The Alexiad (Penguin Classics)
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A revised edition of a medieval masterpiece-the first narrative history written by a woman
Written between 1143 and 1153 by the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, The Alexiad is one of the most popular and revealing primary sources in the vast canon of medieval literature. Princess Anna Komnene, eldest child of the imperial couple, reveals the inner workings of the court, profiles its many extraordinary personages, and offers a firsthand account of immensely significant events such as the First Crusade, as well as its impact on the relationship between eastern and western Christianity. A celebrated triumph of Byzantine letters, this is an unparalleled view of the glorious Constantinople and the medieval world.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
(pointing at Adrian). The emperor, a mild and gentle man, made no reply whatever to this, for he knew a better way to check his brother’s seething rage. Both of them sat down together with Nicephorus Melissenus and certain other close relatives, and had a private conversation about the charges brought against John. When Isaac saw Melissenus and his own brother Adrian attacking his son in a sly, affected way, he was once again unable to restrain his bubbling wrath. Fixing his baleful gaze on
his own charger. But Kamytzes, who was a large, heavy man found it difficult to mount and instead withdrew a little and stood with his back to an oak-tree. With drawn sword (he had given up all hope of saving his life) he struck at any barbarian who dared to attack him, hitting out at helmets, shoulders or even hands. He would not give in. This went on for a long time and many Turks were killed or wounded, so that they were astonished at his bravery. In admiration for his tenacity they decided to
rank, he looked upon his victory as nothing; for him it was merely a Cadmean success19 – not a gain, but a loss. He now personally appointed military governors of the area, George Lebounes and certain others, and left them there with his soldiers while he returned with the laurels of victory to Constantinople. Kamytzes reached Damalis and boarded a small boat about the mid-watch of the night. Since he knew that the empress was in the upper part of the palace, he went there and knocked on the gate
won. As for Alexius, he stood like some unshakeable tower attacked from right and left, sometimes charging on horseback against the advancing Kelts and when he closed with a group of them, striking, killing and being struck; sometimes rallying the runaways with frequent cries. But when he saw his regiments broken up and scattered, he realized that he must secure his own safety, not to preserve his own life nor overwhelmed by fear, as someone might suggest, but in the hope that by avoiding the
appropriate pension. The patriarch, too, received the title of hypertimos, also with the corresponding pension. Apart from that, all the churches in Venice were allotted an annual payment of gold – a considerable sum – from the imperial treasury on the emperor’s orders. To the church of St Mark the Apostle and Evangelist13 all the Amalfitani 14 who had workshops in Constantinople were to pay tribute, and he made a present to it of the workshops from the ancient quay of the Hebrews as far as the