Download e-book for iPad: Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian by Leonora Neville

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 heritage of her father Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) that could 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 through asking why ladies didn't write background in Anna's society, what cultural ideas Anna broke by way of 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 by means of her efforts to be perceived as either a very good historian and a very good lady. those new interpretations of Anna's authorial character then spark an intensive re-thinking of the normal tale which defines Anna's lifestyles via the failure of her intended political objectives. the second one 1/2 this paintings experiences the medieval assets with clean eyes and re-establishes Anna's basic id 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

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Yet how could she let her audience know that she had participated in these immodest, even transgressive, behaviors and still maintain a reputation as a woman of high moral character? If she was entirely humble in her writing, no one in her audience would believe that she had the access to the information, the training, and the judgment to write history. The more she worked to prove her skills and capacity for accurate history writing, the more she opened herself up to accusations of arrogance and lack of humility.

She may have learned this role from the Psalms, or liturgical hymns, or other women in legal contexts, or other moments in the life of her community. When elsewhere in the course of her transaction Eudokia declared that her free will was not compromised by being a simple woman, she was expressing herself through a different model, that of the manly, reasonable woman. In both cases she was aligning her behavior with ideal models and simultaneously using those models to express herself. The formation and expression of character through modeling on ideal types greatly empowered authors of texts, because they presented most of the models for emulation.

The description of her study of Greek language, rhetoric, philosophy, and mathematics lays claim to a highly elite and unusual educational background. As described, Anna’s education goes far beyond the normal study of classical rhetoric. Anna was educated not only in classical Greek language and rhetoric that would allow her to understand classical texts, but in the philosophical discourses that use that language for substantive discussions of significant moral import. 10 Yet it had not become a normal part of the Byzantine educational curriculum.

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