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Messalina

By: Honor Cargill-Martin
Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
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Summary

This is the story of Messalina–third wife of Emperor Claudius and one of the most notorious women to have inhabited the Roman world.

The scandalous image of the Empress Messalina as a ruthless and sexually insatiable schemer, derived from the work of Roman historians such as Tacitus and Suetonius, has taken deep root in the Western imagination. The stories they told about her included nightly visits to a brothel and a twenty-four-hour sex competition with a prostitute. Tales like these have defined the empress's legacy, but her real story is much more complex.

In her new life of Messalina, the classicist Honor Cargill-Martin reappraises one of the most slandered and underestimated female figures of ancient history. Looking beyond the salacious anecdotes, she finds a woman battling to assert her position in the overwhelmingly male world of imperial Roman politics–and succeeding. Intelligent, passionate, and ruthless when she needed to be, Messalina's story encapsulates the cut-throat political manoeuvring and unimaginable luxury of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in its heyday.

Cargill-Martin sets out not to 'salvage' Messalina's reputation, but to look at her life in the context of her time. Above all, she seeks to reclaim the humanity of a life story previously circumscribed by currents of high politics and patriarchy.

©2023 Honor Cargill-Martin (P)2023 Head of Zeus

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Messalina

I really enjoyed listening to this audio on someone i knew nothing about.I'm looking forward to other works by this author aswell.Antonia Beamish does a great job as narrator.😁❤👍

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Enjoyable and interesting

At one level this is a straightforward account of the life of Messalina based honestly in what we can know from the sources given flesh by an author who doesn’t allow her personality and opinions to obtrude as much as most feminist historians who often spoil good work by over-egging their puddings.
In fact some if this author’s best and clearest writing concerns the men, and particularly her balanced take on Tiberius, sparing us the usual tropes. To write this insightfully about the emperors makes it easy to take in and trust what is an equally impartial summing up about the book’s subject and her achievements and limitations.
Above all, the author provides clear and well-written background on the excesses of the imperial court with a good deal of material I hadn’t known before.
The book is read perfectly

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  • Stephen C.
  • 19-05-23

One of the best history books I’ve read or listened in a long time.

This is one of the best history books I’ve read in a long time, very well researched.

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