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Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

Although at present I do not have precise genealogical data regarding Boethius, he was most assuredly a member of the great gens Anicii, and most probably a member of the Italian branch of the family, though not necessarily the leading branch within the city of Rome. The issue of his parentage is largely confused because he was orphaned, and raised in the home of the Roman senator, Symmachus, whose daughter he later married.

Though Boethius is most noted for his intellectual contributions, he was also a noted statesman. In 510 he became consul of Rome during the Gothic occupation of the city. Later he became chief minister to Theodoric, the Gothic ruler of Italy. In 523, he was accused of treason and imprisoned in Pavia. In 524, he was executed.

His political career notwithstanding, he has been cheifly remembered for his intellectual contributions to the West. He studied at Athens, and translated the works of Aristotle and Porphyry which became the standard textbooks of logic in the medieval West. He greatest work, however, was his De consolatione Philosophiae which was written during his imprisonment. The Consolation made Boethius the leading philosopher of his age and it has been suggested that this book was the most widely read book after the Bible in Western Europe until this century. In 1883 he was officially canonized as a martyr of the Roman Catholic Church with a confirmed cult.

Boethius, being perhaps the most remembered Anicii of all time, has a number of online biographies and commentaries dedicated to him. Among the better ones I have found are this one which emphasizes his role in music theory, a biography, and the article discussing him in the electronic Catholic Encyclopedia.

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