Anna's intrusions, defending her role as a historian and lamenting about how unfortunate she was, creates an image of herself as an admirable historian and dutiful daughter. Sewter's revised edition of The Alexiad places Anna within the tradition of the Byzantine Historiography to demonstrate effectively her emulation of her predecessors, subjects and her innovations. This draws from a cultural, intellectual development, which arose during the period referred to as the Byzantine humanism (Comnena 1). Anna effectively incorporates concepts, which help to create her character through intrusions. In this paper, I will effectively show that Anna's intimate relations with her subjects, make her more reliable than any other Byzantine historian source.
In the preface to The Alexiad, Anna Comnena shows the purpose of undertaking the history of her father. She says "the tale of history forms a very strong bulwark against the stream of time…As many as history has taken over; it abides together" (Comnena 1). This statement clearly shows the importance of history writing. It also shows the particular rationale that motivated Anna to write the Alexiad. She argues that, the events of the past will in many times be lost: they should be preserved for future reference by diligent historians (Dalven 2). Anna puts into records the reign of her father to ensure that its memories survive. This explicitly stated intent, gives her recorded material credibility as compared to other historians. Her intimate relationship with the recorded subjects, for example, her mother and father; make her work serve a greater and more personal goal that any other Byzantine historian (Peterson 23). In addition to explicitly asserting her reason to preserve her father's legacy, Anna clarifies a common thread that runs throughout her narrative; maintaining an authoritative personality to express her emotions.
Anna exclaims that "having written so far, dizziness overwhelms my soul, and tears blind my eyes," she continues by saying that "Now I will wipe away my tears and recover myself from sorrow and continue my task" (Comnena 2). Anna consistently includes these remarks through her test. Even though these digressions do not seem to advance the thesis statement, the use of the first person intrusion into Anna's narrative shows her consistency in the whole narrative. These facts add to her reliability as a credible historical source which is more reliable than other Byzantine recordings.
Anna's defense of her role as a historian is evident in the whole narrative. She introduces what becomes prevalent in the Alexiad; she enters the narrative as a reliable historian by commenting on different events and people. Her closeness to her subjects enables her to continuously justify her choices and actions (Hill 4). For this reason, readers are able to recognize how serious Anna was in writing the Alexiad.
Anna is primarily concerned about the possible charge that could arise from people thinking...