Front Page Titles (by Subject) I - The Consolation of Philosophy
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I - Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy [520 AD]
King Alfred’s Version of the Consolations of Boethius. Done into Modern English, with an Introduction by Walter John Sedgefield Litt.D. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900).
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Page 1IN THE days when the Goths out of the land of Scythia had raised war against the Roman empire, and under their kings Rædgod and Alaric had stormed Rome, and won all the realm of Italy from the mountains even to the island of Sicily, then, after those kings, did Theodoric hold the same empire in sway. Theodoric was an Amuling and a Christian, though he held fast to the Arian heresy. To the Romans he promised his friendship, and that they should keep their old rights; but he kept that promise very basely, and his end was grievous and full of sin, in that his countless crimes were increased by the murder of Pope John. At that time there lived a consul, a chief we should now call him, whose name was Boethius, a man of book-learning and in worldly life most truly wise. He, perceiving the manifold wrongs wrought by Theodoric upon the Christian faith and upon the chief men of the Romans, began to recall the glad times and immemorial rights they had onceenjoyed under the Caesars, their ancient lords. And so meditating, he began to muse and cast about within himself how he might wrest the sovereignty from the unrighteous king and restore it to them of the true faith and of righteous life. Wherefore, sending word privily to the Caesar at Constantinople, the chief city of the Greeks and the seat of their kings, because this Caesar was of the kin of the ancient lords of the Romans, he prayed him to help them back to their Christian faith and their old laws. But cruel King Theodoric heard of these designs, and straightway commanded that Boethius be thrust into a dungeon and kept fast therein. Now when this good man fell into so great straits he waxed sore of mind, by so much the more that he had once known happier days. In the prison he could find no comfort; falling down, grovelling on his face he lay sorrowing on the floor, in deep despair, and began to weep over himself, and to sing, and this was his song:
[Page 1 ]Raedgod and Alaric. Raedgod, generally known in history as Raedagaisus, has in the Anglo-Saxon the forms Rædgota, Rædgod, and Rædgot. Alaric has the forms Aleric and Eallerica.