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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 55, written in 396, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Letter 55: A Goodbye

To his Brother

At the very moment when you weighed anchor, I pulled up my mules on the western shore. I jumped out of my carriage, but you had already set sail, and the wind was blowing your stern. Albeit, I followed you with my eyes as long as I could. I said much to the winds in behalf of a soul so beloved by me, and the ship to which so precious a freight had been entrusted I commended to their care. As they are not without love of fair things, they promised me a happy voyage for you, and a happy return, and as they are honest gods, it cannot be that they will be faithless to their promise; but do you, even as you said prayers to them when parting, pray to them also when you are about to return. For then they will be more favorable to you.
Online 2007
Revision: 11 August 2007
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