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The Alexiad: On the Crusades by Anna Comnena - Essay Example

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The paper “The Alexiad: On the Crusades by Anna Comnena” describes the coming of the first crusaders. Anna Comnena writes about Alexius the king and the state of his mind at the time of the Frankish invasion. The writing style is not entirely unbiased…
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The Alexiad: On the Crusades by Anna Comnena
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Anna Comnena – The Alexiad 10:5 The first excerpt from The Alexiad: On the Crusades (10:5) by Anna Comnena describes the coming of the first crusaders. She writes about Alexius the king and the state of his mind at the time of the Frankish invasion. The writing style is not entirely unbiased as the historian writes statements like the Franks’ proclivity towards violence; their ‘savage fury’ and ‘fickleness’ are also mentioned. As Comnena sees the event from the perspective of Alexius, her description of the imminent battle is also colored in the same terms – she even calls him ‘our Emperor’. But apart from this obvious side-taking, Anna Comnena’s style is detailed and highly informative. She gives numbers of soldiers and knights, exact names of straits and races, and other details of the battle that help to make the event come to life. The extract is also very clearly Christian in its outlook as is obvious from the mention of the pilgrimage of Peter and his adoration of the Holy Sepulcher and the distaste with which the Turks and Saracens are mentioned. The extract is also made colorful by the writer’s liberal use of adjectives. She calls the Gauls ‘passionate and impetuous’, the Franks ‘immoderately covetous’ and so on. While this does not pass for historical impartiality, it gives an insight into the perceptions of Greek scholar and perhaps most of the Christian world. This point of view is helpful in analyzing the general social relations between warring groups of people and how they saw each other. Later historians can bring their own detached and rational approach to this kind of hagiography and sift through the bias to get at the larger truths of interpersonal histories that would otherwise stay hidden in a more unbiased or scientific mode of writing. The author is clearly attempting to write a history in Christian terms and is quite successful in doing so. Read More
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