32 Boethius Quotes to Find Wisdom and Consolation in Life’s Challenges

Ever find yourself, on some quiet night perhaps, or maybe in the midst of the chaotic humdrum of daily life, in the inescapable grip of musings over happiness, love, the general human condition? These thought-provoking Boethius quotes have you covered!

Our humble guide on this historical odyssey is a fellow by the name of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius. Boethius, for the sake of brevity. This philosopher, born amidst the glory of Rome circa 477 AD, only to be abruptly plucked from existence come 524 AD, had an uncanny knack for leaving an indelible impression on the tapestry of philosophy, stretching from the twilight years of antiquity to the doorstep of our modern age. His masterpiece? “”The Consolation of Philosophy,”” a poetic dialogue between himself and Philosophy, which he wrote in the solitude of his prison cell, awaiting execution.

Boethius’s words deal with with the timeless and the profound: the pursuit of happiness, the essence of virtue, the trappings of fortune, the extraordinary power of love. His quotations, encourage us to scrutinize and reflect on our own lives. As we venture into these quotes on love, happiness, human nature and fortune, we encourage the mind to embrace Boethius’s wisdom and to examine how this voice from antiquity still resonates deeply. Shall we get on with it?

Find out more on our Home Page.

Best, Most Popular and Famous Boethius Quotes

“Music is part of us, and either ennobles or degrades our behavior.”  ~  Boethius

“Nothing is miserable unless you think it is so.”  ~  Boethius

“The good is the end towards which all things tend.”  ~  Boethius

“And it is because you don’t know the end and purpose of things that you think the wicked and the criminal have power and happiness.”  ~  Boethius

“All fortune is good fortune; for it either rewards, disciplines, amends, or punishes, and so is either useful or just.”  ~  Boethius

“Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.”  ~  Boethius

Discover quotes by other Roman historians across our site: Tacitus, Publilius Syrus, Livy, Flavius Josephus, Sallust and Vegetius.

Boethius quotes on love

Boethius Quotes on Love

“Love binds people too, in matrimony’s sacred bonds where chaste lovers are met, and friends cement their trust and friendship. How happy is mankind, if the love that orders the stars above rules, too, in your hearts.”  ~  Boethius

“Good men seek it by the natural means of the virtues; evil men, however, try to achieve the same goal by a variety of concupiscences, and that is surely an unnatural way of seeking the good. Don’t you agree?”  ~  Boethius

“Whose souls, albeit in a cloudy memory, yet seek back their good, but, like drunk men, know not the road home.”  ~  Boethius

“If there is anything good about nobility it is that it enforces the necessity of avoiding degeneracy.”  ~  Boethius

“One’s virtue is all that one truly has, because it is not imperiled by the vicissitudes of fortune.”  ~  Boethius

“Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it – even if we so desired.”  ~  Boethius

“The friend that success brings you becomes your foe in time of misfortune. And there is no evil more able to do you injury than a friend turned foe.”  ~  Boethius

Find out more on our Home Page.

Boethius Quotes on Happiness

“A man content to go to heaven alone will never go to heaven.”  ~  Boethius

“So dry your tears. Fortune has not yet turned her hatred against all your blessings. The storm has not yet broken upon you with too much violence. Your anchors are holding firm and they permit you both comfort in the present, and hope in the future.”  ~  Boethius

“The greatest misery in adverse fortune is once to have been happy.”  ~  Boethius

“The completely simultaneous and perfect possession of unlimited life at a single moment.”  ~  Boethius

“So nothing is ever good or bad unless you think it so, and vice versa. All luck is good luck to the man who bears it with equanimity.”  ~  Boethius

“Whose happiness is so firmly established that he has no quarrel from any side with his estate of life?”  ~  Boethius

“For in all adversity of fortune the worst sort of misery is to have been happy.”  ~  Boethius

“Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things.”  ~  Boethius

“Balance out the good things and the bad that have happened in your life and you will have to acknowledge that you are still way ahead. You are unhappy because you have lost those things in which you took pleasure? But you can also take comfort in the likelihood that what is now making you miserable will also pass away.””  ~  Boethius

Boethius quotes

Boethius Quotes on Human Nature and Self-awareness

“Wretched men cringe before tyrants who have no power, the victims of their trivial hopes and fears. They do not realise that anger is hopeless, fear is pointless and desire all a delusion. He whose heart is fickle is not his own master, has thrown away his shield, deserted his post, and he forges the links of the chain that holds him.”  ~  Boethius

“Man is so constituted that he then only excels other things when he knows himself.”  ~  Boethius

“Indeed, the condition of human nature is just this; man towers above the rest of creation so long as he realizes his own nature, and when he forgets it, he sinks lower than the beasts. For other living things to be ignorant of themselves, is natural; but for man it is a defect.”  ~  Boethius

“Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule the mind is their subject.”  ~  Boethius

“So it follows that those who have reason have freedom to will or not to will, although this freedom is not equal in all of them. […] human souls are more free when they persevere in the contemplation of the mind of God, less free when they descend to the corporeal, and even less free when they are entirely imprisoned in earthly flesh and blood.”  ~  Boethius

“In other living creatures the ignorance of themselves is nature, but in men it is a vice.”  ~  Boethius

Find out more on our Home Page.

Boethius Quotes on Fortune

“Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope. The worst of time, like the best, are always passing away.”  ~  Boethius

“And no renown can render you well-known: For if you think that fame can lengthen life by mortal famousness immortalized, the day will come that takes your fame as well, and there a second death for you awaits.”  ~  Boethius

“If there is a God, whence proceed so many evils? If there is no God, whence cometh any good?”  ~  Boethius

“It’s my belief that history is a wheel. ‘Inconstancy is my very essence,’ says the wheel. ‘Rise up on my spokes if you like but don’t complain when you’re cast back down into the depths. Good time pass away, but then so do the bad.”  ~  Boethius

Find out more on our Home Page.

Boethius quotes

What Are The Quotes by Boethius All About?

Boethius’s quotes delve into several themes – love, music, goodness, fortune, and self-understanding. Love is a significant force, binding people and holding a higher rule of its own whilst music is portrayed as a core aspect of our beings, affecting our behavior.

Goodness, according to Boethius, is the ultimate goal of all things; he values virtues and regards them as the only thing that can stand up against changing fortune. The idea of fortune is also covered being deemed as generally good because it can either reward, teach or serve justice.

Teachings: What Can We Learn From These Quotes?

We can learn several important life lessons from Boethius. He emphasizes the significance of understanding ourselves and suggests that our advantage and superiority lies in our self-awareness. Also, he suggests that our happiness is mainly based on our perception – he beat so many to the conclusion, that indeed we decide what makes us miserable.

Boethius also warns about getting too distracted by and immersed in our fears and hopes, recommending that we understand the futility of anger, fear, and misguided desires.

Putting Into Practice: How Can We Apply This Wisdom In Our Own Lives?

Boethius’s teachings, although originating in sometimes abstract philosophy, have many real-world applications for our daily lives. His focus on self-awareness encourages us to evaluate ourselves, aligning our actions with our personal values and making better decisions.

Also, his views on happiness can help us deal better with life’s ups and downs… and his thoughts about love can remind us to nurture meaningful relationships. Just remember, we have to consider the context and apply our own critical thinking when dealing with these kind of ideas and wisdom, not just blindly follow.”

Find out more on our Home Page.

Who Was Boethius?

Upringing and Personal Life

Boethius was born into a distinguished and influential family around 477 AD in Rome, Italy. His father was an influential senator, but unfortunately passed away when Boethius was young. In spite of this early hardship, Boethius was adopted by Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus, a man of considerable wisdom and high standing. This upbringing, both privileged and marked by intellectual stimulation, likely contributed to his later achievements as a scholar and philosopher.

In terms of his personal life, Boethius married Rusticiana, his adoptive sister, with whom he had two sons. They lived in Rome where Boethius enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle due to his familial wealth and his position as a senator, following in his father’s footsteps.

Success and Achievements: What They Are Best Known For?

Boethius enjoyed considerable success in his professional life. Besides being a prominent statesman and philosopher, he was also a respected scholar, widely recognized for translating and preserving ancient Greek texts, which made him a central figure in the transmission of ancient Greek philosophy to the Middle Ages. His greatest achievement is arguably his work, “”The Consolation of Philosophy””, which he wrote while imprisoned.

“”The Consolation of Philosophy”” remains an influential piece of literature, with its teachings reverberating through centuries. It has been translated into numerous languages and has inspired a host of thinkers, writers, and philosophers throughout history, from Thomas Aquinas to C.S. Lewis.

Struggles and Character Flaws: They were only human!

Despite his success and intellectual prowess, Boethius’ life was not devoid of struggles. His political career culminated in a position as magister officiorum (Master of Offices) in the court of King Theodoric the Great, but it also led to his downfall. Accused of treason for alleged correspondence with the Eastern Roman Empire, he was imprisoned, condemned without a public trial, and eventually executed in 524 AD.

While Boethius’ personal flaws remain a mystery due to the lack of extensive historical documentation, his written works, especially “”The Consolation of Philosophy,”” bear witness to his internal struggles, notably his grappling with fortune’s fickleness, the ephemeral nature of worldly success, and the enduring value of virtue and wisdom.

Find out more on our Home Page.