Connecting Byzantine history

Today I received The Alexiad by Anna Komnene, which was completed around the year 1148. It is my third historical book about the Byzantine Empire and like the other ones written by a contemporary. What I like mostly is that the three books almost fit together in the time periods they describe. The first one, The History by Leo the Deacon, covers the period 963-976, the second, Fourteen Byzantine Rulers by Michael Psellus, covering the period 976-1078, while The Alexiad covers the period 1081-1118. I am already reading Fourteen Byzantine Rulers, but history does not always require to read things in order. Either way, as far as I know, there are no other histories (easily) available about other periods of the Byzantine Empire. The only I know is by Procopius, describing the events in the sixth century when Justinianus I ruled, but I haven’t found an acceptable version yet that I would want to buy.

My version of The Alexiad is the Dutch translation. As the other two books are in English, naming conventions will be a bit different, but the publication of these classic works in the Netherlands is of very high quality and often available in hardcover. I like them much more than the English publications, which often seem to be cheap reprints of old publications, so if I can get them I prefer to do so, even if these publications are usually quite more expensive.

The author of The Alexiad, Anna Komnene, is the one of the first female historians. The book she has written is also a biography. It is even more special as she wrote about the reign of her father, the emperor Alexios I, making her an Imperial Princess. She was thus really in the middle of the events and had access to a lot of intimite information. More information can be found on Wikipedia. No need to go into that many details. In many ways thus, this is a classic book.

2 Responses to “Connecting Byzantine history”

  1. I trust you would not mind if I placed a part of this site on my univeristy blog?

  2. Essord says:

    Feel free to do so, as long as you add a reference.

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