Synesius, Letter 018

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.

Letters 18, 19, 20, and 21, written in 404, are recommendations for an important man from Alexandria. In Letter 20, he is called Ammonius. They are offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald.

The addressee was Synesius' brother, who lived in Ptolemais. About a quarter of the entire correspondence was directed to Euoptius: letters 51 (394), 55, 56, 54, 136, 135, 110 (all 396), the long letter 4 about a shipwreck in 397, 120, 104, 113 (401), 3, 35, 39, 32, 52, 65, 92, 106, 114, 109, 36 (all in 402), 127, 50, 18 (404), 125, 132 (405), 108, 107, 122, 95 (407), 53, 82, 84, 85, 86, 105 (409), 8, 87, 89 (411).

Letter 18: A recommendation

[1] To his Brother

This mannote is a senator of the city in which my children were born to me. In some way or other we ought to honor all the people of Alexandria as fellow citizens and look upon them as such. What is more, he is a relation to Theodorusnote who is ever in our memories, and moreover he is by no means to be overlooked by such as hold the first rank in the city.

[2] These men have brought him to me with money for you to pay your troops. They have asked me to write a letter recommending him to your good graces, being assured that everything will go smoothly with him if he gets a letter of introduction from me to you and to a certain person.

[3] What they asked of me I have granted, and if not in vain, it will be for you to make manifest.