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Synesius, Letter 037

Synesius of Cyrene (c.370-c.413) was a Neo-Platonic philosopher who became bishop of Ptolemais in the Cyrenaica. He left behind a small corpus of texts that offer much information about daily life in Late Antiquity, and about the christianization of the Roman world.

Letter 37, written in 411, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. It is the first of seven letters to Anysius, a Roman general, active in the Cyrenaica in 411-412, for whom Synesius felt great admiration, especially after the soldier had defeated the Libyan nomads. The bishop praised Anysius in the Constitutio and sent him several letters to him: 37 (this one), 94, 77, 78, 6, 14, and 59.

Letter 37: Illness

[1] To Anysius

Joannes,note whom I love especially because of his affection for you, has been in the grip of a grievous malady. But he is suffering less from his illness than from the disappointment of being separated from your sacred self. He is still in the same state, and in addition to this there is a third thing which is making his illness worse. He is longing to do something that may become a soldier, and he frets against his forced inaction.