Martin Lisemore's I, Claudius

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Throughout History, women are often given little power and authority. Along with this, they are usually forced to adopt sexually stereotypical roles such as wife, daughter and mother. This was not the case with Messalina who was described by ancient sources as one of the most manipulative, vindictive and sexually depraved women in history. In Martin Lisemore’s “I, Claudius” series, Messalina is constantly portrayed in these notoriously unflattering ways. At age 15, Messalina became the third wife of Roman Emperor Claudius. As both were from imperial families, their marriage was most likely politically motivated. Their marriage was made controversial not only due to Messalina’s licentious habits, but Claudius’ stubbornness and refusal to believe any claims against her. Non-Christian writer Tacitus proclaims that Messalina “betrayed her husband and indulged her own passions by…show more content…
In one of the ancient sources that extensively discuss’ Messalina, The Annals, by non-Christian writer Tacitus, historian Ronald H. Martin believes that he wrote within a senatorial class that was “hostile to Claudius from the outset” as Claudius reduced the power of the Senate. Therefore, Tacitus may have used Messalina in order to politically belittle Claudius making him appear foolish knowing it would appeal to elite audiences, as they knew the tension between Senators and Emperors. It also raises the point that if Messalina and Claudius were in fact married it may have been for political reasons instead of mere lust as Tacitus deems. Ronald H. Martins’ accusations of Tacitus sexually targeting Messalina to bring down Claudius exposes that she may not have been as concupiscent as presented in I, Claudius, and therefore her character in the series cannot be seen as totally historical authentic or

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