The Consolation of Philosophy was written from a condemned cell around AD 524 by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius. The central theme of the book is the transitory nature of wealth and fame, a contemplation that would have been fresh in the author's mind as he awaited execution by Theodoric the Great, a viceroy of the late Roman Empire, under whom Boethius had risen to a position of power and influence.
The book is written in a mixture of prose and verse and takes the form of a conversation between Boethius and Lady Philosophy. The author is consoled by the realisation that happiness comes from within and that one's inner virtues are more durable and valuable than material wealth because they are not subject to the vagaries of fortune. Philosophy reminds him that "no man can truly be secure until he has been forsaken by fortune".