Valeria Messalina, sometimes spelled Messallina, was the third wife of the Roman emperor Claudius. She was a paternal cousin of Emperor Nero, a second cousin of Emperor Caligula, and a great-grandniece of Emperor Augustus. A powerful and influential woman with a reputation for promiscuity, she allegedly conspired against her husband and was executed on the discovery of the plot. Her notorious reputation probably resulted from political bias, but works of art and literature have perpetuated it into modern times.
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