Like Horace & Cicero
the younger, Marcus Valerius Messala Corvinus was a student in Athens
when Julius Caesar was
assassinated (44 BCE). Despite
his republican principles, he survived proscription to become a trusted
colleague of Octavian. On
the eve of the battle of Actium (31 BCE),
Octavian chose Messala to replace Marc Antony as his co-consul.
After Antony's defeat he was given several commands in the East. He was
the first governer of Syria appointed by Octavian (29 BCE).
After this he was sent to Gaul. He returned to Rome to celebrate a triumph
for having crushed an uprising in Aquitania (27 BCE).
Having been named the first prefect of the city of Rome, he persuaded the Senate to designate
Octavian as the "father of the fatherland" [pater patriae].
But as Octavian assumed absolute authority under the name of Caesar
Augustus, Messala resigned his office in the new imperial order, having
served only six days.
He remained an influential orator,
author & patron of litterati of the Augustan age, such as Horace & Ovid. Though none of his own
works survive, his memoirs of the Roman civil wars became a prime source
of information for later Roman historians, including Suetonius
of Rome: Illyrian Wars 9.17.
Caesars: Augustus 58, 74.
Men: Grammarians 4.
Cassius Dio, Roman