Some medieval French variations on images appearing in Boethius’ «Consolatio Philosophiae», Book III, metre iii

John Keith Atkinson


ABSTRACT: The third metre of Book III of Boethius' Consolatio philosophiae identifies three traditional goals of the wealthy avaricious man, goals which prove utltimately illusory. These three goals are represented by the following Latin expressions: “fluente auri gurgite”, “bacis rubri litoris”, “ruraque centeno scindat opima boue”. This article explores the different shades of meaning ascribed to these Latin expressions by nine medieval French translators of the text. One of the most unexpected and at first puzzling results, arising no doubt from an obscure scribal transcription, is to find one copyist transforming the overflowing floods of gold into barracudas consuming garfish.


KEYWORDS: Boethius – Consolatio philosophiae, III,iii – Medieval French translations – Scribal variations

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