Boethius (c. 480-c. 525) was a Christian philosopher and author of many translations and works of philosophy, most famously the Consolations of Philosophy which were probably written when he was under house arrest, having been accused of treason by King Theoderic the Great. He was subsequently executed. On Interpretation is the second part of the Organ, as Aristotle's collected works on logic are kwn; it deals comprehensively and systematically with the relationship between logic and language. In his first six chapters, Aristotle defines name, verb, sentence, statement, affirmation and negation. Boethius preserves lost interpretations by two of the greatest earlier interpreters, Alexander and Porphyry, and the defence of the work's authenticity against criticism. He records the idea of Porphyry that Aristotelians believe in three types of name and verb, written, spoken and mental, in other words a language of the mind. Boethius' commentary formed part of his project to bring kwledge of Plato and Aristotle to the Latin-speaking world. It had great influence, remaining the standard introduction to On Interpretation throughout the Latin Middle Ages.
Andrew Smith is Professor of Classics, University College Dublin, Ireland.