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Initial from BL Lansdowne 842, vol. 1, f. 19

Initial from BL Lansdowne 842, vol. 1, f. 19



Decorated initial 'M'(aiores), at the beginning of Boethius's super Cicero's Topica. Image taken from vol. 1, f. 19 of Opera omnia. Written in Latin.

Boethius (c. 480-524/525) was one of the most influential early medieval philosophers. His work, The Consolation of Philosophy, was the most widely translated and reproduced secular work from the 8th century until the end of the Middle Ages. He was born around 480 into an influential Roman aristocratic family of Anicii which produced two Roman Emperors and several Roman consuls. He was fluent in Greek and may had been educated in Athens although many suggest Alexandria, especially those who think that his father may had been the perfect of Alexandria. Boethius held important public offices in Rome and was appointed consul in 510, when the Italian peninsula was ruled by the Ostrogoths. Thanks to his scholarly knowledge, Boethius’s gained royal affection and in 522, and achieved appointment of his two sons, Boethius and Symmachus as joint consuls which he considered as his greatest achievement. He was arrested and imprisoned in Pavia for one or two years before he was executed for treason. In the year (or two years) before his execution, Boethius wrote the Consolation of Philosophy, which is traditionally viewed as the last great work of the Classical era had a major influence on medieval philosophy but it also profoundly influenced early Renaissance thought in Europe. According to Boethius, the universe is ruled by divine love and true happiness can be achieved not through power and money but by turning to otherworldly virtues. This interpretation perfectly fitted with the Christian doctrine of humility and played an important role in the later Christian philosophy of consolation according to which suffering from evil will be rewarded in the afterlife.


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