Synesius, Letter 083

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 82, 83, 84, 85, and 86, all serve to recommend "the charming Gerontius". It is remarkable that all letters, except the one presented on this page, are directed to Synesius' brother Euoptius. One is left with the impression that Synesius was unsure about what to write and prepared several letters; not all of them were actually sent.

The letter, composed in 409, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. The addressee is not otherwise known.

Ancient text

Letter 83: A Recommendation

[1] To Chryses

Not because this charming Gerontius is related to my children, do I recommend the young man to your friendship, although that in itself would be the best of reasons. It is rather because he is worthy of the golden Chryses in his manners, if I must express myself with the cold wit of a Gorgias.

[2] To say of you that you are included in the sphere of every virtue, and that the man who is to hand you this letter is more worthy to enjoy intimacy with you, is the very truth.