Valeria (wife of Sulla)

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Valeria was the fifth wife of Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. She was the daughter of Marcus Valerius Messalla Niger and a sister of the consul of 53 BC, Marcus Valerius Messalla Rufus.

An "alert young divorcee", as Ronald Syme writes, [1] she attracted the notice of Sulla at the theatre, and he married her towards the end of his life. When he retired from public life to a villa in southern Italy, she accompanied him. She was pregnant at the time of his death in 78 BC and had a daughter, Cornelia Postuma, some months later.

Plutarch calls her a sister of the orator Quintus Hortensius, but this is a mistake probably arising from the fact that the sister of Hortensius married a Valerius Messala.[2]



  1. Journal of Roman Studies xiv (1955), 155
  2. Plutarch, Sulla 35, 37; Drumann, Geschichte Roms, vol. ii. p. 508. (cited in Smith)