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A revised edition of a medieval masterpiece—the first narrative history written by a woman
Written between 1143 and 1153 by the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, The Alexiad is one of the most popular and revealing primary sources in the vast canon of medieval literature. Princess Anna Komnene, eldest child of the imperial couple, reveals the inner workings of the court, profiles its many extraordinary personages, and offers a firsthand account of immensely significant events such as the First Crusade, as well as its impact on the relationship between eastern and western Christianity. A celebrated triumph of Byzantine letters, this is an unparalleled view of the glorious Constantinople and the medieval world.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Anna Komnene (1083–1153) was the oldest child of the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos. She was engaged as a young girl to Constantine Doukas, son of the deposed Emperor Michael VII Douglas, but for reasons which are unclear, the marriage did not take place, and she instead married Nikephorous Bryennios, a member of a prominent aristocratic family from the western part of the empire. Both Anna and her husband became increasingly visible at Alexios' court in the latter part of his reign, and on his death, actively considered taking the throne at the expense of her younger brother, John II Komnenos. Anna suffered internal exile as a result in a lavishly endowed convent.
E. R. A. Sewter (translator; 1907–1976) was a well-known Byzantine scholar and the editor of Greece and Rome.
Peter Frankopan (editor/introducer) is the New York Times bestselling author of The Silk Roads, The New Silk Roads, and The First Crusade. He lives in Oxford, England, where he is a professor of global history at Oxford University.