De Rerum Natura & De Consolatione philosophiae

Author: Titus Lucretius Carus & Severinii Boetii.

Printer: Filippo Giunta.

Year: 1512

'Lucretius's only work is De Rerum Natura, a didactic poem in 6 books, in which the poet expounds the physical theory of Epicurus(q.v.) with a view to abolishing superstitious fears of the intervention of the gods in the world and of the punishment of the soul in an after-life. This he accomplishes by demonstrating that the world is governed by the mechanical laws of nature ('foedera naturai') and that the soul is mortal and perishes with the body. The bulk of the poem is occupied in setting out in detail the atomic view of the universe, which Epicurus adopted with the modifications from the Atomist Leucippus and Democritus.'
(The Oxford Classical Dictionary)

De Consolatione philosophiae libri qvinqve is written in prose and verse while the senator and consul Boethius (ca. 480–ca.524) was in prison at Pavia on charges of treachery, or in exile under arrest.
The 'Consolation of Philosophy' is a dialogue between the author and Philosophy, who has come to console him in his autobiographical desolation. After helping Boethius understand himself, his good fortune and his misfortune, and free will, Philosophy leads him to true happiness, which is knowledge of God. Incorporating large parts of Plato's 'Timaeus', it was a chief source of Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophy in the Middle Ages. It also introduces the celebrated 'Boethian wheel', an image of historical cycle, concerning men in particular, and their rise and fall. Boethius' most famous work became quickly popular, and it was the most widely copied work of secular literature in Europe, before being printed more than 70 times in all major European languages before 1501