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Florus

p423 Introduction

See also the introduction to the Loeb edition of the Epitome of Florus
and the introduction to Florus at Livius.Org.

The Author

There is considerable plausibility in the arguments which have been advanced in favour of regarding three apparently different Flori, namely the historian, the rhetor and the poet as one and the same person. The acceptance of these arguments commits us to taking the correct name to have been P. Annius Florus, as the rhetor was called, and to explaining as confusions the "Julius Florus or "Annaeus Florus" found in the MSS. of the historian.1 We no longer possess the rhetor's dialogue discussing the problem whether Virgil was more an orator than a poet (Vergilius orator an poeta), but from a Brussels manuscript containing an introduction to the lost theme important facts about the author's life are recoverable.2 He was born in Africa about 74 A.D. While at Rome in his younger days under Domitian he entered for the Capitoline competition in poetry, but owing to jealousy was denied the wreath of victory. This injustice so rankled in his heart that he left Rome for distant wanderings which ended with his settlement at Tarraco in Spain. One day in Trajan's p424reign a friend twitted him with his long absence from the capital, telling him that his poems had won appreciation there. By Hadrian's time he was once more in Rome, enjoying the Emperor's regard in virtue of his literary abilities and possibly because of some common links with Spain also. The intimacy was so close that it emboldened Florus to address Hadrian in a few extant trochaic lines of persiflage upon his craze for travel — Ego nolo Caesar esse to which we have the imperial repartee Ego nolo Florus esse.3 Happily there is more poetry in his hexameters upon spring-roses and in some at least of his trochaic tetrameters. This is the quality which has lent support to the conjecture hazarded by certain scholars, that Florus was the author of one of the most romantic poems in Latin, the Pervigilium Veneris. Certainly that poem would have been signally appropriate during the principate of Hadrian, who resuscitated the cult of Venus on a scale of great magnificence.4 We cannot, however, be sure that the Pervigilium Veneris belongs to the second century: and a rival hypothesis claims it for the fourth century, laying stress upon its resemblance to the manner of Tiberianus.5

In the codex Salmasianus of the Latin Anthologia (Parisinus, 10318) twenty-six trochaic tetrameters appear under the superscription Flori de qualitate vitae. The codex Thuaneus (Parisinus 8071) has, instead of Flori, Floridi, a corruption due to a mistake in the succeeding word. Five hexameters in the codex Salmasianus also bear the heading Flori.

p425 Texts of Florus' Verse

P. Burman, Anthol. Lat. Lib. II No. 97; III Nos. 288‑291. Amsterdam, 1759.

[Burman ascribes 97, Ego nolo . . ., to "Julius Florus"; 288, O quales …, 289 Aut hoc risit . . ., and 290, Hortus erat . . ., to an unknown author; and 291, Venerunt aliquando rosae . . ., to "Florus." Baehrens and Buecheler follow these ascriptions.]

J. C. Wernsdorf. Poetae Latini Minores, III pp483‑488. Altenburg, 1782.

L. Mueller. Rutilius Namatianus, etc., p26 sqq. Leipzig, 1870.

E. Baehrens, Poet. Lat. Min., IV, pp279, 346 sqq. Leipzig, 1882.

F. Buecheler and A. Riese. Anthologia Latina, I.i pp119‑121, and pp200‑202. Leipzig, 1894.

Relevant Works

O. Mueller. De P. Annio Poeta et de Pervig. Ven. diss. Berlin, 1855.

F. Eyssenhardt. Hadrian und Florus. Berlin, 1882.

G. Costa. Floro e Adriano, Bollettino di filol. 13 (1907), p252.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 One MS. has "L. Annei Flori."

2 F. Ritschl, Rhein. Mus. I.302; O. Jahn, Flori epitome, Leipzig, 1852, p. xli; edn. by K. Halm, Leipzig, 1854, p106; edn. by O. Rossbach, Leipzig, 1896, p183. See J. Wight Duff, A Lit. Hist. of Rome in Silver Age, p644.

3 Spartianus, Hadrian, xvi.

4 See Introduction, p344, to Loeb edition of Catullus, Tibullus and Pervigilium Veneris.

5 See introduction to Tiberianus, infra, p555.


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