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Julius Florus was an ancient Roman poet, orator, and author who was born in approximately 74 A.D and died in approximately 130 A.D. As is the case for many ancient authors, not much is known of Florus, including his real name or the exact dates of his birth and death. The name “Julius Florus” is just one of many names historians[who?] believe is the correct calling for “Florus,” the author of the Epitome of Roman History. Other assumed identities you may hear of Florus are Lucius Annaeus Florus, Annaeus Florus, Lucius Florus, and Publius Annaeus Florus. If you research of all these identities closely, you will find for the most part all of their stories and backgrounds are generally the same.
Florus was born in Africa, but raised in Rome.
Florus was one of the young men who accompanied Tiberius on his mission to settle the affairs of Armenia. He has been variously identified with Julius Florus, a distinguished orator and uncle of Julius Secundus, an intimate friend of Quintilian (Instit. x. 3, 13); with the leader of an insurrection of the Treviri (Tacitus, Ann. iii. 40); with the Postumus of Horace (Odes, ii. 14) and even with the historian Florus.
Under Domitian’s rule he competed in the Capital Competition, which was an event in which poets received rewards and recognition from the emperor himself. Although he acquired great applause from the crowds, he was not victorious in the event. Florus himself blamed his loss on favoritism on behalf of the emperor.
Shortly after his defeat, Florus departed from Rome to travel abroad. His travels are said to have taken him through the Greek-speaking sections of the Roman Empire, taking in Sicily, Crete, the Cyclades, Rhodes, and Egypt.
At the conclusion of his travels, he resided in Tarraco, Spain. In Tarraco, Florus founded a school and taught literature. During this time he also began to write the Epitome of Roman History.
After many years in Spain,he eventually migrated back to Rome during the rule of Hadrian (117 A.D- 138 A.D). Hadrian and Florus became very close friends, and Florus was rumored to be involved in government affairs during the second half of Hadrian's rule.
The two books of the Epitome of Roman History were written in admiration of the Roman people. The books illuminate many historical events in a favorable tone for the Roman citizens. The documentation the book provides is mainly based on the writings of Livy, who was a Roman historian and author responsible for the work Ab Urbe Condita Libri.
Florus is credited with being politically unbiased for almost all of his work. However, many will say[who?] that after reviewing his descriptions of the civil war, he seems to position himself closer to Julius Caesar than Pompeius. Florus starts his books with the founding of Rome and ends them with the reign of Augustus. The first book of the Epitome of Roman History is mainly about the establishment and growth of Rome. The second is mainly about the decline of Rome and its changing morals.
Florus has taken some criticism on his writing due to inaccuracies found chronologically and geographically in his stories, but even so the Epitome of Roman History was vastly popular during the late Antiquity and the Middle Ages as well as being used as a school book up until the 19th century. The use of his writings far beyond his time is a testament to his premier narrative skills.
In addition to writing the Epitome of Roman History, Florus was also an established poet. Some his better-known poems include “Quality of Life”, “Roses in Springtime”, “Roses”, “The Rose”, “Venus’ Rose-Garden”, and “The Nine Muses”.[not in citation given] Florus’ better-known poetry is also associated with his smaller poems that he would write to Hadrian out of admiration for the emperor.
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