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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Latin

Undergraduate Course: Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy (LATI10051)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBoethius' Consolation of Philosophy is a literary dialogue that mixes prose and poetry to describe the author's struggles to make sense of his unjust imprisonment and looming execution in the Ostrogothic kingdom of the early sixth century. This course will provide an extended look at a literary masterpiece that presents the author's profound synthesis of the ancient literary tradition from Homer to Prudentius.
Course description Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy is a masterpiece, one of the greatest works of Latin literature ever written. The text is a dialogue between the character Philosophy and the ex-consul, philosopher, and poet Boethius, who had been imprisoned by the Ostrogothic king Theoderic and would be executed before the end of 526. The author writes in his own self-defence; more importantly, he created a profound meditation on fate and free will. As he described a personal journey out of despair, Boethius composed the work in a mixed verse and prose form that invoked every resource of his culture, including Homer, Plato, Cicero, Vergil, Horace, Seneca, Prudentius, Augustine, and contemporary Neoplatonic philosophy. The work's considerable influence is encapsulated in the fact that it was translated by no less than the Anglo-Saxon King Alfred, by Geoffrey Chaucer, and by Queen Elizabeth I.

This course will involve in-depth study of the Consolation, its structure, language, relation to other works of Boethius, philosophical and poetic significance, and reception. Weekly readings will include most of the five books of the Consolation in Latin, the rest in English, and appropriate secondary readings.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Poetry and Culture from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (CLTR10024)
Other requirements A Pass in Latin 2B or Latin 2hB or with the permission of the Course Organiser
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Latin at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 171 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
3,000 word essay (50%)

2-hour exam (50%)
Feedback Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate command of the structure, contents, language, and reception of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy;
  2. Read, analyse and reflect critically upon scholarship on Boethius;
  3. Understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material related to Boethius;
  4. Develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Fortescue, A. (ed.) (1925) Boethius: De consolatione philosophiae, London.

Courcelle, P. (1967) La consolation de philosophie dans la tradition littéraire: Antécédents et postérité de Boèce, Paris.

Chadwick, H. (1981) Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy, Oxford.

O'Daly, G. (1991) The Poetry of Boethius, London.

Dronke, P. (1994) Verse with Prose from Petronius to Dante: The Art and Scope of the Mixed Form, Cambridge, MA.

Walsh, P. G. (trans.) (2000) The Consolation of Philosophy, Oxford.

Marenbon, J. (2003) Boethius, Oxford.

Moreschini, C. (ed.) (2005) Boethius: De consolatione philosophiae; Opuscula theologica, 2nd ed., Munich.

Gruber, J. (2006) Boethius: Kommentar zu Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, 2nd ed., Berlin.

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

Donato, A. (2013) Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy as a Product of Late Antiquity, London.

Blackwood, S. (2015) The Consolation of Boethius as Poetic Liturgy, Oxford.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The ability to read a complex text carefully so as to identify its gaps and ambiguities;

Critical thinking based on understanding of a different culture and literature;

The ability to read Latin texts at length with discernment;

Written and verbal communication skills;

The ability to appreciate the creativity of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy;

The ability to discern how a key text in Classics can and should be read.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Aaron Pelttari
Tel: (0131 6)51 3004
Course secretary
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