Anna trying to defend her role as a historian, and lamenting about how unfortunate she was, allow her to give a reflection of herself as an admirable historian and dutiful daughter. Sewter revised the edition of The Alexiad, places within the tradition of the Byzantine Historiography, to effectively demonstrate her emulation of her predecessors, subjects and here 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 personality through intrusions. In this paper we will effectively show that, Anna 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 that “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 records down the reign of her father to ensure that, its memories will 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). The author consistently includes these remarks through her test. Even though these digressions do not seem to advance the thesis statement, the use of 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 defense of her role as a historian is evident in the whole narrative. She introduces what becomes prevalent on the Alexiad; she enters the narrative as a reliable historian by commenting on various 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 potential charge that could arise due...