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SYNESIUS
A Greek philosopher, born 378 A.D. at Cyrene, of distinguished parentage. He studied the Neo-Platonic philosophy in Alexandria under Hypatia, and was her most famous and most devoted pupil. He afterwards became a Christian, and was made bishop of Ptolemais in 410. He died about 430. The zeal and faithfulness with which he discharged his office and the tenacity with which he held to his philosophical convictions, which he endeavoured to reconcile with his Christian faith, are shown by his writings. These consist of several speeches and dissertations, amongst which that entitled Dion is particularly interesting, as showing how he came to be a philosopher, while his Praise of Baldness is distinguished for its wit and genius. They also comprise a collection of 160 letters, which present us with a faithful picture of his character and work; in later times they were regarded as models of epistolary style. Lastly, they include ten hymns in iambic verse, which, although avowedly Christian, are at the same time inspired throughout by Neo-Platonic ideas.
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