Anna Komnene was a historian, intellectual, and daughter of Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I Komnenos. Dr. Leonora Neville joins the show to explore more about Anna’s life and writings. Professor Neville is John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Chair of Byzantine History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Some topics explored
- The Byzantine Empire during, and around, the time of her life
- Her upbringing and education, including what she studied
- General literacy levels in the empire in the 11th & 12th centuries
- Her authored history book, the Alexiad
- Anna’s assessment of her father in the Alexiad
- Potential ambitions that Anna had for writing the Alexiad
- Interpreting the lamentations that Anna made in the Alexiad
- Examining the allegation that she was involved in a coup against the empire
- Her father, Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos
- Her brother, Byzantine Emperor John I Komnenos
- Western Crusaders conquering Constantinople in 1204
- Anna’s husband Nikephorous Byrennios the Younger
- Nikephorous Byrennios’ own historical works
- The level of congeniality that Anna, and her husband Nikephorous, may have had
- Nikephorous Byrennios the Elder (Anna’s husband’s grandfather)
- The Crusades
- Examining the allegation that she was internally exiled to a monastery
- The influences of Anna’s writings, both during her life, and after
Listen to the episode
The episode can be streamed below and is also available on major podcast apps: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.
- Dr. Neville is the author of several books including the monograph, Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian (Oxford University Press)
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