Synesius, Letter 097

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.

Synesius sent this letter (and letters 98, 99133, 148, 149, 96, and 45) to a wealthy Christian from Syria, who was a close friend and (probably) a fellow-student. It can be dated to 403 and is offered in the translation of A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 97: Greetings

[1] To Olympius

On reading the letter wherein you spoke to me of your illness, I was at first alarmed. At last I was reassured, for after first alarming me about a danger you had incurred, you ended by announcing the good news of your recovery.

[2] As to the things you asked me to send or bring to you, all that are possible will certainly be sent or brought. But which of them are possible, and which impossible, it is needless to say, for the gift will declare itself.

[3] Live on in health and happiness, and acceptance with God, friend thrice dear! May we soon be together again, and rejoice in one another! Do not set out before we meet. But if Heaven decide otherwise, at least remember me, in spite of separation. You will meet with many better people than Synesius, but you will never find any others who love you more.