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 background of her father Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) that could be a key historic 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 heritage 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. a number of the idiosyncrasies and surprises of Anna's Alexiad are pushed through her efforts to be perceived as either an outstanding historian and an exceptional lady. those new interpretations of Anna's authorial personality then spark an intensive re-thinking of the traditional tale which defines Anna's lifestyles via the failure of her meant political goals. the second one half this paintings studies the medieval resources 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 info for Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian
The allusion signals that the authors Anna explicitly says she has read, Aristotle, Plato, and Pythagoras, are not the sum of her ancient learning; the Tragedian goes without saying. Anna further asserts her ability to write history by following the major conventions of a historical prologue. ”15 By including most of the standard elements, she displayed her knowledge of the genre. Her one notable omission was of any claim that she would write in a simple and unadorned style. This standard expression of authorial humility was problematic, I believe, because Anna needed to strongly argue for her unexpected rhetorical skills.
Also like Eudokia, Glykeria was not actually without resources. Glykeria had the social status to assemble a group of prominent landowners from surrounding islands and a high official from one of the empire’s greatest monasteries, the ecclesiarch of the Great Lavra of Mt. Athos, to witness her new deed. 32 They were able to get away with it, with the backing of their surrounding communities, by enacting a behavior that required the men in those communities to support and protect them. Their performances of weakness appear to have elicited the performance of supportive behavior from men, which in turn permitted the women to achieve their desired goals.
16 The ideal that women should remain in the domestic sphere had lasting strength because it was connected to deep structures of authority within medieval Byzantine culture. The system of gender just described was a matter of pervasive ideology within Byzantine culture. The existence of that ideology does not mean that women were in fact always disempowered, passive, and subordinate to men. Yet women seem to have wielded authority more by upholding than disputing 18 A Good Historian and a Good Woman the dominant gender ideas of their culture.