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 ancient 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 off via asking why ladies didn't write background in Anna's society, what cultural ideas Anna broke via doing so, and the way Anna attempted to reply to 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 superb historian and an excellent girl. those new interpretations of Anna's authorial character then spark an intensive re-thinking of the normal tale which defines Anna's existence through the failure of her meant political pursuits. the second one half this paintings experiences the medieval assets with clean eyes and re-establishes Anna's fundamental 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
28 Unsurprisingly he chose to authorize the sale of her land. However much wealth and social status Eudokia indeed had, by presenting herself as a poor woman in need of help, she constrained the governor to help her. Her agency in making her sale was enabled by her performance of an exaggerated form of female weakness. 29 Another example of a woman getting men to help her by performing female helplessness occurred on the island of Skyros in the early eleventh century. There, Glykeria appealed to cultural conceptions of female weakness in order to overturn her sworn act in which she had previously donated her property and her church to her bishop.
Anna displays her understanding of the central task of history as being an unbiased, truthful appraisal of human character: For when one takes up the moral character of history, it is necessary to forget good will and hatred. One must frequently deck enemies with the greatest praise, when their deeds demand this, but also frequently castigate blood relatives, when the failings of the pursuits indicate. 21 Her claim to impartiality fits within the Byzantine historical tradition of claiming to display only the truth without regard to favor.
44 History writing is therefore tremendously self-aggrandizing in that the historian claims the ability, not only to organize information about the past, but to tell the audience what to think about it. 45 In those histories with explicitly didactic intent, the historian tells the young whom they should admire and emulate, and whose behaviors they should avoid. The historian sets himself up as arbiter of morality and character, as well as success and failure. 46 How would this conception of history interact with Byzantine conceptions of gender?
Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian by Leonora Neville