Florus, Oeuvres, texte établi et traduit par Paul Jal, Paris 1967, tome II (Collection des Universités de France).
The introductory pages are the only extant passages of a dialogue entitled Vergilius orator an poeta. The only manuscript that transmits this text (a Bruxellensis of the twelfth century) attributes it to a P. Annius Florus, a person that some scholars identify with Florus, the author of the Epitoma de Tito Liuio, and Florus, a poet who was a friend of Hadrian. Ancient scholarly treatises must have debated on the attribution of authors to a literary genres; we find an echo of this debate in Macrobius when, after his explanation of some figures of speech with examples taken from Virgil, the guests consono murmure Vergilium non minus oratorem quam poetam habendum pronuntiabant, in quo et tanta orandi disciplina et tam diligens obseruatio rhetoricae artis ostenderetur (Saturn. 5, 1, 1). The content of the discussion in this dialogue is completely lost for us: the extant pages simply set the stage for the dialogue, set in a garden surrounding a temple close to the port of Tarragona, and narrate how the author, a Latin poet of African descent, met a passing foreigner, litteris pereruditus, to whom he recounts the events of the last years of his life (see the under Florus). In the last sentences of this section the author, reacting against his interlocutor, defends the professio litterarum, namely his own job of school teacher engaged to teach morals and literature to young boys by reading carmina … quibus ora mentesque formantur. This passage was probably meant to introduce the discussion on the topic indicated by the title.
Scholars date the work is to the early second century, since the text mentions the Capitoline Games of Domitian, in which the author took part years ago, when he was still very young (tibi puero), and a triumph over Dacia, which could be identified with the triumph celebrated by Trajan. [R. Tabacco; tr. L. Battezzato]