The Princess Who Rewrote History

This The Princess Who Rewrote History video also includes:

Byzantine princess Anna Komnene took the motto, “If you want it done right, do it yourself,” to heart, penning a 500-page history of her father’s reign. Her tales of Byzantine Emperor Alexios’s reign attempt to balance truth with family loyalty. An engaging video introduces learners to not only her work, but also to her choices of occupation, which went against the traditions of the time.

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Instructional Ideas

  • To lead a discussion about recognizing biased writing, assign passages from The Alexiad and invite the class to analyze them for impartiality or bias
  • Before viewing, ask students what they know about what princesses do, whether it varies with location and historical era, and what factors govern a princess’s choices
Classroom Considerations

  • Requires geographical and historical preparation for full comprehension
  • Prepare pupils by explaining royal use of arranged marriages to strengthen a ruler’s claims
Pros

  • Highlights an oft-overlooked medieval woman writer
  • Presents Anna as a complex and capable person
  • Animation contributes to understanding
Cons

  • The additional resources are fewer than in most TED-Ed animation lessons