Marcus Valerius Messalla Rufus

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For other individuals with this name, see Marcus Valerius Messalla (disambiguation).

Marcus Valerius Messalla Rufus (c. 104/3 - 26 BC),[1] was a Roman senator who was elected consul in 53 BC.

Family[edit]

Messalla was the son of Marcus Valerius Messalla Niger and Hortensia (sister of the consul of 69 BC). He had a sister, Valeria Messalla, who was the fifth wife of the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla.[2]

Messalla had two sons: Marcus Valerius Messalla (consul 32 BC) and Potitus Valerius Messalla (suffect consul 29 BC).[3]

Career[edit]

Messalla Rufus probably served as Praetor in 62 BC.[4] His appointment as consul in 53 BC was delayed due to a scandal involving the consular elections, followed by public disorder between the followers of Publius Clodius Pulcher and Titus Annius Milo. It was only in July 53 BC that he entered the office. He and his colleague's attempts to hold elections for 52 BC were also disrupted.[5]

Messalla Rufus was twice accused of illegal practices in connection with the elections; on the first occasion he was acquitted, in spite of his obvious guilt, through the eloquence of his uncle Quintus Hortensius; on the second he was condemned. He took the side of Gaius Julius Caesar in the civil war. He was a legate under Caesar probably by 48 BC.[6] In 47 BC, Messalla Rufus had to deal with mutinous troops under his command at Messana.[7] In the following year (46 BC) he accompanied Caesar to Africa; after the Battle of Thapsus he was ordered to occupy the town of Utica.[8] He then served under Caesar in Hispania in 45 BC.[9]

After Cicero's divorce (prior to Cicero's execution) he apparently married the widow Terentia. He was augur for fifty-five years[10] and wrote a work on the science of divination.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Syme, R., Augustan Aristocracy, p. 329
  2. ^ Syme, R., Augustan Aristocracy, pp. 227 f.
  3. ^ Syme, R., Augustan Aristocracy, pp. 228-9
  4. ^ Cicero described him as a candidate for the praetorship in 63 BC - see Broughton, pg. 173
  5. ^ Broughton, pg. 227
  6. ^ Broughton, pg. 282
  7. ^ Broughton, pg. 291
  8. ^ Broughton, pg. 302
  9. ^ Broughton, pg. 312
  10. ^ Broughton, pg. 255

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Appius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus
53 BC
Succeeded by
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica (Metellus Scipio) and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus