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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 75 is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. It was written in 405.

Letter 75: A Recommendation

To Nicander

The following is a famous epigram of mine. How could it fail to be famous, when great Nicander himself has praised it?

Image of golden Cypris or of Stratonice

You know, of course, it was addressed by me formerly to my sister; you may learn so much from the verse. Theodorus [1] of the Emperor's Guard is the husband of this one, the dearest to me of my sisters, of whom I have done honor with an epigram and a statue.

If one took account only of the duration and assiduity of his military services, Theodosius would have been promoted long ago, but intrigue is more powerful than years of service. Try to help him, therefore, in this way, even in lawsuits which he may have to go through before Athemius. May he obtain the great Nicander's protection!

Note 1:
Fitzgerald has Theodosius.
Online 2007
Revision: 4 November 2007
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