Florus, Gessius

Florus, Gessius (Graecized Γέσσιος Φλῶρος by Josephus), sometimes with the praenomen Festus or Cestius, a native of Clazomenae, appointed procurator of Judaea, A.D. 64, in place of Albinus, by Nero, through the influence of his wife Cleopatra with Poppaea, the empress. His rule was marked with such unprecedented rapine and violence as to drive the Jews into their final rebellion (Tacit. Hist. 5:10), a result apparently intended by him in order to cover his own enormities (Josephus, Ant. 18:1, 6; 20:11, 1; War, 2:14). He took a bribe at Caesarea from the Jews for protecting them in their synagogue worship, and then abandoned them to the fury of the Greeks, imprisoning those who came to supplicate his promised protection. He massacred and impaled Jewish citizens of rank at pleasure, and publicly derided their efforts to secure the intervention of Cestius Gallus, proconsul of Syria, in their favor. His term ended with the Jewish insurrection, A.D. 65, in which he was superseded by Vespasian, or perhaps perished (Josephus, Life, 6; Ant. 14:9, 2; 20:9, 5; War, 2:15; Suetonius, Vesp. 4; Orosius, 7:9; Sulpic. Sev. Sacr. Hist. 2:42; Eusebius, Chron. 66).—Smith, Dict. of Class. Biog. s. 5. SEE GOVERNOR.

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