Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

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Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus


Born circa 480, in Rome; died 524, in Pavia. Roman philosopher and statesman; senator, at one time close to the Ostrogothic king Theodoric.

Accused of secret ties with Byzantium, Boethius was imprisoned and sentenced to death. While he awaited execution in prison, he wrote his principal work, The Consolation of Philosophy (1474; Russian translation, 1794). The basic ideas of this treatise, which takes the form of a dialogue between the author and philosophy personified, are the worthlessness of earthly goods and the advantages of spiritual peace and a pure conscience. The influence of Boethius on the spiritual life of the early Middle Ages was established by his Latin translations of Aristotle’s works on logic (the Categories and On Interpretation, as well as Porphyry’s “Introductions” to Aristotle’s Categories), his translations of Nicomachus’ Arithmetic and Euclid’s Elements, and his own treatise On Music. In Boethius’ works the ideas of Christianity were eclectically interwoven with the teachings of various schools of late classical philosophy (in addition to Aristotle, Neoplatonism, and Stoicism).


Opera omnia, vols. 1–2. (Patrologiae latina, vols. 63–64.) Paris, 1860.
In Russian translation:
“Nastavlenie k muzyke.” In Muzykal’naia estetika zapadnoevropeiskogo srednevekov’ia i Vozrozhdeniia. Moscow, 1966.


Istoriia rimskoi literatury. Moscow, 1954.
Kol’man, E. Istoriia matematiki v drevnosti. Moscow, 1961.
Steward, H. E. Boetius. Edinburgh-London, 1891.


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The most persistent interests reflected in this section, as well as throughout the book, are the Boethian questions of fortune and divine providence.
While the miraculous deeds that typify such early saints as the Desert Fathers or Coliseum martyrs do not appear in the early Boethian accounts, Boethius nevertheless demonstrates a heroic union of virtue and wisdom, a prototype of the "martyred intellectual.
Fortune and nature are, together, on the bottom rung of what might be called the Boethian hierarchy.
Fein notes other characters in "The Franklin's Tale" with the Boethian flavor.
The famous "First Movere" speech of Theseus is central to Boethian readings, as in Patricia Kean, Chaucer and the Making of English Poetry, vol.
With a very Boethian sentiment (that misfortune is visited upon mortals so that they may learn virtue), Christine's poetic persona derives consolation from her reading.
17) On the failure of Theseus' Stoicism to approach Boethian consolation, see Kempton 246-47.
The word amor is not frequent in the Boethian philosophical oeuvre.
This has been observed by many scholars, including Erzgraber, (68) who scrutinized the Boethian notion of 'fatum' in the same manner.
48) The "donna gentile" suspends the thought of death, for she comes in a Boethian spirit, to console Dante; "consolar" indeed appears virtually for the first time in the text in a sonnet addressing her--"Gentil pensero che parla di vui" (Vita nuova 38.
9) See WinthropWetherbee, who makes this point while also setting Gower in the context of Boethius, 'Latin Structure and Vernacular Space: Gower, Chaucer and the Boethian Tradition', in Chaucer and Gower: DiVerence, Mutuality, Exchange, ed.