Valeria Messalina or Messallina, was the third wife of the Emperor Claudius. She is one of the most maligned women in written history ... giving rise to the phrase later used on Napolean's sister, Pauline Bonaparte: "Messalina of Empire."
also paternal cousin of Emperor Nero, second cousin of Caligula, and great-grandniece of Emperor Augustus. A powerful and influential woman, it was claimed she conspired against her husband and was executed.
1st dau. and 2nd child of Domitia and her first cousin Marcus Valerius Messalla Barbatus.[Prosopographia Imperii Romani V 88][Suetonius, Vita Claudii, 26.29 Mother was youngest child of consul Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and Antonia Major. Domitius had been the first husband of the future Empress Agrippina the Younger and biological father of Emperor Nero ... making Nero Messalina's first cousin despite a 17 age difference. Messalina's grandmothers Claudia Marcella and Antonia Major were half sisters. Claudia Marcella, Messalina's paternal grandmother, was the daughter of Augustus' sister Octavia the Younger by her marriage to Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor. Antonia Major, Messalina's maternal grandmother, was the elder daughter of Octavia by her marriage to Mark Antony, and was Claudius' maternal aunt. There was, therefore, a large amount of inbreeding in the family.