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"The Alexiad" was written around the year 1148 by Anna Comnena, daughter of Emperor Alexius I. Often considered the first major female historian, Anna Comnena studied philosophy and history extensively, subjects which lent themselves to her very thorough examination of the political and military history of the Byzantine Empire. This work offers insight into the reign of Anna's father (1081-1118), the inner workings of the court, first-hand accounts of the First Crusades, and the conflicting perceptions of eastern and western Christianity. The author's classical education is apparent in her elaborate and often exaggerated language, reminiscent of Homer's "Iliad", and she is not always successful in masking her own strong bias regarding the Latins and the hatred she felt for her brother John II Komnenos. Despite a few geographical and dating errors, "The Alexiad" remains the essential record of Constantinople and the medieval world.

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