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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 53, written in 409, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Letter 53: On his Brother's Son

To his Brother

Prolixity in a letter argues a certain lack of intimacy with ourselves in the letter-carrier. But my good friend Acacius is as well informed as I myself, and he will tell you even more than he knows, because he is very fond of you, and has a tongue which rises above the facts. So I favor with you this letter, rather from the law of correspondence than from any necessity; but if I announce to you that your son Dioscurius is in good health, that he is reading books, and that he is glued to them, my letter itself will at all events have a certain value to you.

I have given to Dioscurius a whole company of brothers, adding further a pair of many brothers for Hesychius. May God bestow his blessing on these, themselves, their brothers, their parents' house, the rest of their family, and their ancestral cities.
Online 2007
Revision: 17 August 2007
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