This article addresses the intersection between landscape, memory, and power in Messalina’s movements through Rome, as recorded in Tacitus’ Annals. Messalina’s journeys demonstrate her appropriation of spatial memory and her transgressions of gender and status, as she attempts to relocate the imperial domus to the home of Gaius Silius. Reading the imperial domus as a kind of landscape opens new avenues for interpretation. Tacitus recognizes the relationship between the imperial mother and the Palatine domus, and connects Messalina to the space itself. He thereby prompts readers to consider the fragile nature of imperial power and dynastic succession as bound up in the imperial cubiculum and the body of the emperor’s wife.
"Messalina’s Moveable Domus: Landscape and Memory in Annals 11,"
New England Classical Journal: Vol. 47
Tacitus, Annals, Messalina, memory, landscape, Claudius, Gaius Silius, domus