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Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: Consolatio Philosophiae) is the last work of the Latin philosopher Boethius, written while he was awaiting execution on the orders of his former patron, the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great. It is often considered one of the last major works of classical literature and attained huge influence in the Middle Ages.

The work takes the form of a dialogue between Boethius and Lady Philosophy, touching on a range of philosophical issues, such as free will and predestination and the nature of justice. Boethius' Christianity is not made explicit, but the work has often been seen as a synthesis of Christianity and Platonism.

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Free online texts

Bibliothèque nationale de France: De la consolation de la philosophie, translated by Jean de Meun. Middle French. PDF & JPG formats.

Gutenberg: The Consolation of Philosophy. Multiple formats. 

Loebulus. L074 - Boethius -- Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Internet Archive: Chaucer's Translation of Boethius's "De Consolatione Philosophiæ" (Early English Texts Society, 1868). Middle English text. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon Version of Boethius De Consolatione Philosophiae, with a modern English translation by Samuel Fox (London, 1864). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Consolation of Philosophy, translated into English prose and verse by H. R. James. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Latin text. English translations by Henry Rosher James (1897) and Walter John Sedgefield (1900). Multiple formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: The Consolations of Philosophy. Melvyn Bragg with AC Grayling, Melissa Lane, and Roger Scruton.

Georgetown University: Boethius - page by James J. O'Donnell.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Fate, Hope and Clarity: Boethius - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: John Marenbon on Boethius - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Librivox: The Consolation of Philosophy.

Medieval Logic and Philosophy: The Guilt of Boethius, by Nathan Basik.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, by Jon Marenbon.

University of Cambridge: First performance in 1,000 years: ‘lost’ songs from the Middle Ages are brought back to life. Boethius set to music.

Wikipedia: The Consolation of Philosophy.

Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius.

The Consolation of Philosophy at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Phaedo.


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