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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 106, written in 402, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Letter 106: On Gardening

To his Brother

I asked the young man who brought me some silphium from you, whether you had grown it yourself, or whether it was a present you had received, a share of which you were passing on to me. I learned from him that your own garden, which you take such care of, yielded you this excellent plant, together with every other sort of fruit.

I am doubly rejoiced both on the account of the beauty of this product, and on the account of the reputation your estate enjoys. Go on, then, and make the most of such fertile soil. Never tire of watering your beloved garden beds, and may they never weary of the labors of birth, so that you may have enough for your own use, and may send me whatever the seasons bring forth.
Online 2007
Revision: 14 August 2007
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