ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

Updated on February 26, 2012

480-524 A.D.

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, commonly called Boethius, was a Roman philosopher, statesman, and Christian theologian. His writings express both his classical and his Christian heritage.

The last of the important Roman thinkers, he prepared the way for the great philosophers and theologians of medieval Scholasticism by developing Latin as a philosophical language and preserving much of the classical past and by his own positive doctrines.

Life

Boethius was born in Rome into the distinguished Anician family. Well educated and a capable administrator, he served the Ostrogothic king Theodoric, an Arian Christian, as consul in 510 and later as master of the offices. Despite his public duties, Boethius wrote voluminously to defend Christianity and preserve classical knowledge. In 522 or 523 he was falsely accused of taking part in a plot favoring the Catholic Emperor in the East, Justin I, against Theodoric. Also charged with sacrilege for practicing mathematics and astrology, Boethius was imprisoned at Pavia for nine months. During his imprisonment he wrote the famous De consolatione philosophiae (On the Consolation of Philosophy). He was then executed.

He came to be regarded as a Christian martyr and saint, known as St. Severinus Boethius. "Consolation." In the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius laments his Cruel fate and is comforted by philosophy in the form of a beautiful woman. She tells him that happiness is not to be found in the transitory possessions, power, or pleasures that fortune provides on earth, but with God in eternity, which is "the simultaneous whole and perfect possession of unending life." She assures him that wickedness is always punished and virtue rewarded and that man's temporal freedom is consistent with God's eternal foreknowledge.

The Consolation reflects the influence of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. It also reflects Christian thought, although it is not formally Christian. In both style and content it is, according to Gibbon, "a golden volume, not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or of Tully."

Other Writings

In his theological works Boethius brought Greek wisdom to the service of Christian faith. The two most important of these works, On the Trinity and Against Eutyches and Nestorius, use Platonic, Aristotelian, and Augustinian philosophy to state the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. In the course of the discussion Boethius gives his famous definition of a person as "an individual substance of a rational nature."

Most of Boethius' other works deal with the seven liberal arts-the trivium and quadrivium. His works on the trivium (dialectic, grammar, and rhetoric) include translations of, and commentaries on, Aristotle's Logic (Organon) and Porphyry's introduction to Aristotle's Categories, as well as Boethius' own treatises on categorical syllogisms and topical differences. Among his works on the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) are Principles of Arithmetic and Principles of Music. Most of Boethius' Geometry, translating and commenting on Euclid, and a study in astronomy have been lost. These works fulfill only a small part of his original plan, which was to reconcile apparent differences between Aristotle and Plato and to translate all their writings from Greek into Latin so that they might be more widely read in the West.

Boethius had great influence during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. King Alfred the Great and Chaucer each translated the Consolation, and Aquinas wrote a commentary for On the Trinity.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • chasmac profile image

      chasmac 

      6 years ago from UK

      Very interesting info. I only knew of Boethius through music studies. His translation into Latin of Greek music theory texts was misinterpreted by medieval monks, and, as a result, all of our modal music scales were misnamed (and still are).

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)