3. M. VALERIUS M. F. . M'. N. ESSALLA, son of the preceding, was prefect of the fleet in Sicily in B. C. 210, the ninth year of the second Punic war.
He was ordered by M. Valerius Laevinus [LAEVINUS, No. 2], the consul of that year, to effect a landing in Africa. Messalla ravaged the neighbourhood of Utica, and returned with his booty and captives to Lilybaeum fourteen days after his departure from Sicily. Laevinus being directed by the senate to nominate a dictator, named his lieutenant Messalla, but both the senate and people cancelled the appointment. (Liv. 27.5
He is probably the same Messalla who was praetor peregrinus in B. C. 194, and consul in 188.
In the latter year the province of Liguria and a consular army were assigned him, but he performed nothing memorable, and gave some offence by returning late in the year to hold the next comitia. In B. C. 174 Messalla was legatus in Macedonia, and in 172 was appointed decemvir sacrorum, in the room of M. Aemilius Papus, deceased. (Liv. 34.54