103, 110—113) b. c. 36; against the Salassians, a mountain tribe, lying between the Graian and the Pennine Alpsj b. c. 34 (Dion Cass. xlix. 38 ; Appian, Illyr. 17 j Strab. iv. p. 189), and at Actium, b.c. 31. A decree of the senate had abrogated Antony's consulship for b. c. 31, and Messalla was appointed to the vacant place* (Dion Cass. 1. 10.) At Actium he commanded the centre of the fleet, and so highly distinguished himself, that Augustus remarked, Messalla had now fought as well for him as formerly at Philippi against him. " I have always taken the best and justest side," was Messalla's adroit rejoinder. (Plut. Brut. 53.) At Daphne in Syria, Messalla proved himself an unscrupulous partisan, by dispersing among distant legions and garrisons Antony's gladiators, and finally destroying them, although they had not submitted until life and freedom had been guaranteed them. (Dion Cass. li. 7.) He was proconsul of Aquitaine in
b. c. 28—27, and obtained a triumph for his reduction of that province. (Fasti; Dion Cass. liii. 12 j Appian, B. C. iv. 38 ; Tibull. i. 7, ii. 1. 33, ii. 5. 117, iv, 1, iv. 8. 5.) Shortly before or immediately after his administration of Aquitaine Messalla held a prefecture in Asia Minor. (Tibull, i. 3.) He was deputed by the senate, probably in b. c. 30, to greet Augustus with the title of " Pater Pa-triae ;" and the opening of his address on that occasion is preserved by Suetonius. (Aug. 58; comp. Flor. iv. 12. § 66; Ovid. Fast. ii. 127, Trist. ii. 39, 181 ; Dion Cass. lyi. 8, 41.) During the disturbances at the comitia in b. c. 27, Augustus nominated Messalla to the revived office of warden of the city; but he resigned it in a few days, either because he deemed its functions unconstitutional—incivilem potestatem (Euseb. 1991),—or himself unequal to their discharge-—quasi nescius imperandi (Tac. Ann. vi. 11 ; comp. Dion Cass. liv. 6). Messalla soon afterwards withdrew from all public employments except his augurship, to which Augustus had specially appointed him, although, at the time of his admission, there was no vacancy in the augural college. (Dion Cass. xlix* 16.) About two years before his death, which happened about the middle of Augustus's reign, b. c. 3—a. d. 3 (Dialog, de Orat. 17), Messalla's memory failed him, and he often could not recall his own name. (Hieron. ad Euseb. 2027 ; Plin, If. N. vii. 24.) A statue erected by Augustus in his own forum to M. Valerius Corvus, consul in b. c. 348, was probably either a tribute to his living or a memorial of his deceased friend Messalla* (Gell. ix. 11 ; comp. Suet. Aug. 21.) He left at least one son, Aurelius Cotta Messallinus [cotta, No. 12] ; and he had a brother who bore the name of Gellius Poplicola. (Dion Cass. xlvii. 24.) His tomb was of remarkable splendour. (Mart. Ep. viii. 3, x. 2.)
Messalla was as , much distinguished in the literary as in the political world of Rome. He was a patron of learning and the arts, and was himself an historian, a poet, a grammarian, and an orator. He wrote a history, or, more properly, commentaries on the civil wars after Caesar's death, froiti which both Suetonius (Aug. 58, 74) and Plutarch (Brut. 40, 41, 45, 53) derived materials. (Tac. Ann. iv. 34 ; Tibull. iv. 1. 5.) Towards the close of his life he composed a genealogical work, De Romania Familiis (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 13, xxxv. 2 ; Suet. Aug. 74.) The treatise, however, de Progenie Augusti, which sometimes accompanies Eutropius and the minor Roman historians, is the forgery of a much later age. Messalla's poems were probably occasional—vers de societe merely—and of a satirical or even licentious character. (Plin. Ep. v. 3.) His writings as a grammarian were numerous and minute, comprising treatises on collocation and lexicography, and on the powers and uses of single letters. The titles of two of these treatises have been preserved, "Liber de S. Litera" (Quinct. Inst. i. 7. § 23, i. 5. § 15, ix. 4, § 38) and "Liber de involute Dictis" (Fest. v. Sanates); and Suetonius (III. Gr. 4) cites part of a grammatical work or letter of Messalla's. (Quinct. Inst. i. 5. § 61, 6. § 42, viii. 3. § 24, ix* 4. § 38.) His eloquence reflected the character of his age. It was an era of transition from the decaying forms of an aristocratical republic to the vigorous centralisation of the imperial system of Trajan and ttyc Antonines. The ancient