Florus, Lucius Annæus

, an ancient Latin historian of the same family with Seneca and Lucan, flourished in the reigns of Trajan and Adrian, in the beginning of the second century, and wrote an abridgement of the Roman history in four books. It is believed, that the poet E’lorus, whose verses Spartian quotes in the life of the emperor Adrian, with whom the poet carried on a rhyming contest, is the same with the historian. Florus says,

"Ego nolo Ceesar esse,

Ambulare per Britarmos,

Scythicas pati pruinas;"

To whom the emperor pleasantly replied,

"Ego nolo Florus esse,

Ambulare per tabernas,

Latitare per popinas,

Culices pati rotundos."

| What makes it more reasonable to suppose them the samfe is, that the phrase of the historian savours strongly of the poet, is full of flowers and exuberance, and not altogether free from the fabulous. Thus in the seventeenth chapter of the second book, where he relates the expedition of Decimus Brutus along the Celtic and Gallic coasts, he affirms, that Brutus never stopped his victorious course, till he beheld the sun fall into the ocean, and with horror beard its fire extinguish in the waters. He is also notoriously incorrect in his chronology.

Floras, however, has given a very concise and elegant history of Rome, from its foundation to its settlement under Augustus; has described it in a very agreeable and picturesque manner; and has scattered throughout his narrative reflections, which shew a force of parts and judgment, and raise him above the common level of writers. Some have doubted, whether Florus in this history did not mean to give an epitome of Livy: but there seems no just ground for such an opinion, the method followed by the historian being very different from that of an epitomizer. Others have accused Florus of contriving the loss of Livy’s history, for the sake of enhancing the value of his own abridgment: as if it could have been in the power of any single man, or indeed any body of men whatever, to produce an effect of so extensive a nature.

Others again have made Seneca the author of this history of Florus, upon the authority of Lactantius. This father has ascribed to Seneca, as the inventor, a division of the JKoinan empire into the four different seasons of Infancy, Youth, Manhood, and Old Age: and, because a division of the same nature is seen in Florus’s preface, they concluded Seneca to have been the author, and Florus nothing more than a fictitious name. But Seneca and Florus have differed in this matter sufficiently to prevent their being confounded. Seneca makes the Youth of Rome, as he terms it, reach to the end of the last Punic war; while Florus continues it only to the first. Seneca begins its Old Age when the civii wars broke out between Caesar and Pompey; whereas Florus only reckons it from the establishment of Augustus in absolute monarchy. It is probable, indeed, that Florus made use of Seneca’s thought; but has adapted it to his own judgment. Another circumstance has given room to this conjecture, which is, that Florus and Seneca being both of the family of the Annei, | their names may have been confounded, and Floras called Seneca, as it is said that he is in some few copies ^ but this is not thought of any decisive weight. On the other hand, Vossius suspects Florus to have been the author of Octavia, a tragedy, printed among those of Seneca. It has been observed, that the very high praises he has frequently given to Spain, which is supposed to have been his country, have led to a suspicion that he has occasionally transgressed the bounds of truth in its favour, particularly when he treats of the warlike exploits of Sertorius.

There have been several editions of this author. Madame Dacier, then M. le Fevre, published him in 4to, for the use of the dauphin, at Paris, in 1674. Graevius gave another edition in 1680, 8vo, which was afterwards republished at Amsterdam, in 1702, with great improvements and ornaments, in 2 vols. 8vo. The best edition is that of Duker, 2 vols. 8vo, printed in 1722, and again in 1744, or perhaps that of Fischer, printed at Leipsic, 1760, 8vo. To most of the editions of Florus since the Elzevir of 1638, has been added Ampelius’s “Liber Memorialist Of this author we have no information. Respecting the first edition of Florus, bibliographers are very much at variance. There are five editions, all without dates, but the majority of bibliographers have determined in favour of the edition in 4to, printed at Paris by Gering, Crantz, and Friburger, between the years 1470 and 1472, which, as well as the other four early editions, being in lord Spencer’s library, we can refer the reader with some confidence, to Mr. Dibdin’s magnificent” Bibliotheca Spenceriana," now in the press, where they are minutely and accurately described. 1


Chaufepie,Moreri. -—Vossius. Fabric. Bibl. Lat. —Saxii Onomasticon.