Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Anna Comnena

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Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Anna Comnena
b. 1083, Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul); d. 1153, Constantinople

Anna Comnena was the daughter of Byzantine emperor Alexius I and is chiefly remembered as a historian of the empire of her father's day. She was raised by her grandmother, the empress Anna Dalassena Comnena. Married to a young nobleman, Nicephorus Byrennius, in 1118 she was involved in a conspiracy to overthrow her brother, John II Comnenus, and hand power to her husband, but the plot was discovered and she was exiled. She spent the rest of her life in the convent at Kecharitomene in Constantinople. There Anna wrote the Alexiad, a history of her father's reign which, among other things, contains an invaluable account of the First Crusade from a Byzantine perspective.

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