The introduction to a dialogue called Virgilius orator an poeta is extant, in which the author (whose name is given as Publius Annius Florus) states that he was born in Africa, and at an early age took part in the literary contests on the Capitol instituted by Domitian. Having been refused a prize owing to the prejudice against African provincials, he left Rome in disgust, and after travelling for some time set up at Tarraco as a teacher of rhetoric.
Here he was persuaded by an acquaintance to return to Rome, for it is generally agreed that he is the Florus who wrote the well-known lines quoted together with Hadrian's answer by Aelius Spartianus (Hadrian I 6). Twenty-six trochaic tetrameters, De qualitate vitae, and five graceful hexameters, De rosis, are also attributed to him.
Florus was once thought to have been "the first in order of a number of 2nd century African writers who exercised a considerable influence on Latin literature, and also the first of the poetae neoterici or novelli (new-fashioned poets) of Hadrian's reign, whose special characteristic was the use of lighter and graceful metres (anapaestic and iambic dimeters), which had hitherto found little favour." Since Cameron's article on the topic, however, the existence of such a school has been widely called into question, in part because the remnants of all poets supposedly involved are too scantily attested for any definitive judgment.
The little poems will be found in E. Bahrens, Poëtae Latini minores (1879–1883); for an unlikely identification of Florus with the author of the Pervigilium Veneris see E. H. O. Müller, De P. Anino Floro poéta et de Pervigilio Veneris (1855), and, for the poet's relations with Hadrian, Franz Eyssenhardt, Hadrian und Florus (1882); see also Friedrich Marx in Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyclopädie, i. pt. 2 (1894).