The Ancient Library

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freedom of the forum was extinct; no great public causes survived; the measures of the govern­ment and the person of the, ruler were hazardous topics, and the orator addressed not a mixed multi­tude, but a select audience. A scholastic spirit was rapidly encroaching upon the province of elo­quence, and preparing the way for the rhetorical finesse of the later Roman schools. Messalla was not chargeable with all the vices of the rhetoricians, but neither had he retained the purity of the pre­ceding age. He was preferred to Cicero, and the preference is a proof of the incompetence of his critics. More smooth and correct than vigorous or original, he persuaded rather than convinced, and conciliated rather than persuaded. His health was feeble, and the prooemia of his speeches gene­rally pleaded indisposition and solicited indulgence. (Quint, iv, 1. § 8 ; Dialog, de Oral. 17, 18, 21.) Of his speeches the following titles have been transmitted: 1. Contra Aufidiam (Quinct. x. 1. § 22) ; 2, Pro Liburnia, of which there is a frag­ment in Festus (s. v. tabeiri) ; 3. Pro Pythodoro (Sen. Contr, ii. 12, p. 171, Bipont. ed.) ; 4. Contra Antonii Literas (Charis. p. 103); and 5. De Antonii Statuis (id. p. 80), both of which were probably delivered in b.c. 32, 31. Messalla mostly took the defendants' side, and was frequently associated in causes with C. Asinius Pollio. (Quinct. Inst. x. 1. § 24.) He recommended and practised translation from the Greek orators; and his version of the PJiryne of Hyperides was thought to exhibit remarkable skill in either language. (Quinct. x. 5. § 2). Messalla was somewhat of a jurist in his diction, preferring native Latinisms to adoptive Greek words: e. g. funambulus to schoenobates (Schol. Cruqu. ad Hor. Sat. i. 10,28), and archaisms to novelties in expression and orthography. In the age of Domitian Messalla had become nearly obsolete; beside the gaudy ornaments and mea­sured declamation of the rhetoricians, he appeared tame and insipid. (Sen. Excerpt. Contr, iii. Prooem. • Dialog, de Orat. 21 ; Meyer, Fragm. Or. Rom. p. 208 ; Schott, de Rliet. ap. Sen. Memor.)

His political eminence, the wealth he inherited or acquired in the civil wars (Casaub. in Pers.Sat. ii. 71), and the favour of Antony and Augustus, rendered Messalla one of the principal persons of his age, and an effective patron of its literature. (Quinct. xii. 10. § 11, IK § 28.) His friendship for Horace (Od, iii. 21, Sat. i. 6. 42, 10. 29, 85, A. P. 371) and his intimacy with Tibullus are well known. In the elegies of the latter poet, indeed, even where he is not (as in elegies i. 7, iv. 1) the immediate subject of the poem, the name of Messalla is continually introduced. The dedication of the " Ciris," a doubtful work, is not sufficient proof of his friendship with Virgil; but the com­panion of " Plotius and Varius, of Maecenas and Octavius" (Hor, Sat. i. 10. 81), cannot well have been unknown to the author of the Eclogues and Georgics. He directed Ovid's early studies (ex Pont. iv. 16), and Tiberius sought his acquaint­ance in early manhood, and took him for-his model in eloquence. (Suet, Tib. 70.) Some of Messalla's bon mots, which were highly relished by his con­temporaries^ have been handed down to us. (Sen. Suas- I, 2, 3.) He was a man well suited to the era in which he lived. He was courtly, cautious, and serviceable to the government both abroad and at home ; and his early passion for liberty easily subsided into reasonable acquiescence in a govern-


ment that at least protected life and property. If he merited his own description of Dellius [DEL-lius], a man who had danced through a revolution (Sen. Suas. 1), he atoned for his compliance by his zeal in belialf of his friends (Plut. Brut. 53), by his encouragement of literary aspirants (Sen. Suas. 6), and by his intimacy with .the best and wisest men of his generation.

Messalla's life forms the subject of several mono-graphies, e. g. ,De Burigny, Memoires de VAcad. des Inscript. xxxiv. p. 99 ff. ; D. G. Moller, Disputat. de M. Val. Corv. Messalla, Altorf. 1689, 4to. ; L. Wiese, de M. Val. Messall. Corvin. Vita et Studiis Doctrinae, Berol. 1829, 8vo. ; to which add Ellendt. Proleg. ad dc. Brut. pp.-131— 138.

9. potit xrs valerius messalla, was one of the supplementary consuls in b. c. 29. He was probably father of No. 11.

10. M. valerius M. f. M. n. messalla barbatus, with the agnomen appianus, was consul in b. c. 12, and died in his year of office. He was the father (or grandfather) of the empress Messallina-[messallina, No. 1] ; and Suetonius (Claud. 26) calls him cousin of the emperor Clau­dius I. Strictly speaking, however, he was cousin only by marriage; and there is some difference of opinion as to the name of his wife. Lipsius (ad Tac. Ann. xi. 37) and Perizonius (Ep. ad N. Heins. Collect. Burmann. iv. pp. 801—802) make Messalla to have married Domitia Lepida, daughter of Antonia major, and granddaughter of M. Antony and Octavia. Claudius, son of Anto­nia minor, was therefore Domitia Lepida's first cousin, but Messalla's cousin only by marriage. The following stemma will show their respective rela­tionship:—

M. Antony, triumvir j


Octavia, sister of Augustus.

Antonia minor,

married Nero Claudius Drusus.

Antonia major,

Claudius I.

married L. Domitius Ahenobarbus.

Gn. Domitius Ahenobarbus.

Domitia Lepida,

married M. Val. Messall.



wife of Claudius I.

Ryckius (ad loc. Tac.\ on the other hand, and Brotier (Tac. Supplem. /Stemm. Caes.\ make two Messallae Barbati, father and son, of whom the elder married Marcella major, daughter of Claudius Marcellus, consul b. c.. 50, and Octavia, and the younger Domitia Lepida. (Dion Cass. liv. 28 ; Tac. Ann. xi. 37.)

11. L. valerius potiti p. messalla Vo-lesus, son probably of No. 9, was consul in a. d. 5, and afterwards proconsul of Asia, where his cruelties drew on him the anger of Augustus and a condemnatory decree from the senate. Accord­ing to Seneca, Messalla in one day decapitated 300 persons, and walked among the headless trunks ex­claiming " a royal spectacle, and more than royal, for what king ever did the like ! " (Tac. Ann. iii. 68 ; Sen. cfe/ra, ii. 5 ; Fasti.)

12. M. valerius M. f. messalla, consul in A. d. 20, moved at the first meeting of the senate under Tiberius, in A. d. 14, that the oath to the emperor (sacminentum) should for the. future be

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