While still young he married Symmachus’s virtuous daughter Rusticiana, and his technical knowledge in singular contrast with the purely theoretical character of his surviving work quickly attracted the attention of King Theodoric who, even before his election as ordinary consul sine collega 510, honored Boethius with many prestigious tasks such as choosing a citharoedus to send to Clovis, king of the Franks, overseeing the work of the Arcarius praefectorum, who seemed to be minting underweight coins, and finally though perhaps some years after his consulate supervising the construction of two clocks, one solar and one hydraulic, to be sent to the Burgundian king Gundobad.
We know little or nothing of Boethius’s activity in the decade following his consulate, but he presumably held the office of Praefectus urbis. A much higher post, that of Magister officiorum, a kind of general superintendent of affairs of court and state, was entrusted to him from 522, the same year in which his two sons assumed the dignity of consul. With such huge successes, Boethius seemed to have reached the apex of his political career and his fortune, but within two years he was completely and utterly ruined. We learn from Boethius’s Consolatio 1, pr. 4 and from the so-called Anonymus Valesianus that the cause of his downfall was his support of the senator Albinus who, according to the king’s informer Cyprian, was guilty of secret agreements with the Eastern emperor against Theodoric. The accusation was confirmed by three false witnesses Basil, Opilione and Gaudentius and aggravated by the charge, perhaps more serious, of magic. Boethius’s great friend and patron Symmachus also met the same fate a year later.
Condemned and exiled to Pavia in the muchdiscussed and disputed Ager Calventianus, he was put to death by Theodoric on a date that oscillates, according to scholars’ reconstructions, between 524 and 526. His bones rest in the crypt of the church of S. Pietro in Ciel d’oro at Pavia, where Boethius, following a decision of Leo XIII, is officially venerated as a saint.
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