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A page from a version of The Consolation of Philosophy published in 1485. This early example of printing includes many hand-painted illustrations depicting Lady Philosophy and scenes of fifteenth-century Ghent.
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The Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: De consolatione philosophiae) is a philosophical work by the Roman statesman Boethius, written around the year 524. It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early RenaissanceChristianity, as well as the last great Western work of the Classical Period.[1][2]

  • 2Influence


A golden volume not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully — Edward Gibbon[3]

The Consolation of Philosophy was written in AD 523 during a one-year imprisonment Boethius served while awaiting trial – and eventual execution – for the alleged crime of treason under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great. Boethius was at the very heights of power in Rome, holding the prestigious office of magister officiorum, and was brought down by treachery. This experience inspired the text, which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God (the problem of theodicy), and how happiness is still attainable amidst fickle fortune, while also considering the nature of happiness and God. It has been described as 'by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen.'[4]

Boethius writes the book as a conversation between himself and Lady Philosophy. Lady Philosophy consoles Boethius by discussing the transitory nature of fame and wealth ('no man can ever truly be secure until he has been forsaken by Fortune'), and the ultimate superiority of things of the mind, which she calls the 'one true good'. She contends that happiness comes from within, and that virtue is all that one truly has, because it is not imperilled by the vicissitudes of fortune.

Boethius engages questions such as the nature of predestination and free will, why evil men often prosper and good men fall into ruin, human nature, virtue, and justice. He speaks about the nature of free will and determinism when he asks if God knows and sees all, or does man have free will. On human nature, Boethius says that humans are essentially good and only when they give in to “wickedness” do they “sink to the level of being an animal.” On justice, he says criminals are not to be abused, rather treated with sympathy and respect, using the analogy of doctor and patient to illustrate the ideal relationship between prosecutor and criminal.

In the Consolation, Boethius answered religious questions without reference to Christianity, relying solely on natural philosophy and the Classical Greek tradition. He believed in the correspondence between faith and reason. The truths found in Christianity would be no different from the truths found in philosophy.[5] In the words of Henry Chadwick, 'If the Consolation contains nothing distinctively Christian, it is also relevant that it contains nothing specifically pagan either...[it] is a work written by a Platonist who is also a Christian.'[6]

Boethius repeats the Macrobius' model of the Earth in the center of a spherical cosmos.[7]


To acquire a taste for it is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages — C. S. Lewis[8]

From the Carolingian epoch to the end of the Middle Ages and beyond it was one of the most popular and influential philosophical works, read by statesmen, poets, and historians, as well as of philosophers and theologians. It is through Boethius that much of the thought of the Classical period was made available to the Western Medieval world. It has often been said Boethius was the “last of the Romans and the first of the Scholastics”.[2]

From a 1385 Italian manuscript of the Consolation: Miniatures of Boethius teaching and in prison

The philosophical message of the book fits well with the religious piety of the Middle Ages. Readers were encouraged not to seek worldly goods such as money and power, but to seek internalized virtues. Evil had a purpose, to provide a lesson to help change for good; while suffering from evil was seen as virtuous. Because God ruled the universe through Love, prayer to God and the application of Love would lead to true happiness.[9] The Middle Ages, with their vivid sense of an overruling fate, found in Boethius an interpretation of life closely akin to the spirit of Christianity. The Consolation of Philosophy stands, by its note of fatalism and its affinities with the Christian doctrine of humility, midway between the pagan philosophy of Seneca the Younger and the later Christian philosophy of consolation represented by Thomas à Kempis.[10]

The book is heavily influenced by Plato and his dialogues (as was Boethius himself).[10] Its popularity can in part be explained by its Neoplatonic and Christian ethical messages, although current scholarly research is still far from clear exactly why and how the work became so vastly popular in the Middle Ages.

Lady Fortune with the Wheel of Fortune in a medieval manuscript of a work by Boccaccio; The Consolation of Philosophy was responsible for the popularity of the goddess of Fortune and the wheel of fortune in the Middle Ages

Translations into the vernacular were done by famous notables, including King Alfred (Old English), Jean de Meun (Old French), Geoffrey Chaucer (Middle English), Queen Elizabeth I (Early Modern English), and Notker Labeo (Old High German).[11][12][13][14][citation needed]

Found within the Consolation are themes that have echoed throughout the Western canon: the female figure of wisdom that informs Dante, the ascent through the layered universe that is shared with Milton, the reconciliation of opposing forces that find their way into Chaucer in The Knight's Tale, and the Wheel of Fortune so popular throughout the Middle Ages.

Citations from it occur frequently in Dante's Divina Commedia. Of Boethius, Dante remarked “The blessed soul who exposes the deceptive world to anyone who gives ear to him.”[15]

Boethian influence can be found nearly everywhere in Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry, e.g. in Troilus and Criseyde, The Knight's Tale, The Clerk's Tale, The Franklin's Tale, The Parson's Tale and The Tale of Melibee, in the character of Lady Nature in The Parliament of Fowls and some of the shorter poems, such as Truth, The Former Age and Lak of Stedfastnesse. Chaucer translated the work in his Boece.

The Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola used some of the text in his choral work Canti di prigionia (1938). The Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe quoted parts of it in his opera or music theatre work Rites of Passage (1972–73), which was commissioned for the opening of the Sydney Opera House but was not ready in time.

Tom Shippey in The Road to Middle-earth says how “Boethian” much of the treatment of evil is in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Shippey says that Tolkien knew well the translation of Boethius that was made by King Alfred and he quotes some “Boethian” remarks from Frodo, Treebeard and Elrond.[16]

Boethius and Consolatio Philosophiae are cited frequently by the main character Ignatius J. Reilly in the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces (1980).

It is a prosimetrical text, meaning that it is written in alternating sections of prose and metered verse. In the course of the text, Boethius displays a virtuosic command of the forms of Latin poetry. It is classified as a Menippean satire, a fusion of allegorical tale, platonic dialogue, and lyrical poetry.

In the 20th century there were close to four hundred manuscripts still surviving, a testament to its popularity.[17]

Reconstruction of the Lost Songs from The Consolation of Philosophy[edit]

Hundreds of Latin songs were recorded in neumes from the ninth century through to the thirteenth century, including settings of the poetic passages from Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy. The music of this song repertory had long been considered irretrievably lost because the notational signs indicated only melodic outlines, relying on now-lapsed oral traditions to fill in the missing details. However, research conducted by Dr Sam Barrett at the University of Cambridge,[18] extended in collaboration with medieval music ensemble Sequentia, has shown that principles of musical setting for this period can be identified, providing crucial information to enable modern realisations.[19] Sequentia performed the world premiere of the reconstructed songs from Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy at Pembroke College, Cambridge, in April 2016, bringing to life music not heard in over 1,000 years; a number of the songs were subsequently recorded on the CD Boethius: Songs of Consolation. Metra from 11th-Century Canterbury (Glossa, 2018). A website launched by the University of Cambridge in 2018 provides further details of the reconstruction process, bringing together manuscripts, reconstructions, and video resources.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^The Consolation of Philosophy (Oxford World's Classics), Introduction (2000)
  2. ^ abDante placed Boethius the “last of the Romans and first of the Scholastics” among the doctors in his Paradise (see The Divine Comedy) (see also below).
  3. ^Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  4. ^Catholic Encyclopedia, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius. The quote is commonly seen in a number of sources, but without attribution; the Catholic Encyclopedia article (by William Turner, 1907) is the oldest “known” citation found. In fact the phrase is originally from Boethius, an essay (1891), by H. F. Stewart, page 107 (past paragraph).
  5. ^Chadwick, Henry (1998). 'Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (c.480-525/6)'. In Edward Craig (ed.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge. The Opuscula sacra regard faith and reason as independent but parallel and compatible ways of attaining to higher metaphysical truths, and the independent validity of logical reasoning is also an underlying presupposition throughout De consolatione.
  6. ^Henry Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology and Philosophy, 1990, ISBN0-19-826549-2
  7. ^S.C. McCluskey, Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1998), pp. 114, 123.
  8. ^C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 1964, ISBN0-521-47735-2, pg. 75
  9. ^Sanderson Beck (1996).
  10. ^ abThe Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Volume I Ch.6.5: De Consolatione Philosophiae, 1907–1921.
  11. ^Cropp, Glynnis M. (2012-01-01). 'Boethius in Medieval France: Translations of the De consolatione philosophiae and Literary Influence'. A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages: 319–355. doi:10.1163/9789004225381_010.
  12. ^Relihan, Joel C. (January 2000). 'Review of: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy'. Bryn Mawr Classical Review. ISSN1055-7660.
  13. ^Archives, The National. 'The National Archives - Homepage'. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  14. ^'The Fate of Fortune in the Early Middle Ages: The Boethian Tradition. Jerold C. Frakes'. Speculum. 66 (2): 403–405. April 1991. doi:10.2307/2864168. ISSN0038-7134.
  15. ^Dante The Divine Comedy. “blessed souls” inhabit Dante's Paradise, and appear as flames. (see note above).
  16. ^Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth, pg. 140, ISBN0-395-33973-1, (1983).
  17. ^Friedman, John (2000). Orpheus in the Middle Ages. Syracuse University Press. p. 91. ISBN0815628250.
  18. ^Barrett, Sam (2013). The Melodic Tradition of Boethius' 'De consolatine philosophiae' in the Middle Ages. Kassel: Bärenreiter.
  19. ^University of Cambridge, First performance in 1000 years: lost songs are brought back to life by Cambridge researchers
  20. ^University of Cambridge. 'Restoring Lost Songs: Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy'.


  • Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy.
    • Trans. Richard H. Green, (Library of the Liberal Arts), 1962. ISBN0-02-346450-X
    • Trans. Joel C. Relihan, (Hackett Publishing), 2001. ISBN0-87220-583-5
    • Trans. P. G. Walsh, (Oxford World's Classics), 2001. ISBN0-19-283883-0
    • Trans. Victor Watts, (Penguin Classics), 2000. ISBN0-14-044780-6
  • Sanderson Beck, The Consolation of Boethius an analysis and commentary. 1996.
  • Blackwood, Stephen (2015). The Consolation of Boethius as Poetic Liturgy. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford University Press. ISBN9780198718314.
  • Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). 'Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius' . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company..
  • Henry Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology and Philosophy, 1990, ISBN0-19-826549-2
  • C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image : An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 1964, ISBN0-521-47735-2
  • The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Volume I Ch.6.5: De Consolatione Philosophiae, 1907–1921.

External links[edit]

English Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Consolation of Philosophy.
  • The Consolation of Philosophy, many translations and commentaries from Internet Archive
  • Consolatio Philosophiae in the original Latin with English comments at the University of Georgetown
  • Consolatio Philosophiae from Project Gutenberg, HTML conversion, originally translated by H. R. James, London 1897.
  • The Consolation of Philosophy, Translated by: W.V. Cooper : J.M. Dent and Company London 1902 The Temple Classics, edited by Israel Golancz M.A. Online reading and multiple ebook formats at Ex-classics.
  • Medieval translations into Old English by Alfred the Great, Old High German by Notker Labeo, Middle (originally Old) French by Jean de Meun, and Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The Consolation of Philosophy public domain audiobook at LibriVox
Retrieved from ''
Boethius teaching his students
(initial in a 1385 Italian manuscript of the Consolation of Philosophy.)
Bornc. AD 477[1]
Died524 (aged about 44)
Pavia, Ostrogothic Kingdom
The Consolation of Philosophy
EraMedieval philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
problem of universals, theology, music
The Wheel of Fortune
  • Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, Plotinus, Porphyry, Saint Augustine, Proclus
  • All Medieval philosophy (notably Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Peter Abelard, Anselm of Canterbury,[2]Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Dante Alighieri)
BornRome, Kingdom of Odoacer
DiedPavia, Ostrogothic Kingdom
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Major shrineSan Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
Feast23 October
InfluencesAugustine of Hippo
InfluencedThomas Aquinas
Part of a series on
Reconstructed bust believed to represent Plotinus
  • Plotinus (disciples)
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Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius,[a] commonly called Boethius[b] (/bˈθiəs/; also Boetius/-ʃəs/; c. 477–524 AD), was a Roman senator, consul, magister officiorum, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born about a year after Odoacer deposed the last Roman Emperor and declared himself King of Italy. Boethius entered public service under Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, who later imprisoned and executed him in 524 on charges of conspiracy to overthrow him.[4] While jailed, Boethius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a philosophical treatise on fortune, death, and other issues, which became one of the most popular and influential works of the Middle Ages. As the author of numerous handbooks and translator of Aristotle, he became the main intermediary between Classical antiquity and following centuries.

  • 3Works
  • 9References
  • 10External links

Early life and rise to power[edit]

Boethius was born in Rome to a patrician family around 480,[5] but his exact birth date is unknown.[3] His family, the Anicii, included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls.[3] His grandfather, a senator by the same name, was appointed as Praetorian Prefect of Italy. He died in 454, during the palace plot against magister militumFlavius Aetius[6]. Boethius' father, Manlius Boethius, who was appointed consul in 487, died while Boethius was young. Another patrician, Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, adopted and raised Boethius, instilling in him a love for literature and philosophy.[7]

Both Memmius Symmachus and Boethius were fluent in Greek, an increasingly rare skill at the time in the Western Empire; for this reason, some scholars believe that Boethius was educated in the East. According to John Moorhead, the traditional view is that Boethius studied in Athens, based on Cassiodorus' rhetoric describing Boethius' learning in one of his letters, though this does appear to be a misreading of the text for Boethius' simple facility with the works of Greek philosophers.[8]

Pierre Courcelle has argued that Boethius studied at Alexandria with the Neo-Platonist philosopher Ammonius Hermiae. However, Moorhead observes that the evidence supporting Boethius having studied in Alexandria 'is not as strong as it may appear', and adds that Boethius may have been able to acquire his formidable learning without travelling.[9]

On account of his erudition, Boethius entered the service of Theodoric the Great at a young age and was already a senator by the age of 25.[10] His earliest documented acts on behalf of the Ostrogothic ruler were to investigate allegations that the paymaster of Theodoric's bodyguards had debased the coins of their pay; to produce a waterclock for Theodoric to give to king Gundobad of the Burgunds; and to recruit a lyre-player to perform for Clovis, king of the Franks.[11]

Boethius married his foster-father's daughter, Rusticiana; their children included two boys, Symmachus and Boethius.

During Theodoric's reign, Boethius held many important offices, including the consulship in the year 510, but Boethius confesses in his De consolatione philosophiae that his greatest achievement was to have both his sons made co-consuls for the same year (522),[12] one representing the east and the other the west, and finding himself sitting 'between the two consuls and as if it were a military triumph [letting his] largesse fulfill the wildest expectations of the people packed in their seats around [him]'.[13]

In 522, the same year his two sons were appointed joint consuls, Boethius accepted the appointment to the position of magister officiorum, the head of all the government and court services.[14]

Fall and death[edit]

Boethius imprisoned, from a 1385 manuscript of the Consolation.

In 520 Boethius was working to revitalize the relationship between the Roman See and the Constantinopolitan See; though still both a part of the same Church, disagreements had begun to emerge between them. This may have set in place a course of events that would lead to loss of royal favour.[14] Five hundred years later, this continuing disagreement led to the East–West Schism in 1054, in which communion between the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church was broken.

In 523 Boethius fell from power. After a period of imprisonment in Pavia for what was deemed a treasonable offence, he was executed in 524.[5][15] The primary sources are in general agreement over the facts of what happened. At a meeting of the Royal Council in Verona, the referendarius Cyprianus accused the ex-consul Caecina Decius Faustus Albinus of treasonous correspondence with Justin I. Boethius leapt to his defense, crying, 'The charge of Cyprianus is false, but if Albinus did that, so also have I and the whole senate with one accord done it; it is false, my Lord King.'[16]

Cyprianus then also accused Boethius of the same crime and produced three men who claimed they had witnessed the crime. Boethius and Basilius were arrested. First the pair were detained in the baptistery of a church, then Boethius was exiled to the Ager Calventianus, a distant country estate, where he was put to death. Not long afterwards Theodoric had Boethius' father-in-law Symmachus put to death, according to Procopius, on the grounds that he and Boethius together were planning a revolution, and confiscated their property.[17]

'The basic facts in the case are not in dispute,' writes Jeffrey Richards. 'What is disputed about this sequence of events is the interpretation that should be put on them.'[18] Boethius claims his crime was seeking 'the safety of the Senate'. He describes the three witnesses against him as dishonorable: Basilius had been dismissed from Royal service for his debts, while Venantius Opilio and Gaudentius had been exiled for fraud.[19] However, other sources depict these men in a far more positive light. For example, Cassiodorus describes Cyprianus and Opilio as 'utterly scrupulous, just and loyal' and mentions they are brothers and grandsons of the consul Opilio.[20]

Theodoric was feeling threatened by international events. The Acacian Schism had been resolved, and the Nicene Christian aristocrats of his kingdom were seeking to renew their ties with Constantinople. The Catholic Hilderic had become king of the Vandals and had put Theodoric's sister Amalafrida to death,[21] and Arians in the East were being persecuted.[22] Then there was the matter that with his previous ties to Theodahad, Boethius apparently found himself on the wrong side in the succession dispute following the untimely death of Eutharic, Theodoric's announced heir.

The method of Boethius' execution varies in the sources. Perhaps he was killed with an axe or a sword, or possibly he was clubbed to death, or possibly hanged.[23] According to another version a rope was attached round his head and tightened till his eyes bulged out; then his skull was cracked. In any case, his remains were entombed in the church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia, also the resting place of Augustine of Hippo. In Dante's The Divine Comedy, Paradise, CantoX, lines 121–29, the spirit of Boethius is pointed out by Saint Thomas Aquinas:

Now if thy mental eye conducted be
From light to light, as I resound their frame,
The eighth well worth attention thou wilt see.
The soul who pointed out the world's dark ways,
To all who listen, its deceits unfolding.
Beneath in Cieldauro lies the frame
Whence it was driven; -from woe and exile, to
This fair abode of peace and bliss it came.

Past Classical and Medieval historians have had a hard time accepting a sincere Christian who was also a serious Hellenist.[24]Arnaldo Momigliano argues that 'many people have turned to Christianity for consolation. Boethius turned to paganism. His Christianity collapsed—it collapsed so thoroughly that perhaps he did not even notice its disappearance.' However, this view does not reflect the majority of current scholarship on the matter.[25] The community that he was part of valued both classical and Christian culture.[26]


Narius Manilas Boethius, the father of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius.

Dates of composition[27]

Mathematical works
  • De arithmetica (On Arithmetic, c. 500) adapted translation of the Introductionis Arithmeticae by Nicomachus of Gerasa (c. 160 – c. 220).
  • De musica (On Music, c. 510), based on a lost work by Nicomachus of Gerasa and on Ptolemy's Harmonica.
  • Possibly a treatise on geometry, extant only in fragments.[28]
Logical Works
A) Translations
  • Porphyry's Isagoge
  • In Categorias Aristotelis: Aristotle's Categories
  • De interpretatione vel periermenias: Aristotle's De Interpretatione
  • Interpretatio priorum Analyticorum (two versions): Aristotle's Prior Analytics
  • Interpretatio Topicorum Aristotelis: Aristotle's Topics
  • Interpretatio Elenchorum Sophisticorum Aristotelis: Aristotle's Sophistical Refutations
B) Commentaries
  • In Isagogen Porphyrii commenta (two commentaries, the first based on a translation by Marius Victorinus, (c. 504–05); the second based on Boethius' own translation (507–509).
  • In Categorias Aristotelis (c. 509–11)
  • In librum Aristotelis de interpretatione Commentaria minora (not before 513)
  • In librum Aristotelis de interpretatione Commentaria majora (c. 515–16)
  • In Aristotelis Analytica Priora (c. 520–523)
  • Commentaria in Topica Ciceronis (incomplete: the end the sixth book and the seventh are missing)
Original Treatises
  • De divisione (515–520?)
  • De syllogismo cathegorico (505–506)
  • Introductio ad syllogismos cathegoricos (c. 523)
  • De hypotheticis syllogismis (516–522)
  • De topicis differentiis (c. 522–23)
  • Opuscula Sacra (Theological Treatises)
    • De Trinitate (c. 520–21)
    • Utrum Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus de divinitate substantialiter praedicentur (Whether Father and Son and Holy Spirit are Substantially Predicated of the Divinity)
    • Quomodo substantiae in eo quod sint bonae sint cum non sint substantialia bona [also known as De hebdomadibus] (How Substances are Good in that they Exist, when They are not Substantially Good)
    • De fide Catholica
    • Contra Eutychen et Nestorium (Against Eutyches and Nestorius)
  • De consolatione Philosophiae (524–525).

De consolatione philosophiae[edit]

Lady Philosophy and Boethius from the Consolation, (Ghent, 1485)

Boethius's best known work is the Consolation of Philosophy (De consolatione philosophiae), which he wrote most likely while in exile under house arrest or in prison while awaiting his execution.[29] This work represented an imaginary dialogue between himself and philosophy, with philosophy personified as a woman.[29] The book argues that despite the apparent inequality of the world, there is, in Platonic fashion, a higher power and everything else is secondary to that divine Providence.[4]

Several manuscripts survived and these were widely edited, translated and printed throughout the late 15th century and later in Europe.[29] Beyond Consolation of Philosophy, his lifelong project was a deliberate attempt to preserve ancient classical knowledge, particularly philosophy. Boethius intended to translate all the works of Aristotle and Plato from the original Greek into Latin.[30][31][32]

De topicis differentiis[edit]

His completed translations of Aristotle's works on logic were the only significant portions of Aristotle available in Latin Christendom from the sixth century until the 12th century. However, some of his translations (such as his treatment of the topoi in The Topics) were mixed with his own commentary, which reflected both Aristotelian and Platonic concepts.[29]

Unfortunately, the commentaries themselves have been lost.[33] In addition to his commentary on the Topics, Boethius composed two treatises on Topical argumentation, In Ciceronis Topica and De topicis differentiis. The first work has six books, and is largely a response to Cicero's Topica.[34] The first book of In Ciceronis Topica begins with a dedication to Patricius. It includes distinctions and assertions important to Boethius's overall philosophy, such as his view of the role of philosophy as 'establish[ing] our judgment concerning the governing of life',[35] and definitions of logic from Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. He breaks logic into three parts: that which defines, that which divides, and that which deduces.[35]

He asserts that there are three types of arguments: those of necessity, of ready believability, and sophistry.[36] He follows Aristotle in defining one sort of Topic as the maximal proposition, a proposition which is somehow shown to be universal or readily believable.[37] The other sort of Topic, the differentiae, are 'Topics that contain and include the maximal propositions'; means of categorizing the Topics which Boethius credits to Cicero.[38]

BookII covers two kinds of topics: those from related things and those from extrinsic topics. BookIII discusses the relationship among things studied through Topics, Topics themselves, and the nature of definition. BookIV analyzes partition, designation and relationships between things (such as pairing, numbering, genus, and species, etc.). After a review of his terms, Boethius spends BookV discussing Stoic logic and Aristotelian causation. BookVI relates the nature of the Topic to causes.

In Topicis Differentiis has four books; BookI discusses the nature of rhetorical and dialectical Topics together, Boethius's overall purpose being 'to show what the Topics are, what their differentiae are, and which are suited for what syllogisms.'[39] He distinguishes between argument (that which constitutes belief) and argumentation (that which demonstrates belief). Propositions are divided into three parts: those that are universal, those that are particular, and those that are somewhere in between.[40] These distinctions, and others, are applicable to both types of Topical argument, rhetorical and dialectical. BooksII and III are primarily focused on Topics of dialectic (syllogisms), while BookIV concentrates on the unit of the rhetorical Topic, the enthymeme. Topical argumentation is at the core of Boethius's conception of dialectic, which 'have categorical rather than conditional conclusions, and he conceives of the discovery of an argument as the discovery of a middle term capable of linking the two terms of the desired conclusion.'[41]

Not only are these texts of paramount importance to the study of Boethius, they are also crucial to the history of topical lore. It is largely due to Boethius that the Topics of Aristotle and Cicero were revived, and the Boethian tradition of topical argumentation spans its influence throughout the Middle Ages and into the early Renaissance: 'In the works of Ockham, Buridan, Albert of Saxony, and the Pseudo-Scotus, for instance, many of the rules of consequence bear a strong resemblance to or are simply identical with certain Boethian Topics ... Boethius's influence, direct and indirect, on this tradition is enormous.'[42]

It was also in De Topicis Differentiis that Boethius made a unique contribution to the discourse on dialectic and rhetoric. Topical argumentation for Boethius is dependent upon a new category for the topics discussed by Aristotle and Cicero, and '[u]nlike Aristotle, Boethius recognizes two different types of Topics. First, he says, a Topic is a maximal proposition (maxima propositio), or principle; but there is a second kind of Topic, which he calls the differentia of a maximal proposition ...'[43] Maximal propositions are 'propositions [that are] known per se, and no proof can be found for these.'[44]

This is the basis for the idea that demonstration (or the construction of arguments) is dependent ultimately upon ideas or proofs that are known so well and are so fundamental to human understanding of logic that no other proofs come before it. They must hold true in and of themselves. According to Stump, 'the role of maximal propositions in argumentation is to ensure the truth of a conclusion by ensuring the truth of its premises either directly or indirectly.'[45] These propositions would be used in constructing arguments through the Differentia, which is the second part of Boethius' theory. This is 'the genus of the intermediate in the argument.'[46] So maximal propositions allow room for an argument to be founded in some sense of logic while differentia are critical for the demonstration and construction of arguments.

Boethius' definition of 'differentiae' is that they are 'the Topics of arguments ... The Topics which are the Differentiae of [maximal] propositions are more universal than those propositions, just as rationality is more universal than man.'[47] This is the second part of Boethius' unique contribution to the field of rhetoric. Differentia operate under maximal propositions to 'be of use in finding maximal propositions as well as intermediate terms,' or the premises that follow maximal propositions.[48]

Though Boethius is drawing from Aristotle's Topics, Differentiae are not the same as Topics in some ways. Boethius arranges differentiae through statements, instead of generalized groups as Aristotle does. Stump articulates the difference. They are 'expressed as words or phrases whose expansion into appropriate propositions is neither intended nor readily conceivable', unlike Aristotle's clearly defined four groups of Topics. Aristotle had hundreds of topics organized into those four groups, whereas Boethius has twenty-eight 'Topics' that are 'highly ordered among themselves.'[49] This distinction is necessary to understand Boethius as separate from past rhetorical theories.

Maximal propositions and Differentiae belong not only to rhetoric, but also to dialectic. Boethius defines dialectic through an analysis of 'thesis' and hypothetical propositions. He claims that '[t]here are two kinds of questions. One is that called, 'thesis' by the [Greek] dialecticians. This is the kind of question which asks about and discusses things stripped of relation to other circumstances; it is the sort of question dialecticians most frequently dispute about—for example, 'Is pleasure the greatest good?' [or] 'Should one marry?'.'[50] Dialectic has 'dialectical topics' as well as 'dialectical-rhetorical topics', all of which are still discussed in De Topicis Differentiis.[43] Dialectic, especially in BookI, comprises a major component of Boethius' discussion on Topics.

Boethius planned to completely translate Plato's Dialogues, but there is no known surviving translation, if it was actually ever begun.[51]

De arithmetica[edit]

Boethius chose to pass on the great Greco-Roman culture to future generations by writing manuals on music, astronomy, geometry and arithmetic.[10]

Several of Boethius' writings, which were hugely influential during the Middle Ages, drew on the thinking of Porphyry and Iamblichus.[52] Boethius wrote a commentary on the Isagoge by Porphyry,[53] which highlighted the existence of the problem of universals: whether these concepts are subsistent entities which would exist whether anyone thought of them, or whether they only exist as ideas. This topic concerning the ontological nature of universal ideas was one of the most vocal controversies in medieval philosophy.

Besides these advanced philosophical works, Boethius is also reported to have translated important Greek texts on the topics of the quadrivium[51] His loose translation of Nicomachus's treatise on arithmetic (De institutione arithmetica libri duo) and his textbook on music (De institutione musica libri quinque, unfinished) contributed to medieval education.[53]De arithmetica begins with modular arithmetic, such as even and odd, evenly even, evenly odd, and oddly even. He then turns to unpredicted complexity by categorizing numbers and parts of numbers.[54] His translations of Euclid on geometry and Ptolemy on astronomy,[55] if they were completed, no longer survive. Boethius made Latin translations of Aristotle's De interpretatione and Categories with commentaries.[14] In his article The Ancient Classics in the Mediaeval Libraries, James Stuart Beddie cites Boethius as the reason Aristotle's works were popular in the Middle Ages, as Boethius preserved many of the philosopher's works.[56]

De institutione musica[edit]

Boethius' De institutione musica was one of the first musical works to be printed in Venice between the years of 1491 and 1492. It was written toward the beginning of the sixth century and helped medieval authors during the ninth century understand Greek music.[57] Like his Greek predecessors, Boethius believed that arithmetic and music were intertwined, and helped to mutually reinforce the understanding of each, and together exemplified the fundamental principles of order and harmony in the understanding of the universe as it was known during his time.[58]

In 'De Musica', Boethius introduced the threefold classification of music:[59]

  • Musica mundana – music of the spheres/world; this 'music' was not actually audible and was to be understood rather than heard
  • Musica humana – harmony of human body and spiritual harmony
  • Musica instrumentalis – instrumental music
Boethius, Arithmetica Geometrica Musica (1492 first printed edition, from Hans Adler Collection)

In De musica I.2, Boethius describes 'musica instrumentis' as music produced by something under tension (e.g., strings), by wind (e.g., aulos), by water, or by percussion (e.g., cymbals). Boethius himself doesn't use the term 'instrumentalis', which was used by Adalbold II of Utrecht (975–1026) in his Epistola cum tractatu.[full citation needed] The term is much more common in the 13th century and later.[citation needed] It is also in these later texts that musica instrumentalis is firmly associated with audible music in general, including vocal music. Scholars have traditionally assumed that Boethius also made this connection, possibly under the header of wind instruments ('administratur ... aut spiritu ut tibiis'[c][60]), but Boethius himself never writes about 'instrumentalis' as separate from 'instrumentis' explicitly in his very brief description.

In one of his works within De institutione musica, Boethius said that 'music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired.'[61]

Boezio de consolatione philosophiae pdf file size

During the Middle Ages, Boethius was connected to several texts that were used to teach liberal arts. Although he did not address the subject of trivium, he did write many treatises explaining the principles of rhetoric, grammar, and logic. During the Middle Ages, his works of these disciplines were commonly used when studying the three elementary arts.[55] The historian R. W. Southern called Boethius 'the schoolmaster of medieval Europe.'[62]

An 1872 German translation of 'De Musica' was the magnum opus of Oscar Paul.[63]

Opuscula sacra[edit]

Boethius also wrote Christian theological treatises, which supported Catholicism and condemned Arianism and other heterodox forms of Christianity.[64]

Five theological works are known:[65]

  • De Trinitate – 'The Trinity', where he defends the Council of Chalcedon Trinitarian position, that God is in three persons who have no differences in nature. He argues against the Arian view of the nature of God, which put him at odds with the faith of the Arian King of Italy.
  • Utrum Pater et filius et Spiritus Sanctus de divinitate substantialiter praedicentur – 'Whether Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Substantially Predicated of the Divinity,' A short work where he uses reason and Aristotelian epistemology to argue that the Catholic views of the nature of God are correct.[66]
  • Quomodo substantiae
  • De fide catholica - On the Catholic Faith
  • Contra Eutychen et Nestorium – 'Against Eutyches and Nestorius,' from around 513, which dates it as the earliest of his theological works. Eutyches and Nestorius were contemporaries from the early to mid-5th century who held divergent Christological theologies. Boethius argues for a middle ground in conformity with Roman Catholic faith.

His theological works played an important part during the Middle Ages in philosophical thought, including the fields of logic, ontology, and metaphysics.[67]

History of reception[edit]

Part of a series on
Scholastic Philosophy
  • Augustine of Hippo ('The Theologian')
  • Boethius ('Last of the Romans')
  • Pope Gregory I ('The Father of Christian Worship')
  • Thomas Aquinas ('Doctor Angelicus')
  • Duns Scotus ('Doctor Subtilis')
  • William of Ockham ('Doctor Invincibilis')
  • Francisco Suárez ('Doctor Eximius')
  • Averroes ('The Commentator')
  • Albertus Magnus ('Doctor Universalis')
  • Peter Lombard ('The Master')
  • Bonaventure ('Doctor Seraphicus')
  • Anselm of Canterbury ('Doctor Marianus')
  • Peter Abelard ('Doctor Scholasticus')

Lorenzo Valla described Boethius as the last of the Romans and the first of the scholastic philosophers.[12] Despite the use of his mathematical texts in the early universities, it is his final work, the Consolation of Philosophy, that assured his legacy in the Middle Ages and beyond. This work is cast as a dialogue between Boethius himself, at first bitter and despairing over his imprisonment, and the spirit of philosophy, depicted as a woman of wisdom and compassion. 'Alternately composed in prose and verse,[52] the Consolation teaches acceptance of hardship in a spirit of philosophical detachment from misfortune'.[68]

Parts of the work are reminiscent of the Socratic method of Plato's dialogues, as the spirit of philosophy questions Boethius and challenges his emotional reactions to adversity. The work was translated into Old English by King Alfred, although Alfred's authorship of this Old English translation has recently been questioned,[citation needed] and into later English by Chaucer and Queen Elizabeth.[64] Many manuscripts survive and it was extensively edited, translated and printed throughout Europe from the 14th century onwards.[69] Many commentaries on it were compiled, and it has been one of the most influential books in European culture. No complete bibliography has ever been assembled, but it would run into thousands of items.[68][failed verification]

'The Boethian Wheel' is a model for Boethius' belief that history is a wheel,[70] a metaphor that Boethius uses frequently in the Consolation; it remained very popular throughout the Middle Ages, and is still often seen today. As the wheel turns, those who have power and wealth will turn to dust; men may rise from poverty and hunger to greatness, while those who are great may fall with the turn of the wheel. It was represented in the Middle Ages in many relics of art depicting the rise and fall of man. Descriptions of 'The Boethian Wheel' can be found in the literature of the Middle Ages from the Romance of the Rose to Chaucer.[71]


The Tomb of Boethius in San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia.

Boethius is recognized as a martyr for the Catholic faith by the Roman Martyrology, though to Watkins 'his status as martyr is dubious'.[72] His cult is held in Pavia, where Boethius's status as a saint was confirmed in 1883, and in the Church of Santa Maria in Portico in Rome. His feast day is 23 October.[73][72][74] Pope Benedict XVI explained the relevance of Boethius to modern day Christians by linking his teachings to an understanding of Providence.[10] He is also venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church.[75]

In popular culture[edit]

Boezio De Consolatione Philosophiae Pdf File

In the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Boethius is the favorite philosopher of main character Ignatius J. Reilly. 'The Boethian Wheel' is a theme throughout the book, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981.[76]

Peter Glassgold translated Boethius's poems on the consolation of philosophy 'out of the original Latin into a diverse historical Englishings diligently collaged,' (Sun and Moon Press, 1994).[77]

C.S. Lewis references Boethius in chapter 27 of the Screwtape Letters. [78]

See also[edit]


  1. ^The name Anicius demonstrated his connection with a noble family of the Lower Empire, while Manlius claims lineage from the Manlii Torquati of the Republic. The name Severinus was given to him in honour of Severinus of Noricum.[3]
  2. ^In English, the o and e in Boethius are pronounced separately: /bˈθiəs/. It is hence traditionally written with a diæresis, viz. 'Boëthius', a spelling which has been disappearing due to the limitations of typewriters.
  3. ^'Haec vero administratur aut intentione ut nervis, aut spiritu ut tibiis, vel his, quae ad aquam moventur, aut percussione quadam, ut in his, quae in concava quaedam aerea feriuntur, atque inde diversi efficiuntur soni.' Translated: 'This, however, is operated by the motion of a string, or the wind of a pipe, or to those, which are moved by the water, or the beat of time, as in the following, which is striking a kind of brass hollow, and in the other are made of a corresponding sound.'


  1. ^Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. ^A.D. Smith, Anselm's Other Argument, Harvard University Press, 2014, p. 66.
  3. ^ abcHodgkin, Thomas (2001), Italy and Her Invaders, London: Adamant Media Corporation.
  4. ^ ab'Boethius', The Online Library of Liberty, retrieved 23 October 2017.
  5. ^ abNoel Harold Kaylor; Philip Edward Phillips (2012), A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, Brill, pp. 1–, ISBN978-90-04-18354-4, retrieved 19 January 2013
  6. ^Heather, P. J. (Peter J.) (2006). The fall of the Roman Empire : a new history of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 244–245. ISBN9780199978618. OCLC806039879.
  7. ^Boethius (1969), De consolatione philosophiae, translated by Watts, V.E., Harmonsworth: Penguin, 2.3, p. 59.
  8. ^Noel Harold Kaylor; Philip Edward Phillips (2012), A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, Brill, pp. 4–, ISBN978-90-04-18354-4, retrieved 19 January 2013
  9. ^Moorhead (2009), 'Boethius' life and the world of late antique philosophy', in Marenbon, John (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 29.
  10. ^ abcPope Benedict XVI (12 March 2008), Boethius and Cassiodorus, archived from the original on 28 December 2008, retrieved 4 November 2009.
  11. ^Cassiodorus (1992), Variae, translated by Barnish, S.J.B., Liverpool: University Press, I.10, pp. 12–14; I.45, 20–23; II.40, 38–43.
  12. ^ abBoethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus. The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy. Translated by H. F. Steward and E. K. Rand. Cambridge: The Project Gutenberg, 2004.
  13. ^De consolatione philosophiae, 2.3; translated by Watts, p. 60
  14. ^ abc'Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius', MacTutor History of Mathematicas archive, U of St Andrews, 2000, retrieved 4 November 2009.
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  16. ^Anonymous Valesianus, 14.85; text and English translation of this document is in J. C. Rolfe (trans.), Ammianus Marcellinus (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), vol. 3 pp. 562ff
  17. ^History of the Wars, 5.1.34. Text and translation in H. B. Dewing, Procopius (London: Heinemann, 1968), vol. 3 p. 12f
  18. ^Richards, The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 114
  19. ^De consolatione I.4.3; translated by V. E. Watts, Boethius: The consolation of philosophy (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969), p. 42
  20. ^Cassiodorus, Variae, V.40, 41
  21. ^Bury, J. B., History of the Later Roman Empire, p.158, Macmillan & Co., Ltd. 1923
  22. ^Richards, Popes and the Papacy, p. 119
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  28. ^Folkerts, Menso, ed. (1970), Boethius' Geometrie II. Ein mathematisches Lehrbuch des Mittelalters, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner
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  35. ^ abBoethius (1988), In Ciceronis Topica, translated by Stump, Eleonore, Cornell University, p. 25
  36. ^Stump, Eleanor (1988), Introduction, In Ciceronis Topica, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 26, ISBN978-0801489341
  37. ^Boethius. In Ciceronis Topica. 34
  38. ^Boethius. In Ciceronis Topica. 35
  39. ^Boethius (1978), De topicis differentiis, translated by Stump, Eleonore, Cornell University Press, p. 29, ISBN978-0801489334
  40. ^Boethius (1978), De topicis differentiis, translated by Stump, Eleonore, Cornell University Press, p. 31, ISBN978-0801489334
  41. ^Stump, Eleonore (1978), Introduction, De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 6, ISBN9780801489334
  42. ^Stump, Eleonore (1978), Introduction, De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, pp. 7, 9–8, ISBN978-0801489334.
  43. ^ abStump, Eleonore (1978), 'Dialectic and Boethius's De topicis differentiis', De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 180, ISBN978-0801489334.
  44. ^Boethius (1978), De topicis differentiis, translated by Stump, Eleonore, Cornell University Press, p. 33, ISBN978-0801489334
  45. ^Stump, Eleonore (1978), 'Dialectic and Boethius's De topicis differentiis', De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 181, ISBN978-0801489334
  46. ^Stump, Eleonore (1978), 'Dialectic and Boethius's De topicis differentiis', De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 198, ISBN978-0801489334
  47. ^Boethius (1978), De topicis differentiis, translated by Stump, Eleonore, Cornell University Press, p. 48, ISBN978-0801489334
  48. ^Stump, Eleonore (1978), 'Dialectic and Boethius's De topicis differentiis', De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 204, ISBN978-0801489334.
  49. ^Stump, Eleonore (1978), 'Dialectic and Boethius's De topicis differentiis', De topicis differentiis, by Boethius, Cornell University Press, p. 205, ISBN978-0801489334
  50. ^Boethius (1978), De topicis differentiis, translated by Stump, Eleonore, Cornell University Press, p. 35, ISBN978-0801489334
  51. ^ abCassiodorus (1992), Variae, translated by Barnish, S.J.B., Liverpool: University Press, I.45.4.
  52. ^ abMarenbon, John (2016), 'Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved 23 October 2017
  53. ^ abHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). 'Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius' . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company..
  54. ^Schrader, Dorothy V (1968), 'De Arithmetica, Book I, of Boethius', Mathematics Teacher, 61: 615–28.
  55. ^ abMasi, Michael (1979), 'The Liberal Arts and Gerardus Ruffus' Commentary on the Boethian De Arithmetica', The Sixteenth Century Journal, 10: 24.
  56. ^Beddie, James Stuart (1930), 'The Ancient Classics in the Mediaeval Libraries', Speculum, 5 (1): 3–20, doi:10.2307/2846353, JSTOR2846353, p. 3
  57. ^Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (1989), Palisca, Claude V. (ed.), Fundamentals of Music, translated by Bower, Calvin M., New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN978-0300039436.
  58. ^Grout, Donald (1980). A History of Western Music (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 24. ISBN978-0393951363.
  59. ^Bower, Calvin M. (2006), 'The transmission of ancient music theory into the Middle Ages', in Christensen, Thomas (ed.), The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, Cambridge University Press, pp. 136–167, ISBN978-0521686983, p. 146.
  60. ^Boethius 1867, p. 189.
  61. ^Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (1989), Palisca, Claude V. (ed.), Fundamentals of Music, translated by Bower, Calvin M., New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 8, ISBN978-0300039436.
  62. ^Herman, Arthur (2013). The Cave and the Light. Random House. ISBN978-0553807301.
  63. ^Paul, Oscar (1872), Boetius und die griechische Harmonik (in German), Leipzig: F.E.C. Leuckart.
  64. ^ abCooper, W.V. (1902), 'Editorial Note', Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus, translated by W.V. Cooper, London: J.M. Dent and Company.
  65. ^Noel Harold Kaylor; Philip Edward Phillips (2012), A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, Brill, pp. 15–, ISBN978-90-04-18354-4, retrieved 19 January 2013
  66. ^Speer, Andreas (2011), 'The Division of Metaphysical Discourses: Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, and Meister Eckhart', in Emery, Kent; Friedman, Russell; Speer, Andreas (eds.), Philosophy and Theology in the Long Middle Ages: A Tribute to Stephen F. Brown, Leiden: Brill, pp. 91–116, ISBN978-90-04-16942-5, p. 95
  67. ^Bradshaw, David (2009), 'The Opuscula sacra: Boethius and theology', in Marenbon, John (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, pp. 105–128, doi:10.1017/CCOL9780521872669.006, ISBN978-1139002493
  68. ^ abJames, H.R. (2007), Preface, Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius, translated by H.R. James, Adelaide: The University of Adelaide.
  69. ^Dwyer, Richard A. (1976), Boethian Fictions: Narratives in the Medieval French Versions of the Consolatio Philosophiae, Medieval Academy of America.
  70. ^Boethius (1999), Consolation of Philosophy, translated by Watts, Victor (Rev ed.), Penguin, p. 24, n. 1.
  71. ^Carroll-Clark, Susan (1994), 'The Wheel of Fortune', The Middle
  72. ^ abWatkins, Basil (2016). The Book of Saints. St. Augustine's Abbey of Ramsgate, England (8th ed.). London: Bloomsbury. p. 108. ISBN978-0567664150. OCLC908373623.
  73. ^Farmer, David Hugh (2011). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 53. ISBN978-0199596607. OCLC726871260.
  74. ^Martirologio (in Italian), translated by Stefano Calvi, archived from the original on 7 December 2010.
  75. ^Latin Saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome
  76. ^Miller, Karl (1999-03-05). 'An American tragedy. A lifetime of rejection broke John Kennedy Toole. But his aged mother believed in his talent, found a publisher for his novel and rescued his memory from oblivion'. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  77. ^Glassgold, Peter. 'Beothius: The Poems from on the Consolation of Philosophy Translated out of the original Latin into diverse historical Englishings diligently collaged'. Amazon. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  78. ^Lewis, Clive (1942). The Screwtape Letters. Faded Page. p. 57. Retrieved 28 April 2019.

Works available online[edit]

Dialectica, 1547
  • James, H.R. (translator) [1897] (2007), The Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius, The University of Adelaide: eBooks @ Adelaide, archived from the original on 2007-04-27Cite uses deprecated parameter deadurl= (help).
  • Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (1867). 'De institutione arithmetica libri duo'. In Gottfried Friedlein (ed.). Anicii Manlii Torquati Severini Boetii De institutione arithmetica libri duo: De institutione musica libri quinque. Accedit geometria quae fertur Boetii (in Latin). in aedibus B.G. Teubneri. pp. 1–173. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
  • Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (1867). 'De institutione musica libri quinque'. In Gottfried Friedlein (ed.). Anicii Manlii Torquati Severini Boetii De institutione arithmetica libri duo: De institutione musica libri quinque. Accedit geometria quae fertur Boetii (in Latin). in aedibus B.G. Teubneri. pp. 177–371. Retrieved 2015-10-08.


  • Attwater, Donald; Catherine Rachel John (1995), The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, London: Penguin Books, ISBN978-0-14-051312-7, OCLC34361179.
  • Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008), From Plato to Derrida, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN978-0-13-158591-1.
  • Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus (1926), trans., H.F. Stewart, E.K. Rand, and 'I.T.'. The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, Loeb Classical Library, parallel text.
  • Chadwick, Henry (1981), Boethius, the Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy, Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN978-0-19-826549-8, OCLC8533668.
  • Colish, Marcia L. (2002), Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 400–1400, New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN978-0-300-07852-7, OCLC185694056.
  • Magee, John (1989), Boethius on Signification and Mind, Leiden: Brill, ISBN978-90-04-09096-5.
  • Marenbon, John (2004), Boethius, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN978-0-19-513407-0, OCLC186379876.
  • Marenbon, John (2009), The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN978-0-521-87266-9.
  • Papahagi, Adrian (2010). Boethiana Mediaevalia – A Collection of Studies on the Early Medieval Fortune of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. Bucharest: Zeta Books. ISBN978-973-1997-79-7.
  • Suto, Taki (2011), Boethius on Mind, Grammar and Logic. A Study of Boethius' Commentaries on Peri Hermeneias, Cambridge: Brill, ISBN978-90-04-21418-7.
  • Westfall, Joseph (2008), 'Boethius: Kierkegaard and The Consolation', in Stewart, Jon (ed.), Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions, Ashgate, pp. 207–222, ISBN978-0-7546-6391-1.
Library resources about
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External links[edit]


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On Boethius' life and works[edit]

  • Blessed Severinus Boethius at Patron Saints Index
  • Blackwood, Stephen (2015). The Consolation of Boethius as Poetic Liturgy. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 398. ISBN978-0-19-871831-4.
  • O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., 'Boethius', MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  • Phillips, Philip Edward. Boethius: A Selected Bibliography for Students
  • Boethius at The Online Library of Liberty
  • On Boethius and Cassiodorus – Pope Benedict XVI

On Boethius' logic and philosophy[edit]

  • Marenbon, John. 'Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius'. In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Christine Mohrmann

Preceded by
Flavius Inportunus
Consul of the Roman Empire
Succeeded by
Arcadius Placidus Magnus Felix,
Flavius Secundinus

Ovidio Dallera

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