Synesius, Letter 070

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.

Written in 413 to an otherwise unknown addressee, Letter 70 is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. The death of Synesius' son is also mentioned in Letters 81 and 126.

Ancient text

Letter 70: Death of Synesius' son

[1] To Proclus

During the year which has just passed no letter has come to me from your sacred hand, and I look upon this as one of a number of calamities which have happened to me at this juncture. For I have suffered many griefs in many ways this last year, and now this winter has snatched away from me that child who was all the joy that remained to me.

[2] No doubt it was my fate to be happy when in your company, but when away to have experience of evil fortune. At all events may there come from your fatherly heart some letter that shall alleviate my grief, the most precious cargo that comes from Thrace!