The Alfredian Boethius Project

Anglo-Saxon adaptations of the De Consolatione Philosophiae

Fourth Annual Symposium

English Faculty, Oxford University, 4 August 2006

The Study and Use of the De Consolatione Philosophiae 790-1100

The participants were:

Dr Richard Dance, Cambridge University
Dr Nicole Discenza, University of South Florida
Alex Domingue, University of Leeds
Mark Faulkner, English Faculty, Oxford
Prof. Vincent Gillespie, English Faculty, Oxford
Prof. Malcolm Godden, English Faculty, Oxford
Dr Mark Griffith, New College, Oxford
Prof. Susan Irvine, English Dept, University College, London
Peter Jackson, Oxford
Dr Rohini Jayatilaka, English Faculty, Oxford
Prof. Stephen McCluskey, University of West Virginia
Prof. Henry Mayr-Harting, Oxford University
Prof. Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, University of Notre Dame
Prof. Malcolm Parkes, Oxford University
Dr Marina Passalacqua, Università degli Studi Roma Uno
Alexandra Ramsden, University of York
Prof. Anton Scharer, University of Vienna
Prof. Paul E. Szarmach, Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University
Beth Tovey, English Faculty, Oxford
Dr Paolo Vaciago, Dept of Linguistics, Università degli Studi Roma Tre
Prof. Joseph Wittig, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The following papers, presentations and reports were given:
1. Malcolm Godden: Brief account of the Alfredian Boethius project and its progress
2. Rohini Jayatilaka and Susan Irvine: The MSS of the Old English Consolation.
Dr Jayatilaka gave an account of the lost Napier fragment (probably from the earliest known MS of the OE Consolation) and the evidence of Bodleian records for its history and fate; the evidence for the earlier history of the Bodleian and Cotton MSS; and the work that the project has done on the date and methodology of Junius's use of the two MSS before the extensive damage to the later MS in the Cotton fire. Professor Irvine added further information on the reconstruction of the Cotton MS in the 19th century and produced an additional example of fragments misplaced by the reconstructors and hitherto unrecognised. Peter Jackson added information about the other texts in the Cottom MS.
3. Nicole Discenza: 'Her mon mæg giet gesion hiora swæð: Tracks of Boethius in Anglo-Saxon England'.
Dr Discenza described the extensive use of the OE Consolation by Ælfric, Byrhtferth and other Anglo-Saxon writers, and discussed the kind of interest shown by different writers.
4. Alex Domingue: 'A Carolingian Perspective on the Old English Consolation of Philosophy'.
Alex Domingue discussed especially parallels between the work of Eriugena and the OE Consolation, and argued for the importance of the reign and circle of Charles the Bald as a model and influence for the Alfredian circle.
5. Joseph Wittig: 'Repeating, or Rethinking? How Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Scholars Engaged Boethius's Consolatio Philosophiae'.
Using examples from all the glosses on 3m9 of the Latin Consolation in early MSS, Professor Wittig traced the ways in which explicatory comments drawn from writers such as Augustine and Gregory were repeatedly adapted by glossators, and showed how such examples could be used to identify the way in which glosses were transmitted and developed and the relationships of different manuscripts.
6. Stephen McCluskey: Alfredian astronomy.
Professor McCluskey analysed the most important references to astronomy in the OE Consolation, showing how they related to contemporary views of astronomy and its function, and indicating ways in which Boethian allusions were adapted to later perceptions and conditions.
7. Susan Irvine: The prosimetrical version of the OE Consolation.
Professor Irvine reported on her progress in establishing a text of this version, and discussed the ways in which the text may have been divided into books, chapters or other sections, by the author(s) or subsequently.
Mark Griffith: The Metres.
Dr Griffith reported on his progress in analysing the metrics and diction of the OE Metres of Boethius.
Rohini Jayatilaka: Work on the Latin commentary.
Dr Jayatilaka reported on progress in transcribing and collating glosses from all the pre-1100 MSS for the whole text of the Latin Consolation, and emphasised the limitations of traditional divisions into ‘Remigian' and ‘St Gall' types of gloss. [For the full text (in pdf format), click here.]
Malcolm Godden: The Latin Commentary and the Old English text; authorship and kingship.
Professor Godden presented several new examples of close agreement between the OE text and some Latin glosses found especially in a small group of late tenth-century MSS of English origin; noted other evidence for the early English origins of glosses in that group; and argued that the nature of the translation suggested the author was not himself a king but someone familiar with courts and somewhat critical of them. [For the full text (in pdf format), click here.]




Page created 14 August 2006