The New International Encyclopædia/Anna Comnena

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ANNA COMNE'NA (1083-1148?). Author of one of the most valuable works in the collection of the Byzantine Historians. She was the daughter of the Emperor Alexius I. (Comnenus), and was born on December 1, 1083. She received the best education that Constantinople could give, and was betrothed to the son of Michael VII. After the death of her fiancé, she married Nicephorus Briennius. During the last illness of her father, she entered into a scheme, which her mother, the Empress Irene, also favored, to induce him to disinherit his eldest surviving son, John, and to bestow the diadem on her husband. As a punishment, Anna, with her mother, was shut up in a convent, where she remained until the death of her brother in 1143. The date of her death is unknown, but she was still at work on her history in 1148. She entitled this work the Alexiad. The first two books treat of the history of the Empire from the time of Isaac Comnenus; the remaining thirteen books are devoted to the reign of Alexius. Chronologically, Anna is sometimes at fault, and she omits purposely many events; but as a whole her work has great merit. The best edition is that of Schopen and Reifferscheid, 2 volumes (Bonn, 1839-78). Consult: Chalandon, Règne d'Alexis I. (Paris, 1900); and Oster, Anna Komnena (Rastatt, 1868-71).