Synesius, Letter 034

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 34, written in 398, was sent to Aurelian, the praetorian prefect in Constantinople; he was to be consul in 400, is identical to the "Osiris" of The Egyptian Tale, and is also to recipient of letters 31 and 38.

Letter 34 appears to be a warning for the Gothic Crisis that is also behind The Egyptian Tale. It is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 34: A Warning

[1] To Aurelian

Not as yet does Providence care for the Romans, but it will care for them some day. Theynote will not lead a quiet life in their houses for ever, they who are themselves able to save the state.

[2] As to the orator, our old housemate, the power you possess at present suffices for what he needs. May he enjoy this protection by himself now, and later also in common with all nations!