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Celebrity's Relative
    (circa 18-48)
    Born in Rome
    Full name is Valeria Messalina
    Third wife of Claudius and legendary nymphomaniac
    Related to Augustus through both her grandmothers
    She often painted her nipples dark red.
    She manipulated her doting husband into executing or banishing anyone she felt threatened by.
    She and a famous prostitute had a contest to see who could sleep with the most men in 24 hours. (Messalina won.)
    She planned orgies for upper class Roman matrons.
    While still married to Claudius, she married another man and plotted Claudius' assassination with him.
    When found guilty of treason, she was too cowardly to commit suicide, so a guard stabbed her.
    At about age 18, she was married off to a middle-aged man widely believed to be simple-minded.
    Her whorish reputation may have been exaggerated by her enemies.
    For a time she was the most powerful woman in Rome.
    Her political maneuvering may have been intended to protect her vulnerable son Britannicus.
    If so, her efforts failed--Britannicus was assassinated at age 13.
    Writers clucked over her morals but couldn't get enough of her sexual escapades.

Credit: Georgina

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