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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 Western 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 Plato and Aristotle, he became the main intermediary between Classical antiquity and following centuries.

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".[73] 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.[74][73][75] In the current Martyrologium Romanum, his feast is still restricted to that diocese.[76] 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.[77]

In popular culture

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.[78]

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).[79]

C.S. Lewis references Boethius in chapter 27 of the Screwtape Letters. [80]

Boethius also appears in the 2002 film "24 Hour Party People" where he is played by Christopher Eccleston. As Tony Wilson passes by, Boethius (disguised as a beggar) says, "It's my belief that history is a wheel. "Inconstancy is my very essence" -says the wheel- "Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don't complain when you are cast back down into the depths. Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it is also our hope. The worst

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]

De topicis differentiis was the basis for one of the first works of logic in a western European vernacular, a selection of excerpts translated into Old French by John of Antioch in 1282.[72]

Boethius is recognized as a martyr for the Catholic faith by the Roman Martyrology, though to Watkins "his status as martyr is dubious".[73] 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.[74][73][75] In the current Martyrologium Romanum, his feast is still restricted to that diocese.[76] 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.[77]

In popular culture

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.[78]

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).[79]

C.S. Lewis references Boethius in chapter 27 of the Screwtape Letters. [80]

Boethius also appears in the 2002 film "24 Hour Party People" where he is played by Christopher Eccleston. As Tony Wilson passes by

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.[78]

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).[79]

[79]

C.S. Lewis references Boethius in chapter 27 of the Screwtape Letters. [80]

Boethius also appears in the 2002 film "24 Hour Party People" where he is played by Christopher Eccleston. As Tony Wilson passes by, Boethius (disguised as a beggar) says, "It's my belief that history is a wheel. "Inconstancy is my very essence" -says the wheel- "Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don't complain when you are cast back down into the depths. Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it is also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away."