Anna Comnena

Anna Comnena (änˈnə kŏmnēˈnə) [key], 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 II, 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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