Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other

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 71, written in 406, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. It illustrates that in Antiquity, it could be impossible to find out where someone was, making letter writing difficult.

Letter 71: Trying to Reach a Friend

To Pylaemenes

There are two letters in circulation addressed to you; for I am writing at the same time to Thrace and to Isauria, that I may in any case find you with one or other of the letters. The theme of both of them is a greeting to my dear friend Pylaemenes, the philosopher, for this is he, whether he wills it so or not. He can never completely get rid of his own natural bent. He will never succeed in extinguishing the spark of sacred fire, but some day when he has risen above his vain pursuits, it will shine forth again.
Online 2007
Revision: 12 August 2007
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other