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On this page: Anna – Anna Comnena – Anna Perenna

ANNA COMNENA.

Conon, Narrat. 41.) Anius had by Dryope three daughters, Oeno, Spermo, and Elais, to whom Dionysus gave the power of producing at will any quantity of wine, corn, and oil,—whence they were called Oenotropae. When the Greeks on their expedition to Troy landed in Delos, Anius endeav­ oured to persuade them to stay with him for nine years, as it was decreed by fate that they should not take Troy until the tenth year, and he promised with the help of his three daughters to supply them with all they wanted during that period. (Pherecyd. ap. Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 569 ; Ov. Met. xiii. b'23, &c.; comp. Dictys Cret. i. 23.) After the fall of Troy, when Aeneas arrived in Delos, he was kindly received by Anius (Ov. I. c.; Virg. Aen. iii. 80, with Servius), and a Greek tradition stated that Aeneas married a daughter of Anius, of the name of Lavinia, who was, like her father, endowed with prophetic powers, followed Aeneas to Italy, and died at Lavinium. (Dionys. Hal. i. 59 ; Aurel. Vict. De Orig. Gent. Rom. 9 ; comp. Hartung, Die Relig. d. Rom. i. p. 87.) Two other mythical per­ sonages, one a son of Aeneas by Lavinia, and the other a king of Etruria, from whom the river Anio derived its name, occur in Serv. ad Aen. iii. 80, and Pint. Parallel. 40. [L. S.]

ANNA. [anna perenna.]

ANNA COMNENA ("Awa Kopviiva), the daughter of Alexis I. Comnenus, and the empress Irene, was born in A.n. 1083. She was destined to marry Constantine Ducas, but he died while she was still a child; and she was subsequently mar­ried to Nicephorus Bryennius, a Greek nobleman distinguished by birth, talents, and learning. Anna, .gifted by nature with beauty and rare talents, was instructed in every branch of science, and she tells us in the preface to her Alexias, that she was thoroughly acquainted with Aristotle and Plato. The vanity of a female philosopher was flattered with the homages she received from the Greek scholars and artists, and during a long period hers and her husband's house was the centre of the arts and sciences of Constantinople. Her love for her husband was sincere and founded upon real 3steem, and she and the empress tried, although in vain, to persuade the dying Alexis to appoint Bryennius his successor. The throne was inherit­ed by John, the son of Alexis. (a. d. 1118.) During his reign Anna persuaded Bryennius to >eize the crown; but the conspiracy failed at the noment of its execution, and Anna and Bryennius ,vere punished with exile and the confiscation of ;he greater part of their property. Bryennius lied some time afterwards, and Anna regretted iis loss with deep and sincere affliction. During ier retirement from the world she composed her ' Alexias" ('AAe£tas).

This celebrated work is a biography of her a.ther, the emperor Alexis I. It is divided into ifteen books. In the first nine she relates with freat prolixity the youth of Alexis, his exploits tgainst the Turks,- Seljuks, and the Greek rebels n Asia and Epeirus, his accession, and his wars igainst the Normans in Epeirus. The tenth book s remarkably interesting, containing the relation if the transactions between Alexis and the vVestern princes which led to the first crusade, Ticl the arrival of the Crusaders at Constantinople. Hie following three contain the relations of Alexis vith the Crusaders who had then advanced into sia'j and his last contest with the Norman Bo-

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ANNA PERENNA.

hemond, then prince of Antioch, in Greece and Epeirus. In the fourteenth book are related the successful wars of Alexis against the Turks after they had been weakened by the Crusaders; and in the fifteenth she gives a rather short relation of the latter part of the reign of her father. This division shews that she did not start from a his­torical but merely from a biographical point of view.

To write the life of a man like Alexis I. was a difficult task for his daughter, and this difficulty did not escape her sagacity. " If I praise Alexis," she says in the preface, " the world will accuse me of having paid greater attention to his glory than to truth; and whenever I shall be obliged to blame some of his actions, I shall run the risk of being accused of impious injustice." However, this self-justification is mere mockery. Anna knew very well what she would write, and far from deserving the reproach of " impious injustice," she only de­serves that of " pious injustice." The Alexias is history in the form of a romance,—embellished truth with two purposes,—that of presenting Alexis as the Mars, and his daughter as the Minerva of the Byzantines. Anna did not invent facts, but in painting her portraits she always dips her pencil in the colour of vanity. This vanity is threefold,—personal, domestic, and national. Thus' Alexis is spotless ; Anna becomes an oracle; the Greeks are the first of all the nations, and the

Latins are wicked barbarians, Bohemond alone is

worthy of all her praise ; but it is said that she was admired by, and that she admired in her turn, the gallant prince of the Normans.

The style of the author is often affected and loaded with false erudition ; unimportant details are constantly treated with as much as and even more attention than facts of high importance. These are the defects of the work, but whoever will take the trouble to discover and discard them, will find the Alexias the most interesting and one of the most valuable historical productions of the Byzantine literature.

The editio princeps of the Alexias was publish­ed by Hoelschelius, Augsburg, 1610, 4to. This is only an abridgment containing the fifteen books reduced to eight. The next is by Possinus, with a Latin translation, Paris, 1651, fol. Du Cange has written some valuable notes to the Alexias, which are contained in the Paris edition of Cin-namus. (1670, fol.) The best edition is by Schopen (2 vols. 8vo.), with a new Latin translation, Bonn, 1839. The translation of Possinus is very bad. The work was translated into French by Cousin (le president), and a German translation is con­tained in the first volume of the " Historische Memoiren," edited by Fr. von Schiller. [W. P.]

ANNA PERENNA, a Roman divinity, the [egends about whom are related by Ovid (Fast. iii. 523, &c.) and Virgil. (Aen. iv.) According to them she was a daughter of Belus and sister of Dido. After the death of the latter, she fled from Carthage to Italy, where she was kindly received by Aeneas. Here her jealousy of Lavinia was roused, and being warned in a dream by the spirit of Dido, she fled and threw herself into the river Numicius. Henceforth she was worshipped as the nymph of that river under the name of Perenna; for previously her name had simply been Anna. A second story related by Ovid states, that when the plebs had seceded to the mons sacer and

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