Mosaic depicting an angel. Museum of Ptolemais
|Synesius' Egyptian Tale,
or, On Providence,
looks like a retelling of a part of the myth of Isis and Osiris, but is
more than just a myth, because it clearly refers to events in
Constantinople during Synesius' stay in 397-400. However, it is hard to
"decode" this ancient roman
The identification of Osiris and Aurelian (a friend of Synesius)
appears to be certain. In 1.3 and 2.4, his career is outlined, and it
closely matches Aurelian's:
of the audiences"
|prefect of the
the city 393/394
|president of the Council
||return in 400
Typho, the brother of Osiris, can not be identified, although he
obviously took power when Aurelian was sent into exile after a Germanic
leader named Gainas had taken over power. (The story is told by
Zosimus, New History,
5; and by J.B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, 1923, chapter 5.4.) We can not identify Gainas' partner in Constantinople, who became
military leader himself: Caesarius and Eutychianus have been mentioned,
but they are not known to have been brothers. But perhaps, Aurelian's
opponent was not really his brother, and perhaps he was not a Roman at
all. Allowing for some artificial license - perhaps Gainas himself is
the man behind Typho.
Synesius' code name for Germanic warriors who had settled in
Roman Empire. Many of had them lived north of the Danube, in the
country that had once been the land of the Scythians,
to the name is apt.
If Typho is Caesarius or Eutychianus, the commander of the Scythians is
Synesius' name for Constantinople.
Synesius' code name for the Roman Empire.
In Synesius' story, the Nile is meant, but in reality, it is the
Revision: 23 June 2007