Today's Memory

Self-Rescuing Princess Society‘s Today’s Memory

Self-Rescuing Princess Society‘s Today’s Memory

Self-Rescuing Princess Society‘s Today’s Memory

Anna Komnena’s birthday

Originally shared by Self-Rescuing Princess Society

Anna Komnene (1 December 1083 – 1153)

Anna Komnene was a Greek princess, scholar, physician, hospital administrator, and the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium and Irene Doukaina. She wrote the Alexiad, an account of her father’s reign, which is unique in that it was written by a princess about her father.

Anna writes at the beginning of the Alexiad about her education, highlighting her experience with literature, Greek language, rhetoric, and sciences. Tutors trained her in subjects that included astronomy, medicine, history, military affairs, geography, and math. Anna proved to be capable not only on an intellectual level but also in practical matters. Her father placed her in charge of a large hospital and orphanage that he built for her to administer in Constantinople. The hospital was said to hold beds for 10,000 patients and orphans. Anna taught medicine at the hospital, as well as at other hospitals and orphanages. She was considered an expert on gout. Anna treated her father during his final illness.

After her father’s death, there was strife between Anna and her younger brother, who was destined for the throne. Anna was upset that she could not inherit and is suspected of plotting with her husband to have him killed. But when her first plot failed, her husband refused to try again. After her husband’s death, she went to live in the monastery founded by her mother.There, Anna dedicated her time to studying philosophy and history. She held esteemed intellectual gatherings, including those dedicated to Aristotelian studies. Anna’s intellectual genius and breadth of knowledge is evident in her few works. Among other things, she was conversant with philosophy, literature, grammar, theology, astronomy, and medicine. It can be assumed because of minor errors that she may have quoted Homer and the Bible from memory when writing her most celebrated work, the Alexiad. Her contemporaries, like the metropolitan Bishop of Ephesus, Georgios Tornikes, regarded Anna as a person who had reached „the highest summit of wisdom, both secular and divine.”

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