Synesius, Letter 102

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.

This letter, written in 402, was sent to a close friend of Synesius, living in Constantinople. Pylaemenes also was the recipient of letters 61, 88, 152, 74, 100, 101, 103, 129, 131, 134, 71, 150, 151, 48, and 153.

Letter 102 is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 102: A Recommendation

[1] To Pylaemenes

I ask your friendship and protection for my dear Sosenas, born and brought up in learning, who is not meeting with the rewards from fortune which should follow learning. He throws the blame on his city's unfortunate condition, and some line of reasoning is persuading him that it is possible to change one's fortune with one's domicile. He is going to the Imperial city, persuaded as he is that where a king is, there Fortune is also, and will perchance discover him.

[2] Accomplish for him whatever he desires, if it is in your power, for you are worthy to have power, and to assist to good fortune those that are in need. If Sosenas has any need of your friends, you will introduce him to them yourself.