Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, De Musica, ca. 1120-1150. Manuscripts Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library (via National Library of New Zealand), (via marsiouxpial)
Boëthius (ca. 480–524 or 525) was a Christian philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after Odoacer deposed the last Western Roman Emperor. Boethius, of the noble Anicius lineage, entered public life at a young age and was already a senator by the age of 25. Boethius himself was consul in 510 in the kingdom of the Ostrogoths. In 522 he saw his two sons become consuls. Boethius was executed by King Theodoric the Great, who suspected him of conspiring with the Byzantine Empire.
Boethius’ De institutione musica, was one of the first musical works to be printed in Venice between the years of 1491 and 1492. It was written toward the beginning of the sixth century and helped medieval authors during the ninth century understand Greek music.
In his “De Musica”, Boethius introduced the fourfold classification of music: 1. Musica mundana — music of the spheres/world; 2. Musica humana — harmony of human body and spiritual harmony; 3. Musica instrumentalis — instrumental music (incl. human voice); 4. Musica divina — music of the gods During the Middle Ages
Boethius was connected to several texts that were used to teach liberal arts. Although he did not address the subject of trivium, he did write many treatises explaining the principles of rhetoric, grammar, and logic. During the Middle Ages, his works of these disciplines were commonly used when studying the three elementary arts.