Flora - Encyclopedia




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FLORA, in Roman mythology, goddess of spring-time and flowers, later identified with the Greek Chloris. Her festival at Rome, the Floralia, instituted 2 3 8 B.C. by order of the Sibylline books and at first held irregularly, became annual after 173. It lasted six days (April 28 - May 3), the first day being the anniversary of the foundation of her temple. It included theatrical performances and animal hunts in the circus, and vegetables were distributed to the people. The proceedings were characterized by excessive merriment and licentiousness. According to the legend, her worship was instituted by Titus Tatius, and her priest, the flamen Floralis, by Numa. In art Flora was represented as a beautiful maiden, bedecked with flowers (Ovid, Fasti, v. 183 ff.; Tacitus, Annals, ii. 49).

The term "flora" is used in botany collectively for the plantgrowth of a district; similarly "fauna" is used collectively for the animals.

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