The τόπος of the goods of fortune in Consolatio II and III: how to console and exhort Boethius
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The apparent overlap between Lady Philosophy’s surveys of the goods of fortune in Book II and III of Boethius’ Consolatio philosophiae has troubled commentators for more than a century now, but it is yet to find a satisfactory explanation. Our analysis of the medical analogy in the text suggests that we can most effectively come to terms with this étrangeté of the Consolatio by taking into account the medical conditions that Lady Philosophy diagnoses Boethius with, as well as the different types of medicaments that she prescribes him. The first survey of the goods of fortune is part of a series of consolatory discourses that Lady Philosophy administers to Boethius in Book II as fomenta (‘poultices’) intended to soothe his morbus perturbationum (‘disorder of the passions’), while the second survey coincides with the socalled apotreptic part of a protreptic discourse that Lady Philosophy administers to Boethius in Book III as a remedium (‘remedy’) for his morbus lethargus (‘lethargic illness’).
keywordsBoethius, protreptics, consolation, therapy, medical analogy
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