Anna Comnena (1083-1153) wrote The Alexiad as an account of the reign of her father, the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. It is also an important source of information on the Byzantine war with the Normans, and on the First Crusade in which Alexius participated. While the Byzantines were allied to the Crusaders, they were nonetheless critical of their behaviour and Anna's book offers a startlingly different perspective to that of Western historians. Her character sketches are shrewd and forthright - from the Norman invader Robert Guiscard ('nourished by manifold evil') and his son Bohemond ('like a streaking thunderbolt') to Pope Gregory VII ('unworthy of a high priest'). The Alexiad is a vivid and dramatic narrative, which reveals as much about the character of its intelligent and dynamic author as it does about the fascinating period through which she lived.
Anna Comnena (1083 - 1153) was the eldest child of the Emperor Alexius I. She obtained an education in literature and philosophy due to her position. After a broken engagement to the heir to the throne, Anna was involved in an attempt to assasinate her brother, who had become King. She was exiled to a convent, where she wrote the Alexiad. E.R.A. Sewter was a well-known Byzantine scholar.