Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The Consolation of Philosophy by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius is the most significant and final work to come from the thinker known as the last of the Romans, the first of the Scholastics. It is the author’s most significant work because it draws on a lifetime of studying the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Porphyry, Proclus, Plotinus, and other classical figures; it is a piece, therefore, that proved to be critical to medieval philosophers of Christianity throughout Europe, as well as to such literary figures as Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer. For, while The Consolation of Philosophy contains elements of Aristotelianism, Stoicism, and Neoplatonism, it is also ruled by the concept of a personal God to whom one can pray and from whom one might seek salvation.
It is Boethius’s final work, written during his imprisonment in Pavia as he awaited execution under the authority of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric for the crime of treason against Pope John I. The Consolation of Philosophy, then, belongs to the ancient genre of Greek and Roman philosophy known as the consolatio, which is designed to provide the soul with a kind of moral and spiritual medication in times of distress. This aspect of the work had an influence on a number of literary masterworks of the Middle Ages, including Dante’s La divina commedia (c. 1320; The Divine Comedy, 1802) and the fourteenth century Middle English...
(The entire section is 1742 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Consolation of Philosophy Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!