Boethius (Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus)

Boethius (Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus), a celebrated Roman statesman and philosopher. Sprung from an illustrious house, he was born at Rome about 470, and went (according to one account) to study at Athens in 480. His father's death compelled him, in 490, to return to Rome. He was once elected consul (A.D. 510), was happily married, and had two sons, who in 522 were elevated to the consulate. He for a time enjoyed the high favor of Theodoric; but about 523, having been accused of treasonable attempts against the emperor, and of sacrilege and magic, he was condemned to exile and sent to Pavia, where he was cast into prison. Here he spent his solitary hours, amid the miseries and confinement of his cell, in literary labors, and during this period were composed his books De Consolatione Philosophie. In the following year he was beheaded in his prison. Baronius relates, upon the authority of Julius Marcianus, that after the head of Boethius had been struck off, he took it up in his two hands and carried it to an adjoining church, when he sank upon his knees before the altar and expired! Well may Cave add, "Nugatur plane infra viri prudentis gravitatem, purpurse sume dignitatem Card. Baronius!" His works are-1. In Porphyrium a Victorino translatum dialogi II:-2. In Porsphyrium a se Latine versum libriII:-3. In Categorias Aristotelis libri II, and other Commentaries on Aristotle :-4. Introductio ad Catholicos syllogismos, etc. :-5. De Consolatione Philosophib libri V (Lyons, 1502, 4to, with the commentaries of St. Thomas Aquinas; ibid. 1514; Basle, 1536, 8vo, by Murmellius; Antwerp, 1607, 8vo; Lyons, 1633, and with the Annotations of Renatus Vallinus, 1656; Riga, 1794, by Freitag; Linz, 1827, by Weingartner; Jena, 1843, by Obbarius). The Saxon version, by king Alfred, was published at Oxford, by Rawlinson, in 1698, from a modern transcript of the Cottonian MS., of which a few fragments only were saved. A number of theological treatises (especially three on the Trinity) are attributed to Boethius; but they were probably written by some other writer of the same name. It is not even satisfactorily established that he was a Christian at all. The De Consolatione was translated into English by Preston (1695), and into German by Freytag (Riga, 1794). The works of Boethins were collected and published at Venice, 1491; Basle, 1546, and, with virriorum commentaries, in 1570 (2 vols. fol.); Leyden, 1671; Paris, 1680.-Landon, Eccl. Dict. ii, 300.

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