Flora (mythology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Goddess of flowers and the season of spring
Wall painting - Flora - Stabiae (villa di Arianna) - Napoli MAN 8834.jpg
Cosiddetta Flora from the Villa di Arianna in Stabiae near Pompeii, 1st century Roman fresco
Personal information
Greek equivalentChloris
Oscan equivalentFluusa
Flora Farnese (Naples), mid-18th century AD

Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Roman goddess of flowers and of the season of spring[1] – a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime,[2] as did her role as goddess of youth.[3] She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.


The name Flōra descends from Proto-Italic *flōsā ('goddess of flowers'), itself a derivation from Proto-Italic *flōs ('flower'; cf. Latin flōs, flōris 'blossom, flower').[4] It is cognate with the Oscan goddess of flowers Fluusa, demonstrating that the cult was known more widely among Italic peoples. The name ultimately derives from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₃ōs ('blossoming').[4]


Her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers.[5] The festival was first instituted in 240 B.C.E, and on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was also given a temple in 238 B.C.E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, and the women wearing normally forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic,[6] and including nudity when called for[7] – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares.[8] On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.[5]

Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, who was a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god also known as Zephyr, and her companion was Hercules.

Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had ever enjoyed in ancient Rome.[citation needed]


Flora is the main character of the ballet The Awakening of Flora. She is also mentioned in Henry Purcell's Nymphs and Shepherds.


There are many monuments to Flora, for example in Rome (Italy), Valencia (Spain), and Szczecin (Poland).

In art[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Flora". Myth Index. Archived from the original on 2016-05-03.
  2. ^ "Khloris, goddess of flowers". Theoi Project.
  3. ^ H. Nettleship ed., A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1891) p. 238
  4. ^ a b de Vaan 2008, pp. 227–228.
  5. ^ a b Guirand, Felix; Aldington, Richard; Ames, Delano; Graves, Robert (December 16, 1987). New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. Crescent Books. p. 201. ISBN 0517004046.
  6. ^ P/ Green ed., Juvenal: The Sixteen Satires (1982) p. 156
  7. ^ H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (1967) p. 151
  8. ^ H. Nettleship ed., A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1891) p. 238



  • Ovid, Fasti V.193-212
  • Macrobius, Saturnalia I.10.11-14
  • Lactantius, Divinae institutions I.20.6-10

External links[edit]