November 20, 2012

Messalina


While there are probably dozens of metal songs about Elizabeth Bathory, the number of songs about Messalina is surprisingly small. Suprisingly, given that Messalina's reputation makes her a subject that is at least as 'metal' as the infamous countess. Perhaps even more so, when taking into account that Messalina's actions may have been less brutal than Elizabeth's, they were certainly as immoral and definitely more subtle and devious. Also, while nowadays many historians question whether Elizabeth actually committed the brutal acts contributed to her, such doubts hardly exist concerning Messalina's legend.

Valeria Messalina was born into Rome's upper class in 17 or 20 CE. She was married in 37 or 38 CE to Claudius, her second cousin, who was probably close to 50 at the time, during the reign of emperor Caligula. Messalina was an influentual woman at Caligula's court and became even more powerful when Claudius was proclaimed emperor after Caligula's assasination, making her empress.

According to more or less contemporary sources (Tacitus, Pliny the Elder, Suetonius) Messalina was not only powerful, but also extremely lustful and promiscuous, not to mention avaricious, manipulative and cruel. She made her husband execute many of her enemies. Eventually, Messalina went too far when she plotted to kill her husband. The plot was uncovered and Claudius ordered her death.

Ever since, the tales of Messalina's lust have inspired many artists. An opera was written about her in the 17th century and in de the 20th century her character was featured in many novels and films. Considering all this, it remains curiuous to say the least why there are hardly any metal songs about Messalina.
This song was written in 2006 and released on the album "Blazing Flames Of War" in 2007.