Anna Comnena

Anna Comnena

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in the Porphyra Chamber, Great Palace of Constantinople, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
November 25, 1083

December 25, 1152



Thucydides, Polybius, Xenophon, Michael Psellus, Nikephoros Bryennios...more

About this author

The Byzantine historian Anna Komnene, Latinized as Comnena (December 1, 1083 – 1153) was the eldest child of the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina, and is considered the first female historian. From earliest childhood Anna was in daily contact with the leading figures of the Empire. Through her social position and own interest, she obtained an education in literature and philosophy given to few women in the Middle Ages.

Disappointed in her hopes to be named heir to her father instead of her brother John, and again by not having her husband Nikephoros Bryennios named as Emperor, Anna conspired with her mother against her brother to gain her husband the throne but ultimately failed after her husband's refusal to cooperate. After B...more

Average rating: 3.91 · 298 ratings · 15 reviews · 5 distinct works · Similar authors
The Alexiad of Anna Comnena
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 336 ratings — published 1148 — 16 editions
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The Alexiad
3.5 of 5 stars 3.50 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2008
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Anonyme Metaphrase Zu Anna ...
0.0 of 5 stars 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 1981
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The Alexiad Volume I [EasyR...
0.0 of 5 stars 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2007 — 2 editions
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The Alexiad Volume II [Easy...
0.0 of 5 stars 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2007
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More books by Anna Comnena…
“The stream of Time, irresistible, ever moving, carries off and bears away all things that come to birth and plunges them into utter darkness, both deeds of no account and deeds which are mighty and worthy of commemoration; as the playwright [Sophocles] says, it 'brings to light that which was unseen and shrouds from us that which was manifest.' Nevertheless, the science of History is a great bulwark against this stream of Time; in a way it checks this irresistible flood, it holds in a tight grasp whatever it can seize floating on the surface and will not allow it to slip away into the depths of Oblivion.

...I, having realized the effects wrought by Time, desire now by means of my writings to give an account of my father's deeds, which do not deserve to be consigned to Forgetfulness nor to be swept away on the flood of Time into an ocean of Non-Remembrance; I wish to recall everything....”
Anna Comnena, The Alexiad of Anna Comnena

“It is extraordinary that nobody nowadays under the stress of great troubles is turned into stone or a bird or a tree or some inanimate object; they used to undergo such metamorphoses in ancient times (or so they say), though whether that is myth or a true story I know not. Maybe it would be better to change one's nature into something that lacks all feeling, rather than be so sensitive to evil. Had that been possible, these calamities would in all probability have turned me to stone.”
Anna Comnena, The Alexiad of Anna Comnena

“Even now I cannot believe that I am still alive and writing this account of the emperor's death. I put my hands to my eyes, wondering if what I am relating here is not all a dream - or maybe it is not a dream: perhaps it is a delusion and I am mad, the victim of some extraordinary and monstrous hallucination. How comes it that when he is dead I am still numbered among the living?”
Anna Comnena, The Alexiad of Anna Comnena
tags: grief

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