Synesius, Letter 053

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.

The addressee of the letter that is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald, was Synesius' brother Euoptius, who lived in Ptolemais. About a quarter of the entire correspondence was directed to him: letters 51 (394), 55, 56, 54, 136, 135, 110 (all 396), the long letter 4 about a shipwreck in 397, 120, 104, 113 (401), 3, 35, 39, 32, 52, 65, 92, 106, 114, 109, 36 (all in 402), 127, 50, 18 (404), 125, 132 (405), 108, 107, 122, 95 (407), 53, 82, 84, 85, 86, 105 (409), 8, 87, 89 (411).

Ancient text

Letter 53: On his Brother's Son

[1] To his Brother

Prolixity in a letter argues a certain lack of intimacy with ourselves in the letter-carrier. But my good friend Acacius is as well informed as I myself, and he will tell you even more than he knows, because he is very fond of you, and has a tongue which rises above the facts. So I favor with you this letter, rather from the law of correspondence than from any necessity; but if I announce to you that your son Dioscurius is in good health, that he is reading books, and that he is glued to them, my letter itself will at all events have a certain value to you.

[2] I have given to Dioscurius a whole company of brothers, adding further a pair of many brothers for Hesychius. May God bestow his blessing on these, themselves, their brothers, their parents' house, the rest of their family, and their ancestral cities.