The Consolation of Philosophy


De Consolatione Philosophiae (The consolation of philosophy) is a by Boethius, the son of an influential and aristocratic Roman family, written around the year 524. It is regarded as one of the most important works in the Western world. Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius (circa 480‒524) was a statesman, philosopher, poet, and consul, as well as adviser to the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, whom he served as magister officiorum (head of court and government administration). After he defended Albinus, a senator, in the presence of King Theodoric during the trial in Verona (Albinus was charged with treasonable correspondence with Emperor Justin at Constantinople), Boethius was also charged with treason, imprisoned (in Pavia), and executed. Boethius wrote De consolatione philosophiae while he was in prison. It is his best known work. It comprises five books and takes the form of a dialogue between the author and his visitor, Philosophy. She is here described as a respectful lady, with sparkling eyes, very perspicacious, having a long dress on which the Greek letters, Pi and Theta (P and T) are written. To Boethius, these letters symbolized the division of Platonic philosophy into practice and theory. The incunabulum is written in black ink with some enlarged capitals in red. It has a parchment paper binding, a manuscript bookplate "Ex libris conventus Fratrum minor. de gandino honnestus frater Math. Geschammller anno dni 1530," a seal bookplate with the initial letters F.F., and a label bookplate "Biblioteca Ion I.C. Brătianu." Brătianu (1864‒1927) served many terms as prime minister of Romania between 1909 and his death.

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Jean Dupré, Lyon


Title in Original Language

De consolatione philosophiae


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142 pages ; 26 centimeters


  1. John Marenbon, “Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (Summer 2013 edition).

Last updated: March 23, 2017