471J  Boethius, Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus (480-524)

Sancti thome de aquino super libris Boecii de consolatione philosophie co[m]mentum cum expositione feliciter incipit.

Lyons: Guillaume le Roy, 1484 ( not after 24 December 1484).  Price: $18,000.

Chancery folio (296 x 210mm). signatures :a-x⁸ (a1 & xblank); Part I only, 166 leaves (of 168, without first and last blanks). Red initial with blue flourishing, smaller red and blue ink initials, red and blue paragraph marks (some leaves browned, repaired tear in text of one leaf, some dampstains). The text surrounded by commentary ascribed to Thomas Aquinas. Le Roy wass the first printer in Lyons and began printing in 1473.  Bound in Contemporary blind tooled morocco, remains of paper label on rear board (lacking clasps, losses to leather, rebacked preserving some original leather). 

Boethius became the connecting link between the logical and metaphysical science of antiquity and the scientific attempts of the Middle Ages. His influence on medieval thought was still greater through his De consolatione philosophiae. Whether Boethius was a Christian has been doubted Nevertheless, for a long time the book was read with the greatest reverence by all Christendom, and its author was regarded as a martyr for the true faith” (Schaff-Herzog). ¶ In this prosimetrical apocalyptic dialogue, Boethius our narrator encounters Lady-Philosophy , who appears in his time of need, the muse of poetry has in short failed him. Philosophy adresses among great protest Boethius’ bad interpretations and misunderstandings of fate and free will…. 

One thousand five hundred years later It is still fair to ask, the same questions which Boethius asks .. “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

And Philosophy answers: “The judgment of most people is based not on the merits of a case but on the fortune of its outcome; they think that only things which turn out happily are good.” “You have merely discovered the two-faced nature of this blind goddess [Fortune] … For now she has deserted you, and no man can ever be secure until he has been deserted by Fortune.” 

¶ “I [Fortune] spin my wheel and find pleasure in raising the low to a high place and lowering those who were on top. Go up, if you like, but only on condition that you will not feel abused when my sport requires your fall.” 

This copy was released/issued without the Pseudo-Boethian De disciplina scholarium from the same press printed later, which usually accompanies it.

 ISTC ib00779000.; Goff; B779; GW; 4535; Walsh,  3737;Hain-Copinger; 3418; Copinger; 1107.

Copies in United States: Harvard (I) Gordon W. Jones, M.D., (I) Yale (I)