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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.

Letter 30 (and 29), written in 403 during Synesius' stay in Alexandria, is addressed to Pentadius, the prefect of Egypt. It shows Synesius as patron of suppressed people - something he owed to his social rank. The letter is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Letter 30: A Request for Pardon

To Pentadius the Augustalis

I am anxious about you, and also about this man; for you, that you may not commit an injustice, for him, that he may not suffer one.

If you agree with Plato that it is a greater evil to commit an injustice than to submit to one,[1] I think it is to you rather than to him that I am doing a service when I plead for this man, who is undergoing sentence for matters in which he has not been at fault.

Note:
Plato, Gorgias, 509c.

Online 2007
Revision: 31 July 2007
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