New PDF release: Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian
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 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 via asking why ladies didn't write historical past 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. the various idiosyncrasies and surprises of Anna's Alexiad are pushed by way of her efforts to be perceived as either an exceptional historian and a great lady. those new interpretations of Anna's authorial character then spark a radical re-thinking of the normal tale which defines Anna's lifestyles by means of the failure of her meant political objectives. the second one half this paintings reports 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
23 remain exclusively within the private, domestic sphere. 47 Although this cultural theory did not entirely correspond to reality, it did have strong impact on how women and men conceived of their proper roles. The strong focus on men’s public actions as the core subject of history is a sufficient explanation for the scarcity of female Greek historians. The connection between an active political and military life, and the ability to write a reliable history, made the historical genre particularly ill-suited to female participation in a culture that prized the seclusion of women.
17 Virtuous women, on the other hand, employed extreme modesty, which helped uphold the natural order by enabling men to control their passions. Modest women helped men maintain their self-control by policing their own bodies and deportment. Women’s speech could be an entry point for seduction, and hence virtuous women were described as carefully controlling their speech, as well as the gaze of their eyes and their bodily movements. 8 Women’s attention to demure and modest deportment was seen as protecting their own virtue, but also functioned to support masculine self-control.
Anna’s opening sentence both signals her adherence to the conventions of history and hints at how her project disrupts them. ”5 Qualified, and Modest about It 33 As a complaint against time, this is an entirely conventional sentiment within medieval historical prologues. Yet she incorporates into this convention a reference to Sophocles—the Tragedian—which hints that her history will not fit into conventional patterns of historical writing or gender. Anna quotes the first line of a speech by Ajax, in which he tells the chorus and his concubine, Tecmessa, that her arguments in favor of reconciliation with his enemies have persuaded him.
Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian by Leonora Neville