Boethius (bōēˈthēəs) [key], Boetius bōēˈshəs, or Boece bōēsˈ (Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius), c.475–525, Roman philosopher and statesman. An honored figure in the public life of Rome, where he was consul in 510, he became the able minister of the Emperor Theodoric. Late in Theodoric's reign false charges of treason were brought against Boethius; after imprisonment in Pavia, he was sentenced without trial and put to death. While in prison he wrote his greatest work, De consolatione philosophiae (tr. The Consolation of Philosophy ). His treatise on ancient music, De musica, was for a thousand years the unquestioned authority on music in the West. One of the last ancient Neoplatonists, Boethius translated some of the writings of Aristotle and made commentaries on them. His works served to transmit Greek philosophy to the early centuries of the Middle Ages.

See H. F. Stewart, Boethius (1891); H. Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy (1981); E. Reiss, Boethius (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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