Anna Komnene

Byzantine historian

Anna Komnene (sometimes spelled Comnena; Greek: Άννα Κομνηνή, Anna Komnēnē) was a Greek princess, scholar and doctor. She was the eldest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium and Irene Doukaina.[1]

Komnene was born in Constantinople on 2 December 1083. She was originally engaged to Constantine Ducas, heir to the throne. Unfortunately he died at a young age and Anna married Nicephorus Bryennius in 1097 AD. Anna wanted her husband to inherit the throne. Even when her father was dying she tried to persuade him to make her husband heir.

Anna's brother, John II Komnenos, took the throne in 1188. Anna then tried to remove her brother from the throne, and her husband refused to help her. Anna was caught. She then gave up her property and retired to a convent. While she lived there, Anna wrote her book, The Alexiad. This is about the Byzantine Empire. The 15 books of The Alexiad were written in Greek. Her book is still important because Anna had access to the royal archives and had an inside view of politics.

Anna spent a large part of her life in a convent, but she did not become a nun until shortly before she died. She died in 1153 or 1154 AD.[2]


  1. Alexander Kazhdan, 'Komnene, Anna', in The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium ed. A. Kazhdan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)
  2. McLoughlin, Nancy. "Anna Comnena." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.