Today is the birthday of Anna Komnene (Comnena, for all you Latinized barbarians), the brilliant daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium, who set the unfortunate precedent of letting the Franks crash in Constantinople on their way to the Holy Land during the First Crusade. Born in 1083, Anna lived for a whopping 70 years (!), was at the center of a power struggle after her father's death, and spent the second half of her life in monasterial seclusion, where she studied history, medicine, and philosophy. She's best known for writing the Alexiad, a political history of Byzantine Empire during her father's rule and the only surviving Hellenic eye-witness account of the First Crusade.