Synesius, Letter 023

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 23, written in 408, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 23: A Complaint

[1] To Diogenesnote

The luxury of Syria is such that it makes men forget friends and relations. It is five months now since you have greeted me with a letter, though you have received from Nature herself an exceptional gift for dictating, not merely letters on daily affairs, but letters destined to be known and admired.

[2] If you are in good health, however - you, your golden children, and their mother, happy in her fair offspring¬†- I am quite satisfied.