In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI devoted part of a Wednesday general audience to Boethius (c. 480-c. 524), a little-known Roman who lived in the waning days of the Empire. Boethius seems a surprising topic for a papal address: He was a philosopher, not a theologian. His most famous work makes no mention of Christ or Christian belief. But the pope observed that Boethius was an important figure in the development of Christian philosophy, as his works seek to bridge "the Hellenistic-Roman heritage and the gospel message." And, the pope added, he has traditionally been honored as a Christian martyr.Read the entire article on the Catholic Answers website.
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius had a short but impressive life. It was short, in large part, because he lived, as Pope Benedict noted in his March 12 audience, "in some of the most turbulent years in the Christian West and in the Italian Peninsula in particular." It was impressive because Boethius was a man of remarkable genius and character. He was born into a noble family whose lineage included Roman emperors, and he was a senator at the age of 25. He studied Greco-Roman culture and philosophy with great diligence and admirable ambition. One of his goals was to translate the works of Plato and Aristotle into Latin, and he wrote works on logic, mathematics, and theology. But his most famous and enduring work is De Consolatione Philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy), written while under house arrest. Having initially earned the favor of Theoderic, king of Ravenna and regent of the Visigoths, Boethius found himself accused by the king—an Arian—of treason. He was arrested in 523 and executed a year later at the age of 44. Through The Consolation of Philosophy, Benedict noted, Boethius "sought consolation, enlightenment, and wisdom in prison." As we will see, the issues of happiness and the greatest good are central to this search for wisdom.