Synesius, Letter 111

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.

Born in Side, this man was a well-known rhetorician. Synesius wrote letters 112, 123, 118, 111, 73, 91, and 26, and mentions him in Letter 47.

This letter, written in 409, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 111: On Declamation

[1] To Troilus

You ask me how many lines Dioscorus declaims every day? Fifty. He renders them without a mistake, without repeating himself, or stopping for a moment to recall them.

[2] Once he has commenced he goes forward without pausing, and silence marks the end of his declamation.