Anna Comnena

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Anna Comnena

(än`nə kŏmnē`nə), b. 1083, d. after 1148, Byzantine princess and historian; daughter of Emperor Alexius I. She plotted, during and after her father's reign, against her brother, John IIJohn II
(John Comnenus) , 1088–1143, Byzantine emperor (1118–43), son and successor of Alexius I. He was crowned despite the intrigues of his sister, Anna Comnena, and of his mother, Irene.
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, in favor of her husband, Nicephorus Bryennius, whom she wished to rule as emperor. Having failed, she retired to a convent. There she wrote the Alexiad (finished in 1148), one of the outstanding Greek historical works of the Middle Ages. Covering the reign of Alexius I and the First Crusade, it tends to glorify her father and his family; however, Anna's familiarity with public affairs and her access to the imperial archives give her work great value. There is an English translation by E. R. Sewter (1979).


See biography by G. Buckler (1929).

References in periodicals archive ?
Herrin, who is the author of a recent book on Byzantine empresses, includes a persuasive portrait of Anna Komnene as writer, princess, and political actor, and emphasizes women's roles throughout the work.