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The Authority Of The Consolation

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Chapter Summary

No text is written in a vacuum, and the twelfth-century prosimetra discussed in this chapter are at least as indebted to their predecessors as anything else written during the Middle Ages. If one takes the long view, looking especially at the formal characteristics of the prosimetra, the five texts can be read as responses to the two late antique works on which they model themselves. The two model texts are the Marriage of Philology and Mercury, written by the North African Martianus Capella in the early years of the sixth century, and the Consolation of Philosophy , composed by the Roman Senator Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius before his execution in 524. The chapter examines the concept of imitation itself. The authority of the Consolation lay in its provision of a model for monastic virtue, an approach to the divine through renunciation of the world and cultivation of the artes.

Keywords: Consolation of Philosophy; Roman Senator Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius; textual imitation; twelfth-century prosimetra



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