1. M'. VALERIUS MAXIMUS CORVINUS MESSALLA, M. F. M. N., son of M. Valerius Maximus Corvinus, was consul in B. C. 263, the second year of the first Punic war. Sicily was assigned to both the consuls for their province. Their campaign was brilliant: more than sixty of the Sicilian towns acknowleged the supremacy of Rome, and the consuls concluded a peace with Hieron, which lasted the remainder of his long life, and proved equally advantageous to both Syracuse and Rome, [HIERON, No. 2.] Messalla's share in this campaign is inseparable from that of M. Otacilius Crassus [CRASSUS, OTACILIUS, No. 1], his colleague.
But that his contemporaries ascribed to Messalla the principal merit of these events appears from his alone triumphing "De Paeneis et Rege Siculorum Hierone" (Fasli
).as well as from the cognomen he obtained on relieving Messana from blockade, which, slightly changed in pronunciation (Messana -- Messalla), remained in the Valerian family for nearly eight centuries.
A house on the Palatine hill was a more tangible recompence of his services (Ascon. in Pisonian.
p. 13, Orelli); and his triumph was distinguished by two remarkable monuments of his victory-by a pictorial representation of a battle with the Sicilian and Punic armies, which he placed in the pronaos of the Curia Hostilia (Plin. Nat. 35.4.7
; Schol. Bob. in Vatinian.
p. 318, Orelli; comp. Liv. 41.28
), and which Pliny regards as one of the earliest encouragements to art at Rome--and by a sun-dial, Horologium, from the booty of Catana, which was set up on a column behind the rostra, in the forum. (Varro, apud Plin. H. N.
7.60; Dict. of Antiq. s. v. Horologium.
) Messalla was censor in B. C. 252, when he degraded 400 equites to aerarians for neglect of duty in Sicily. (Plb. 1.16
; Diod. Eclog.
23.5; Zonar. 8.9
; Liv. xvi. Epit.; Eutrop. 2.19
; Oros. 4.7
; Sen. Brev. Vit.
13; Macr. 1.6
; Val. Vax. 2.9.7.)