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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 Letter 27, written in 409 and offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald, speaks for itself. The addressee probably was an influential courtier.

Letter 27: A Recommendation

To Constans

If you hold the virtue of philosophy in esteem, you will honor it not merely in those of the present day who have their share in it, but also in those who are dead and gone. The divine Amyntianus, for a time once with us, has obtained a better lot, and is, I think, present, though he appears to be absent. A near relation of this man, his own cousin, is being attacked by your own Soterichus. Show a little interest yourself in behalf of Dionysius, and Soterichus will immediately stop attacking him.

Online 2007
Revision: 31 July 2007
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