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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 59 is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. It is written in 412.

Letter 59: A Recommendation

To Anysius

The man to whom I have entrusted this letter is at heart a philosopher, but by profession a pleader at the bar. As long as Anysius was with us, and as long as Pentapolis existed, he continued to practice this profession in our country. The times since your departure have betrayed us to our enemies, and have brought a spell of tranquility in the law courts; so he has made up his mind to sail to another law court where a venal tongue, the pleader's stock-in-trade, makes the pleader known.

Try to win for him the friendliness of a provincial governor. I call to witness the divinity who presides over our friendship, that anyone to whom your recommend him will be grateful to you, when he returns after making trial of him.
Online 2007
Revision: 17 August 2007
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