By Leonora Neville
Byzantine princess Anna Komnene is understood for 2 issues: plotting to homicide her brother to usurp the throne, and writing the Alexiad, an epic historical past of her father Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) that may be a key old resource for the period of the 1st Crusade. Anna Komnene: the existence and Work of a Medieval Historian investigates the connection among Anna's self-presentation within the Alexiad and the tale of her bloodthirsty ambition. It starts via asking why ladies didn't write historical past in Anna's society, what cultural ideas Anna broke via doing so, and the way Anna attempted to answer these demanding situations in her writing. some of the idiosyncrasies and surprises of Anna's Alexiad are pushed through her efforts to be perceived as either a very good historian and a superb girl. those new interpretations of Anna's authorial personality then spark a radical re-thinking of the traditional tale which defines Anna's lifestyles via the failure of her meant political objectives. the second one 1/2 this paintings reports the medieval assets with clean eyes and re-establishes Anna's basic identification as an writer and highbrow instead of as a failed conspirator.
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Additional resources for Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian
Yet she incorporates into this convention a reference to Sophocles—the Tragedian—which hints that her history will not fit into conventional patterns of historical writing or gender. Anna quotes the first line of a speech by Ajax, in which he tells the chorus and his concubine, Tecmessa, that her arguments in favor of reconciliation with his enemies have persuaded him. While Anna makes Sophocles’s words fit her description of the destructive effects of time, Ajax’s topic is not time so much as the vagaries of human events: All things the long and countless years first draw from darkness, and then bury from light; and there is nothing which man should not expect: the dread power of oath is conquered, as is unyielding will.
Ancient and medieval Greek history writing focused on the deeds of men in war and politics because the primary purposes of history were to preserve the memory of great deeds from oblivion and to provide models of action for emulation. The topics covered in histories were wars, the causes of wars, the conduct of men in war, and the deliberations of men about war and politics. History sometimes included excurses on ethnography, geography, or other digressions. But the fields of social history, economic history, women’s history, cultural history, literary history, and others would have been simply confusing to authors of ancient and medieval Greek history.
31 Grace spread throughout his limbs and his appearance was not only worthy of royalty, as they say, but better and even divine. For my part, I have been conversant with terrible things since my birth in the purple as they say, and I have been assailed by ill fortunes, if one could reckon it not good and smiling fortune for me to be so born and a child of emperors and produced in the purple room. The rest full of waves! Full of turmoil! Orpheus moved stones and wood and even inanimate nature simply with his singing; Timotheos the flutist once playing the martial tune to Alexander and immediately moved the Macedonian to weapons and the sword.
Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian by Leonora Neville