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Synesius of Cyrene


Mosaic depicting an angel. Museum of Ptolemais. Photo Marco Prins.
Mosaic depicting an angel. Museum of Ptolemais
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.

The text of Letters 18, 19, and 20, and 21, recommendations for an important man from Alexandria, are offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. They were written in 404.

Letter 18: A recommendation

To his Brother

This man [1] is a senator of the city in which my children were born to me. In some way or other we ought to honor all the people of Alexandria as fellow citizens and look upon them as such. What is more, he is a relation to Theodorus who is ever in our memories, and moreover he is by no means to be overlooked by such as hold the first rank in the city. These men have brought him to me with money for you to pay your troops. They have asked me to write a letter recommending him to your good graces, being assured that everything will go smoothly with him if he gets a letter of introduction from me to you and to a certain person. What they asked of me I have granted, and if not in vain, it will be for you to make manifest.

Note 1:
This man was probably called Ammonius, see Letter 20. He was probably not a senator of the "real" Senate, but of the Alexandrine town council.
Online 2007
Revision: 15 August 2007
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