The Consolation of Philosophy


Consolatio Philosophiae (The consolation of philosophy) is a philosophical work written by Boethius, the scion of an influential Roman family, around the year 524. It is regarded as one of the most important and influential works in the Western world. The book was composed during a yearlong period of imprisonment that Boethius served while he was awaiting trial for the crime of treason under the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great; he was found guilty and executed in 524. Written in the form of a dialogue between Boethius and Lady Philosophy, the work was often illustrated in the Middle Ages. Folio 1 verso of this 11th-century volume is decorated with a pen-and-ink drawing depicting a scene found in many other manuscripts: Boethius is visited by a female personification of philosophy in jail and is comforted by her. The manuscript, which was annotated with Old High German glosses, is typical of codices intended for everyday use; it was probably written in Salzburg and was preserved in the Salzburg Cathedral library until the beginning of the 19th century. It is now in the collections of the Bavarian State Library.

Last updated: April 23, 2015