In this article, the authors analyze the history of 12th-century Byzantine intellectual Anna Comnena with attention to the use of rhetoric in her life and work. By analyzing the fragmentary historical record about Anna, they revise earlier readings of her relation to power, shifting critical scrutiny from a psychological perspective on Anna as an emotional and disappointed woman to her rhetorical performance and choices as a historiographer. By studying her strategies of self-presentation and use of figured discourse, they locate Anna as a participant in world-changing events: a writer who communicates the losses and pain experienced by those living in violent and politically volatile times.

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