Books Beyond Borders: Fresh Findings on Boethius’ Reception in Twelfth-Century Scotland


This essay presents fresh findings on Scotland’s earliest reception of Boethius’s works. It focuses on three twelfth-century Boethian manuscripts with newly identified Scottish provenances: these are two copies of Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae and a copy of his Liber Divisione. Taken together, these three witnesses challenge the prevailing theory that Scotland’s reception of Boethius is rooted in Chaucer, vernacular English, and the fifteenth century. Rather, the Scots engaged with Boethius as much as three hundred years before Chaucer. The essay also reveals how Scotland’s peripheries repeatedly occupy a central role in this first stage of Boethius’s transmission, thus reflecting how alert and alive Scotland was to external influences in this period.British Academy, AHR

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This paper was published in Apollo.

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