Sex in Ancient Rome: Behind the Tales of Wild Eroticism, a Different Truth | Mary Beard

Empress Messalina - debauchery or disease?

Messalina became famous for her irresistible desire for sex. And although after the death of the great harlot the Roman Senate did everything to make her name forgotten, information about her irrepressible lust has reached today. The historians Suetonius and Tacitus, as well as the poet Juvenal, played a significant role in this. Unfortunately, the images of Messalina were not preserved, since, by decision of the Senate, all the statues and paintings depicting the empress were destroyed.
Being the wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, Valeria Messalina, of course, could afford such “innocent fun” as captives, slaves and gladiators. This means of entertainment used by many noble women of ancient Rome. But Valerie was not enough. Almost every night, Messalina visited a brothel, where, under the guise of a prostitute, she was given to anyone who wanted to. Her sexual appetite was irrepressible: she changed partners every half hour.Once the Roman empress arranged a contest with one of the local prostitutes, and when she surrendered at dawn, serving 25 clients (about the same as Messalina), the first lady of the empire gave herself to another 25 men, taking them with the same passion.
What dictated this behavior of Valeria Messalina? It is unlikely that it can only be attributed to the bad influence of the external environment. Unfortunately, almost nothing was known about mental disorders in ancient Rome. Messalina is a prime example of a disease like nymphomania.
A nymphomaniac is not able to give joy to a man, she is only interested in her own pleasure. She does not get tired of numerous orgasms, but they also do not bring satisfaction to her. As a result, both body and soul suffer, but the nympho cannot stop. Naturally, her partners get nothing but mechanical sex.
The causes of nymphomania are mental disorders and hormonal disorders. As for Messalina, being a relative of Caligula, she lost her virginity at 13 and soon became involved in palace orgies. Caligula married her at the age of 20 to his uncle Claudius Tiberius.The difference in age between husband and wife was about 25 years, and the ardent temperament of the insatiable Messalina did not match the sexual needs of her husband. Especially since Claudius was entrusted with the title of a stuttering, quiet little fool, fascinated by history and literature.
Spouse for many years pretended that he knows nothing about the depraved exploits of his wife. But his patience came to an end when she wanted to raise her lover to the rank of emperor. Perhaps Claudius, because of the softness of his character, would have tolerated this betrayal of his wife, but the imperial legate stood up for the honor of his ruler.

Video: Top 10 Infamous Roman Emperors and Empresses

Empress Messalina - Depravity or Illness

Empress Messalina - Depravity or Illness

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