Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Consolation of Philosophy, Introduction by V.E. Watts part 1

     It appears this introduction was written in the year of my birth, 1967. Watts mentions the obvious importance of the goddess 'Fortuna' in the Consolation and the rest of the middle ages. I know in The Inferno, Virgil talks about 'fortune' as some kind of sub-diety that has control over the fortunes of mortals. We change places with one another in 'rapid permutation'(The Pinsky Translation).  Too often, Virgil says, Fortune is blamed when she should be thanked. Throughout the middle ages and Renaissance Fortune recurs, specifically the since debased 'Wheel of Fortune'. There's a famous line in Hamlet when he's talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern where they claim to be in the 'mid' section of fortune, you know, a typical renaissance bawdy reference.
     Boethius had an ambitious plan to translate all of Aristotle and Plato into Latin, but you know, he was executed before he could finish the Plato part -- easy come easy go. Joking aside, it was through Boethius that Aristotle survived in the West. Also, the big debates between the nominalists and realists in the middle ages come from Boethius' commentary on Porphyry
He also set the agenda for what became the forms of medieval education, giving us the term 'quadrivium'.

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