Flora (mythology)

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Flora Farnese (Napoli)

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers[1] and of the season of spring[2] – 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,[3] as did her role as goddess of youth.[4] Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Etymology[edit]

Her name is derived from the Latin word "flos" which means "flower". In modern English, "Flora" also means the plants of a particular region or period.[5]

Festival[edit]

Her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers.[6] 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,[7] and including nudity when called for[8] – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares.[9] On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.[6]

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]

Music[edit]

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

Sculpture[edit]

There are many monuments of Flora, e.g. in Capitoline Museums in Rome (Italy), in Valencia (Spain) and Szczecin (Poland) (see Statue of Flora in Szczecin).

In art[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ H. Nettleship ed., A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1891) p. 238
  2. ^ "Flora". Myth Index.
  3. ^ "Khloris, goddess of flowers". Theoi Project.
  4. ^ H. Nettleship ed., A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1891) p. 238
  5. ^ Dictionary.reference.com
  6. ^ a b Guirand, Felix; Aldington, Richard; Ames, Delano; Graves, Robert (December 16, 1987). New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. Crescent Books. p. 201. ISBN 0517004046.
  7. ^ P/ Green ed., Juvenal: The Sixteen Satires (1982) p. 156
  8. ^ H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (1967) p. 151
  9. ^ H. Nettleship ed., A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1891) p. 238

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]