Epitome of Lucius Annaeus Florus

Lucius Annaeus Florus, several editions, (Lacus Curtius)

Lister read this work on 10 April 1664, a brief sketch of the history of Rome, which served as a textbook until the nineteenth century.

Lucius Annaeus Florus was a historan of the 2nd c. A.D, and a traveling sophist or ‘show speaker’ demonstrating the rhetorical arts.  Primarily, Florus’ work is an account of the Roman conquests consisting of excerpts from Livy (including some of Livy’s lost works), and it is panegyric.  The first book covers the period  to the second century B.C., and the second book analyzes the history of the civil wars from the time of the Gracchi to the second century A.D.

In another work, Lucius Annaeus Florus dedicated a witty poem to the Emperor Hadrian who was his friend (Hadrian’s portrait bust is featured above).  Florus praised Hadrian’s traveling habits:

I don’t want to be Caesar, please,
to tramp round the Britons, weak at the knees,
[one line lost]
in the Scythian frosts to freeze.

Hadrian replied to his friend with a parody:

I don’t want to be Florus, please,
to tramp round pubs, into bars to squeeze,
to lurk about eating pies and peas,
to get myself infested with fleas.

Lister would later donate a 1702 Latin edition of Florus’ epitome to Oxford.

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