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Boethius and the Consolation of Philosophy
Who was Boethius and why did he write the Consolation of Philosophy? Anicius Manlius
Severinus Boethius was a Roman aristocrat who was executed in 424 or 425 CE. Like Socrates,
he was condemned to death based on false charges manufactured by his political enemies. While
in prison he wrote The Consolation of Philosophy, an enormously influential philosophical work
that still resonates with many contemporary concerns. The work starts with Boethius in his
prison cell, weeping and complaining about his bad luck and unjust treatment. Lady Philosophy
brings him back to happiness by helping him understand his real human nature, the difference
between true and false happiness, and the nature of God and the universe.
What is the goal of is written by first year college students
and is designed to introduce you to Boethius most famous work by discussing and engaging
with the answers Boethius gives to ten questions. This is NOT a summary of the Consolation or
a scholarly study of it. Our goal is to help you see what a fascinating thinker Boethius is and to
encourage you to read the Consolation for yourself.
Who are the authors of Boethius101? This was written by first-year students (class of 2018) in
the Honors Program of Villanova University. This website was a class project for the fall of 2014
in the Interdisciplinary Honors Humanities Seminar. Please let us know what you think of our
work by sending an e-mail to
Co-Authors: Blaire Bernstein, Alex Boniakowski, Hannah Buggeln, Hannah Cree, Alyssalee
Lee Curcio, Donald Holton, Mikaela Krim, Marissa Rawlings, Elaina Snyder, Samantha
Sontag, Laura Spence, Ethan Swain, Becca Walters, Liz Williams. (Scroll down for a picture of
the authors).
General Editors: Alyssalee Curcio and Samantha Sontag.
Sources. All quotations are from Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. David R.
Slavitt. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008. Some passages have been slightly modified
to improve readability.
Acknowledgements. We are deeply grateful to Professor Kevin Hughes, the guest lecturer for
some of our Boethius classes, who provided us with so much insight to this fascinating text.
John Immerwahr,
Professor of Philosophy
Villanova University, December 2014

The students of the Villanova University

Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar
Fall 2014

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