Synesius, Letter 149

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 directed this letter (and letters 98, 99, 97, 133, 14896, and 45) to a wealthy Christian from Syria, who was a close friend and (probably) a fellow-student. Letter 149 was written in 408 and is offered in the translation of A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 149: Presents Received

[1] To Olympius

Although absent, you live always present in our memory, for not even if we greatly desired it, could we forget the sweetness of your disposition and your most sincere character, brother admirable in all things. Nothing can be more precious to me than my recollection of you, nothing except the prospect of embracing your revered head again. May God grant this happiness, and may we see you and hear the sweet sound of your voice!

[2] You delighted us also by what you sent: we received them all. But you have saddened us more by the thought of the living comrade of whom we are deprived, although not by death. May the moment of good fortune come some day, and may God bring me this good fortune.