ANNA KOMNENA ALEXIAD PDF

It is in effect the foundation document upon which all subsequent historians have relied for either the First Crusade or for the history of Byzantium. It must be understood that history for the pre-modern era is essentially literary criticism. The historian of the modern era bases his or her account on archival sources. The historian of antiquity or the middle ages a consults a handful of contemporary chronicles and then presents his or her interpretation. She is certainly as intelligent as any modern historian. Moreover, in the E.

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But, as they were a countless multitude, they could not stay in one place because of the scarcity of provisions, although they expected the Emperor to come with Isangeles in order that they might undertake the march to Nicaea in company with him.

Consequently they split into two parties, the one travelling to Nicaea through Bithynia and Nicomedia, and the other crossing the sea to Cibotus, and arriving at the same place. After approaching Nicaea by these routes they apportioned its towers and the intervening curtains among themselves, as they intended to carry on the assault on the walls by regular succession so that mutual competition should cause the siege to be conducted very vigorously. The portion that fell to Isangeles they left untouched whilst they waited for his coming.

At the same time the Emperor occupied Pelecanus because of his plans about Nima which I have already explained. The barbarians inside Nicaea had already frequently implored the Sultan to come to their aid. But, as he still delayed and the siege had by now been carried on for many days from dawn till sunset, and they saw that their affairs were in a very bad way, they decided after discussion that it would be better to surrender to the Emperor than be taken by the Franks.

To this intent they approached Butumites who had often promised them in various letters that they would be liberally rewarded by the Emperor if they delivered up Nicaea to him. Butumites had not been in Nicaea three days before Isangeles arrived and started to make an attempt on the walls with the siege-engines he had prepared. Directly the Turks heard it they regained courage and promptly expelled Butumites.

However the Sultan was not at all dispirited by this but armed himself at break of day and with his whole army occupied the plain outside Nicaea. And then a severe and terrible battle began. Throughout the whole day the fate of the balance swayed equally for both sides, but when the sun set the Turks were routed and night decided the battle. Many fell on either side and yet a greater number were wounded.

These things then the Latins did and devised. But the Sultan, after seeing their countless multitude and having gained experience of their invincible boldness from the battle itself, sent a message to the Turks inside Nicaea, saying "Act for the future in whatever way you think best.

Isangeles continuing the work he had begun, had a large circular wooden tower built, which he covered on either side with hides and with plaited wickerwork round the middle of it, and made very strong all round and then moved it up to the side of the tower called Gonates.

This tower obtained its name long ago when the famous Manuel father of the [] previous Emperor Isaac Cornnenus and his brother John, my paternal grandfather was appointed General-in-Chief of the whole Eastern army by the reigning Emperor Basil in order to compose his differences with Sclerus, either by engaging him in battle, or by using persuasion and inducing him to make peace.

But as Sclerus loved war and always delighted in bloodshed he chose war rather than peace; severe encounters took place daily, partly because Sclerus did not wish for peace, but also because he was striving hard to take Nicaea with the help of siege-engines. He effected a breach in the walls and, as the greater part of the foot of the tower had been cut away, it began to settle down and look as if it had fallen on to its knees, and from this circumstance it obtained its name.

Such then is the history of this tower Gonates. His idea was that while the one set fought with the defenders on the walls, the other set below would have leisure to undermine the tower. These men substituted logs for the stones they dug out, and, when they had worked their way through to the inner side of the wall and saw the light coming through from it, they set fire to the logs.

These were burnt to ashes and caused Gonates to lean forward still more so that it did not lose its name. II The Emperor, who had repeatedly and accurately thought out the matter, realized that it would be impossible for the Latins to take Nicaea, even if they had forces without number, so in the meanwhile he had various sorts of siege-engines built, and most of them not according to the usual designs of the mechanics but on other lines he had thought out himself - a thing which amazed people -and these he sent to the Counts.

As already stated, the Emperor had crossed the straits with the soldiers he had at hand, and was staying not far from Pelecanus near Mesampela, where a chapel had been built in former years to the memory of the great martyr George.

Not only for this reason, but also because he realized the unstable and faithless nature of these men who were easily swayed in opposite directions like the Euripus, and were often ready because of their covetousness to sell their wives and children for a penny-piece; for these reasons the Emperor held back from the enterprise at that time.

He felt that though he could not join the Franks, he ought to give them as much help as if he were with them. As he knew the great strength of the fortifications of Nicxa, he understood that the Latins could not possibly take it; then he heard that the Sultan was conveying sufficient troops and all the necessaries of life into the town quite easily by means of the adjacent lake, and so schemed to get possession of the lake. He had light boats built, such as that water would be able to carry, and then had them piled on wagons and carried to the lake on the side that looks Cius-wards.

In them he placed heavy armed soldiers with Manuel Buturnites as commander and gave them more standards then necessary to make them appear many times more than they were, as well as trumpets and kettle drums.

Such then were the measures the Emperor took about the lake. Then he summoned Taticius and the man called Tzitas from the continent and with two thousand brave peltasts sent them to Nicaea. His orders to them were that directly they disembarked they were to occupy the fort of St.

George and pack the load of arrows they carried on mules; dismount from their horses at some distance from the walls of Nicaea, march forward slowly and fix their palisades opposite the tower Gonates, and then by agreement with the Franks attack the walls in close formation. Therefore when Taticius arrived with his army he sent word to the Franks as the Emperor had commanded ; and after they had all put on full armour they attacked the walls with much shouting and noise.

He immediately sent a letter to Taticius saying, "We already have the prey in our hands; and you must now get ready to assault the walls. Persuade the Franks to prepare for this too but do not give them any further encouragement than to make an attack on the walls from all sides and tell them to encircle the walls and start the siege at sunrise. For the Emperor did not want the Franks to know anything of what Buturnites had done.

On the following day the war-cry was raised on both sides of the city and on the land-side the Franks started the assault with great vigour, and on the other Buturnites mounted to the battlements, fixed the imperial sceptres and standards along the walls and with bugles and trumpets acclaimed the Emperor.

And in this way the whole Roman army entered Nicaea. Now Buturnites having in mind the number of the Franks, feared on account of their fickleness and impetuosity, that they might enter and take possession of the citadel; for he observed that the Turkish satraps inside were powerful enough in comparison with the small force he had himself, to imprison and slaughter them all, if they wished to, and accordingly he at once took charge of the keys of the gate.

For only one had been used as entrance and exit for some time, the others were all closed through fear of the Franks outside. Now when he had the keys of this gate in his own possession, he decided that he ought to diminish the number of satraps by craft in order that he could easily overpower them and prevent their devising any treachery against him. So he summoned them and advised them to journey to the Emperor if they wished to receive large sums of money from his hands and be rewarded with [] high titles and granted annual pensions.

He persuaded the Turks, and then opened the gate at night and sent away a few from time to time over the lake to Rhodomerus and the semi-barbarian Monastras, who were staying near the fort named after St. He ordered these two to send on the Turks to the Emperor directly they disembarked and not to detain them even for a short time so that they might not join with the Turks who were sent on later in plotting some mischief against them.

For as long as the Turks who arrived were sent on to the Emperor quickly, they Monastras and Rhodomerus were quite safe and no danger threatened them, but when they had relaxed their diligence, then danger was prepared for them at the hands of the barbarians whom they had detained. For as these were now many in number they schemed to do one or other of two things, either to attack them by night and kill them, or to take them captive to t e Sultan. As the majority voted for the latter, they attacked them at night, took them captive according to plan and left that place.

And when they had reached the hill Azalas this place is. Now Monastras, being a semi-barbarian knew the Turkish language, and Rhodomerus who had once been captured by the Turks and dwelt some time among them, was likewise not ignorant of their language.

So they repeatedly started speaking plausibly to them and saying, "Why are you mixing the cup of death for us, when you yourselves will not gain the slightest advantage thereby? All your other friends have been granted bountiful gifts by the Emperor and have been assigned yearly pensions, and you are depriving yourselves of all these advantages. Do not, we pray you, treat yourselves thus and run headlong into visible peril, when it lies within your power to live free from peril and return to your own country pluming yourselves on your riches and perhaps even becoming owners of lands.

Very likely too we shall fall into some Roman ambuscade hereabouts," and they pointed to the streams and marshy places around, " and then you will be killed and lose your lives to no purpose. For undoubtedly a great many are lying in wait for you, not only Gauls and barbarians but also an immense number of Romans.

Therefore if you will follow our advice, let us turn our horses and journey all together to the Emperor. And we swear to [] you by God that the Emperor will grant you ten thousand gifts and afterwards, whenever you please, you will be at liberty to leave, like free men.

When they reached Pelecanus and the Emperor saw them, he received them all with a cheerful countenance, though inwardly deeply indignant with Rhodomerus and Monastras, but for the moment he sent them away to rest.

In the course of the following day all the Turks who expressed readiness to remain in his service, were granted innumerable benefits; and even those who asked to return to their homes received no inconsiderable presents and were allowed to follow their own will.

Later on he censured Rhodomerus and Monastras severely for their thoughtlessness; but, when he noticed that they did not dare to look him in the face for shame, he changed his tone and tried to conciliate them again. So much then about Rhodomerus and Monastras. Butumites was appointed Duke of Nima by the Emperor, and the Franks asked him for permission to enter the city and visit and worship in its churches.

However he, knowing their character, as I have said before, did not allow them all to come in a body, but opened the gates and only allowed ten Franks to enter at a time.

III The Emperor was still staying at Pelecanus and as he wished that those Counts who had not yet sworn fealty to him, should also take this oath, he commanded Butumites by letter to advise all the Counts together not to start on their way to Antioch before they took leave of the Emperor, for if they did so, it might be that they would receive still furthergifts.

When they reached Pelecanus, the Emperor received them with great ceremony, and treated them with much consideration; later he called them and said, " You remember the oath you all took to me, and if you are not going to be transgressors of it, advise those who you know have not yet sworn fealty to me, to take the same oath.

Whereat Tancred, who was very hasty, rushed at him and the Emperor observing it rose from his throne and stood between them. When they had all taken leave of the Emperor, he assigned them Taticius, who was then Great Primicerius, and the troops under his command, partly to assist them on every occasion and to avert danger and partly to take over the towns from them if God allowed them to take any. So the Franks once again crossed the straits the next day, and all took the road leading to Antioch.

Ile Emperor guessed that not all the men would necessarily depart with the Counts and accordingly signified to Butumites to hire all the Franks, who remained behind when their army left, for the garrison of Nicaea.

And Taticius with his army and all the Counts and the innumerable Frankish hosts under their command, reached Leucae in two days. The vanguard was apportioned to Bohemund at his own request whilst the rest drawn up in line followed him at a slow pace.

As he proceeded fairly quickly the Turks in the plains of Dorylaeum thought, when they saw him, that the whole army of the Franks had come and despising its size at once commenced a battle with him. As Bohemund saw that the Turks were fighting very bravely, he sent to fetch the [] Frankish troops. They came up with all speed, and after that a serious and terrible battle took place. And the Roman and Frankish armies carried off the victory.

As they travelled onwards, drawn up in troops, the Sultan Tanisman and Asan, who alone commanded eighty thousand armed men, met them near Hebraica. This so terrified the Turks that it made them turn their backs. After that the barbarian power collapsed; the survivors dispersed, one here, one there, leaving their wives and children behind them, as for the future they did not dare meet the Latins face to face, but tried to find safety for themselves in flight.

IV What happened next? The Latins in company with the Roman army reached Antioch by the so-called Oxys Dromos and paid no attention to the country on either side but drew their lines close to the walls, deposited their baggage and proceeded to besiege this city during three revolutions of the moon.

The Turks alarmed at the straits which had overtaken them, sent word to the Sultan of Chorosan begging him to send sufficient troops to their assistance, in order to succour the Antiochians themselves, and also to drive off the Latins who were besieging them from outside.

Now there happened to be an Armenian on the tower above guarding the portion of the wall assigned to Bohemund. As he often bent over from above Bohemund plied him with honeyed words, tempted him with many promises and thus persuaded him to betray the city to him.

The Armenian said to him, " Whenever you like and as soon as you give me a signal from outside, I will at once hand over this tower to you. Only be quite ready yourself and have all the people with you ready too and equipped with ladders. And not only you yourself must be ready but the whole army must be under arms so that directly the Turks see you after you have come up and hear your war-cry, they will be terrified and turn in flight.

And this arrangement [] Bohemund kept secret. While these matters were in contemplation, a messenger came saying that an immense crowd of Hagarenes sent from Chorosan against them was close at hand, under the conduct of the man called Curpagan.

Accordingly he went to him and said, "I want to reveal a secret to you, as I am concerned for your safety. A report which has reached the ears of the Counts has much disturbed their minds-it is, that the Emperor has persuaded the Sultan to send these men from Chorosan against us. As the Counts firmly believe this they are plotting against your life. And now, I have done my duty by warning you beforehand of the danger that threatens you.

And the rest is your concern, to take measures for your own safety, and that of the troops under you. But what toil has not procured, words have often effected, and the greatest trophies have been erected by friendly and propitiatory intercourse. Let us therefore not spend our time here uselessly, but endeavour to accomplish something sensible and courageous for our own safety before Curpagan arrives. Let each one of us studiously try to win over the barbarian who guards our respective section.

And if you like, let there be set as prize for the one who first succeeds in this work, the sovereignty of this city until such time as the man who is to take it over from us arrives from the Emperor.

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Anna Komnena ve Alexiad!..

The Alexiad is a history of the ruler of Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnena who presided over what is often referred to as the Comnenian Restoration in the late 11th and early 12th centuries. The book is composed of a preface of fifteen minor books. There is no one plot, but many, so listing the main events in each book is appropriate. In the preface, Anna introduces herself and explains her rationale for writing the book. She defends her ability to be impartial.

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The Alexiad of Anna Comnena Summary & Study Guide

She noted this status in the Alexiad, stating that that she was " born and bred in the purple. In his oration he said that she had to read ancient poetry, such as the Odyssey , in secret because her parents disapproved of its dealing with polytheism and other "dangerous exploits," which were considered "dangerous" for men and "excessively insidious" for women. Tornikes went on to say that Anna "braced the weakness of her soul" and studied the poetry "taking care not to be detected by her parents. Her father placed her in charge of a large hospital and orphanage that he built for her to administer in Constantinople.

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The Alexiad

The translation used is that of dition used is that of Elizabeth A. Dawes, published in London in Note that there is a later translation by E. Sewter, published by Penguin. The text here is presented as either one complete file, or in "book" length files.

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