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The goddess of flowers, and a very ancient Italian deity, being one of those said to have been worshipped by Tatius. Her festival was termed Floralia, and was celebrated at the end of

Flora. (From an ancient statue.)

April and beginning of May. It greatly degenerated, however, in the course of time, and became so offensive to purity as not to bear the presence of virtuous characters. The story of Cato the Censor in relation to this festival is well known (Val. Max. ii. 10). The Romans, who in general displayed great crudity in the legends which they invented for their deities, said that Flora had been a courtesan, who, having acquired immense wealth at Rome in the early days of the Republic, left it to the Roman people, on condition of their always celebrating her birthday with feasts (Quaest. Rom. 35; Lactant. 1, 24). Flora being an ancient Latin deity, was addressed by the title of Mater (in Verr. v. 14; Lucret. v. 738). In later times, Flora was identified with the Greek Chloris. See Horae.

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    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 5.738
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