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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 28, written in 412 and offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald, is a bishop's intervention in the juridicial process; not uncommon in late Antiquity.

Letter 28: A Request for a Pardon

To Simplicius

God declares that we ought to cancel debts which are owing to us.[Matthew 6.12 || Luke 11.4] One man owes us a sum of money, another, payment of the penalty of justice. The man, therefore, who scorns to accept this penalty, is obedient unto God.
Online 2007
Revision: 31 July 2007
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