118 - Fate, Hope and Clarity: Boethius

Posted on 3 March 2013

Boethius ushers in the medieval age with expert works on Aristotle, subtle treatises on theology, and the Consolation of Philosophy, written while he awaited execution.

Further Reading

• Boethius, Theological Tractates and Consolation of Philosophy, trans. H.F. Stewart E.K. Rand, and S.J. Tester (London: 1973).

• Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, trans. J.C. Relihan (Indianapolis: 2001).

• M. Gibson (ed.), Boethius. His Life, Thought and Influence (Oxford: 1981).

• S. MacDonald, “Boethius’s Claim that all Substances are Good,” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 70 (1988), 245–79.

• J. Marenbon, Boethius (New York: 2003).

• J. Marenbon (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Boethius (Cambridge: 2009).


Ollie Killingback 3 March 2013

Once Boethius is in the past, will it be an opportune moment to change the introductory music too?

Peter Adamson 3 March 2013

In reply to by Ollie Killingback

Yes! There will be new music as of episode 120, when I start philosophy in the Islamic world. It's a very nice clip, I hope people will like it. And actually from now on I plan to change a bit more often, I think this last clip hung around for too long, though I did like it a lot.


Michael 17 March 2013

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the great podcast!

As well as a big philosophy fan I'm a massive music fan, and was wondering if you could you provide us with a song listing?

Thanks, and keep up the good work!


Rhys W. Roark 3 March 2013

Hey Peter,

Along with the nice episode as usual, I am taken with your posted illustration for the episode, with apparently Boethius, Philosophy and Fortune spinning her wheel.

When I Google "Boethius" or "Boethius Consolation . . ." it shows on some editions of the Consolation (mainly by Penguin, it appears), but I still can't find any info on it.

It appears as something either late Medieval (Gothic) or maybe early Renaissance. Possibly Northern European (i.e., non-Italian) Any further info on it?

At your convenience.


Thanks Peter.

Curious I didn't spot this in my Google search--but should've checked Wikimedia Commons. A great source for images.


Jonathan Jonsson 19 March 2022

Dear Peter,

I find the reasoning at around 12:24 problematic. You come dangerously close to saying that goodness is only an accidental property of giraffes, and not an essential one. Perhaps this is just your Boethius showing (surely it can't be your considered view), but I find this borderline sacrilegious. I can accept goodness being an enabling, but not essential, property of simple beings like humans and potatoes, but could you really extend this to the noble giraffe?

Add new comment