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Synesius of Cyrene

SYNESIUS of Cyrene. b. Cyrene, ca. 370; d. Ptolemais, ca. 414. Born at Cyrene, of a distinguished family (Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury, II. 324, has some amusement at their claim to have been descended from Hercules). He was educated at Alexandria as a pupil of the famous neo-Platonist Hypatia, whom he described as ‘a mother, a sister, and a teacher’. After a period as a soldier, and studying at home, he was sent on a mission to plead for remission of taxes to the emperor at Constantinople; he also visited Athens, which he found disappointing after Alexandria. He married a Christian, and in 409 he was elected Bishop of Ptolemais, west of Cyrene. There...

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