Synesius, Letter 055

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 this letter, written in 395 and offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald, was Synesius' brother, who lived in Ptolemais. About a quarter of the entire correspondence was directed to Euoptius: 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 55: A Goodbye

[1] To his Brother

At the very moment when you weighed anchor, I pulled up my mules on the western shore. I jumped out of my carriage, but you had already set sail, and the wind was blowing your stern.

[2] Albeit, I followed you with my eyes as long as I could. I said much to the winds in behalf of a soul so beloved by me, and the ship to which so precious a freight had been entrusted I commended to their care.

[3] As they are not without love of fair things, they promised me a happy voyage for you, and a happy return, and as they are honest gods, it cannot be that they will be faithless to their promise; but do you, even as you said prayers to them when parting, pray to them also when you are about to return. For then they will be more favorable to you.