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Anna Komnene was born to Emperor Alexios and Empress Eirene in 1083, just two years after Alexios wrested the imperial throne from his predecessor, Emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates, after a typical Roman civil war. As a child, Anna gained a broad, but thorough, education. She was interested in many topics—literature (plus grammar and rhetoric), medicine, philosophy, metaphysics and geography. She continued to be fascinated by intellectual pursuits all her life. She would later gather salons of great thinkers and give them patronage to encourage them to continue writing and making new discoveries. When her brother, Emperor John II, ascended to the imperial throne in 1118, Anna Komnene hoped to usurp power, yet her plot was discovered and she was forced into a convent. There, from 1143-1153, Anna Komnene wrote a history about the reign of her father, which she titled The Alexiad. Most historians recognize Anna Komnene as the first female historian, or at least The Alexiad is the first known history to have been written by a woman. The ten quotes here come from that work, translated by E. R. A. Sewter (Penguin Books, 2009).