Anna of Byzantium
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"Anna of Byzantium" Characters Analysis

By Tracy Barrett

historical fiction | 211 pages | Published in 1999

Anna Comnena has every reason to feel entitled. She's a princess, her father's firstborn and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine Empire. So the birth of a baby brother doesn't perturb her. Nor do the "barbarians" from foreign lands, who think only a son should ascend to power. Anna is as dismissive of them as are her father and his most trusted adviser--his mother, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna relishes her lessons, proving adept at checkmating opponents in swift moves of mental chess. But as she matures into a young woman, her arrogance and intelligence threaten her grandmother. Anna will be no one's puppet. Almost overnight, Anna sees her dreams of power wrenched from her and bestowed on her little brother. Bitter at the betrayal, Anna waits to avenge herself, and to seize what is rightfully hers.Book Details: Format: Paperback Publication Date: 10/10/2000 Pages: 224 Reading Level: Age 12 and Up

ISBN_13:9780440415367

Estimated read time: 9 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
Anna KomneneProtagonist
Alexios I KomnenosFather of Anna
Irene DoukainaMother of Anna
John II KomnenosBrother of Anna
Nikephoros BryenniosAnna's husband
Empress Maria of AlaniaAlexios' wife
Emperor Alexios IRuler of Byzantium
Theodora KomneneAnna's sister
Theodora Anna KomneneAnna's daughter
Isaac KomnenosAnna's cousin

Role Identification

In the historical fiction novel "Anna of Byzantium" by Tracy Barrett, Anna Komnene is the protagonist and narrator of the story. She is a strong-willed and intelligent young woman who strives to leave her mark on the Byzantine Empire.

Character Descriptions

Anna Komnene

Anna Komnene is the main character and narrator of the story. She is a young woman in her early twenties with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. Anna is described as being intelligent, ambitious, and passionate. She possesses a keen intellect and a thirst for knowledge, which sets her apart from other women of her time. Anna is determined to make a name for herself and secure her place in history.

Alexios I Komnenos

Alexios I Komnenos is Anna's father and the ruler of Byzantium. He is described as a strong and charismatic leader who is deeply committed to his empire. Alexios is known for his military prowess and his ability to navigate the complex political landscape of the Byzantine Empire.

Irene Doukaina

Irene Doukaina is Anna's mother and the wife of Alexios I. She is a noblewoman from a prestigious Byzantine family. Irene is portrayed as a loving and supportive mother who encourages Anna's intellectual pursuits. She is also skilled in politics and often advises her husband on matters of state.

John II Komnenos

John II Komnenos is Anna's younger brother. He is described as a brave and honorable young man who shares his father's military talent. John is a loyal supporter of his family and is devoted to protecting the empire.

Nikephoros Bryennios

Nikephoros Bryennios is Anna's husband. He is a nobleman and military leader who is deeply in love with Anna. Nikephoros is described as handsome and courageous, but also hot-tempered and impulsive.

Empress Maria of Alania

Empress Maria of Alania is Alexios' wife and Anna's stepmother. She is a beautiful and influential woman who is highly regarded in the Byzantine court. Empress Maria is known for her political savvy and her ability to manipulate those around her.

Emperor Alexios I

Emperor Alexios I is the ruler of Byzantium and Anna's father. He is a powerful and charismatic leader who is respected and feared by his enemies. Alexios is known for his military victories and his skill in navigating the complex politics of the Byzantine Empire.

Theodora Komnene

Theodora Komnene is Anna's younger sister. She is described as being kind-hearted and gentle, with a love for music and art. Theodora is a source of comfort and support for Anna throughout the novel.

Theodora Anna Komnene

Theodora Anna Komnene is Anna's daughter. She is a young child who brings joy and happiness to Anna's life. Theodora Anna is a symbol of hope for Anna and represents the future of the Komnenos dynasty.

Isaac Komnenos

Isaac Komnenos is Anna's cousin and a rival for the throne. He is described as ambitious and power-hungry, willing to do whatever it takes to claim the imperial title for himself.

Character Traits

Anna Komnene is portrayed as intelligent, ambitious, passionate, and determined. She possesses a thirst for knowledge and is committed to leaving her mark on history. Anna is also fiercely loyal to her family and is willing to make sacrifices for their well-being and the prosperity of the Byzantine Empire. However, she can be stubborn and impulsive at times, which leads to both triumphs and setbacks in her life.

Alexios I Komnenos is characterized as a strong and charismatic leader, who is skilled in both military strategy and political maneuvering. He is deeply committed to the welfare of the empire and is willing to make difficult decisions to protect it.

Irene Doukaina is depicted as a loving and supportive mother who encourages Anna's intellectual pursuits. She is also politically savvy and provides guidance to her husband.

John II Komnenos is portrayed as brave, honorable, and loyal. He shares his father's military talents and is dedicated to protecting the empire.

Nikephoros Bryennios is described as handsome, courageous, and deeply in love with Anna. However, he can be hot-tempered and impulsive, which leads to conflicts in their relationship.

Empress Maria of Alania is depicted as a beautiful and influential woman with political savvy. She is highly regarded in the Byzantine court and is known for her ability to manipulate others to achieve her goals.

Emperor Alexios I is characterized as a powerful and charismatic leader who is respected and feared by his enemies. He is skilled in both military strategy and political maneuvering.

Theodora Komnene is portrayed as kind-hearted, gentle, and supportive. She provides comfort and support to Anna throughout the story.

Theodora Anna Komnene is depicted as a young child who brings joy and hope to Anna's life. She represents the future of the Komnenos dynasty.

Isaac Komnenos is characterized as ambitious and power-hungry. He is willing to do whatever it takes to claim the imperial title for himself.

Character Background

Anna Komnene is the eldest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Empress Irene Doukaina. Born into the prestigious Komnenos dynasty, Anna grows up in the Byzantine court, surrounded by politics, warfare, and intrigue. From a young age, Anna displays exceptional intelligence and a thirst for knowledge that sets her apart from other women of her time.

Throughout her childhood, Anna is encouraged by her mother to pursue her intellectual interests. She becomes well-versed in philosophy, literature, and medicine. However, as a woman, Anna faces limitations in a society that does not value female scholars. Despite these obstacles, Anna is determined to make a name for herself and secure her place in history.

As she grows older, Anna becomes increasingly aware of the political tensions within the Byzantine Empire. She witnesses the power struggles between her father and his rivals, including her cousin Isaac Komnenos. Anna is torn between her loyalty to her family and her desire for personal achievement.

Character Arcs

Anna's character arc in "Anna of Byzantium" is one of self-discovery and empowerment. At the beginning of the novel, Anna is a young woman eager to prove herself and make her mark on history. She is driven by ambition and a thirst for knowledge.

Throughout the story, Anna faces numerous challenges and setbacks. She experiences heartbreak, betrayal, and loss. However, these trials only serve to strengthen her resolve and fuel her determination.

As the novel progresses, Anna's character evolves from a naive young woman to a formidable and resilient leader. She learns to navigate the treacherous political landscape of the Byzantine court, making alliances and outmaneuvering her enemies.

By the end of the novel, Anna has achieved her goal of leaving her mark on history. She becomes a respected historian and author, ensuring that her legacy will live on for generations to come.

Relationships

Anna's relationship with her father, Alexios I Komnenos, is one of deep respect and admiration. She looks up to him as a role model and seeks his approval. Alexios, in turn, recognizes Anna's intelligence and encourages her intellectual pursuits.

Anna's relationship with her mother, Irene Doukaina, is one of love and support. Irene understands Anna's ambitions and encourages her to pursue her dreams. She provides guidance and advice, helping Anna navigate the complexities of the Byzantine court.

Anna's relationship with her brother, John II Komnenos, is one of loyalty and camaraderie. They share a close bond and support each other throughout their lives.

Anna's relationship with her husband, Nikephoros Bryennios, is complex. They share a passionate love for each other, but their marriage is often strained by their conflicting ambitions and temperaments.

Anna's relationship with Empress Maria of Alania is one of tension and manipulation. Maria is a powerful figure in the Byzantine court and often seeks to control and manipulate those around her, including Anna.

Anna's relationship with her daughter, Theodora Anna Komnene, is one of love and hope. Theodora Anna brings joy and happiness to Anna's life, and Anna sees in her daughter the future of the Komnenos dynasty.

Anna's relationship with her cousin, Isaac Komnenos, is one of rivalry and conflict. Isaac seeks to claim the imperial title for himself and is willing to betray Anna and her family to achieve his goals.

In conclusion, "Anna of Byzantium" by Tracy Barrett presents a rich cast of characters who play significant roles in Anna Komnene's life. From her family members to political rivals and love interests, each character contributes to Anna's growth and development as she strives to secure her place in history.