Byzantine historian and daughter of the emperor Anna Comnena.

Anna Comnena

(1083 - c. 1153)

Born the eldest child of Byzantine emperor Alexius I in 1083, Anna Comnena married the soldier and statesman Nicephorus Bryennius in 1097 and attempted to depose her brother after he ascended the throne in 1118. Her failure to do so obliged her to forfeit her property, and she retreated to a nunnery, where she wrote her work of history, The Alexiad, over a period of more than ten years. The book spans her father’s rule during the First Crusade.

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During a battle with Scythians in Macedonia on April 29, 1091, Byzantine emperor Alex­ius I Comnenus noted the midday sun “shedding its rays,” reported his daughter Anna Comnena in the Alexiad. He dispatched local peasants to bring water in skins or jars to his troops, who “sipped a drop of water, then returned to the fray.” The newly hydrated Byzantines wiped out their enemies, and a chant began: “All because of one day the Scythians never saw May.”

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