Synesius, Letter 017

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 17, written in 402, was directed to one Heliodorus, who probably was an orator or a courtier of the prefect of Egypt. Synesius aso dedicated letters 25, and 117 to him. Letter 17 is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

Letter 17: A Compliment

[1] To Heliodorus

May all blessings fall to the lot of the man, whoever he is, inasmuch as he extols your dignity in pious remembrance! He has filled the ears of all with your praises, those which are due to your heart of gold and to your tongue.

[2] However, you are promptly returning thanks for his good works. They are ever bringing him in return the praise of countless of your devoted friends, amongst whom I myself dispute the pre-eminence; nay, rather I dispute not at all, for all agree with me.