Anna Porphyrogenita Comnena: A Wise Ruler of the Byzantine Empire Essay Example

Throughout the centuries, leaders have fought maliciously for the throne, leading either horribly or wonderfully. Anna Porphyrogenita Comnena is the heir to the throne of the empire of Byzantium, one of the largest empires in the world. Anna is an independent-minded, strong-willed young woman. She is destined to be a respected, trusted ruler in the place of her father, Alexius Comnenus. However, when her younger brother, John Comnenus, is born, Anna sees her life aspirations and expectations fade away. Anna would have made a magnificent ruler.

Anna would rule successfully because she is extremely independent and intelligent. She is a quick learner in the art of diplomacy, also known as learning how to rule. Her knowledge is also developed through the sage teachings of her master tutor, Simon. Yet, she uses her experience in the royal palace to help herself acquire more knowledge. She is also a patient woman, waiting even to be born, with her mother saying, “ Wait, little one, until your father returns,” (Barrett 7). In addition, Anna knows what her duties and responsibilities will be as empress. Anna learns according to what her tasks will be as leader, and continuously reminds herself of them. Anna reminds herself that the health of the empire would be put in her hands, thinking, “ The health of my family would be in my hands, and although the imperial family had the best physicians in the empire, final responsibility for everyone’s health would be mine.” (Barrett 57). She also skillfully handles situations as though she is in power, providing herself practice. 

Many people might say that Anna is too arrogant and prideful to rule, haughtily saying in one of her father’s assemblies “ I was my father’s firstborn, and my betrothed, Constantine Ducas, was to inherit the throne.” (Barrett 18). They could also claim that Anna is blinded by hate when she is mad. She is said to loathe people when she doesn’t get her way and this will result in her ruling unjustly and unfairly.  This is proven when Anna is talking to Simon, and says “ I will exile John.” ( Barrett 109), and plans for her future as empress. Numerous people assert that Anna is unfit to rule the Byzantine Empire. Anna might have a few flaws, yet, she is still very capable of ruling.

Anna might be slightly egoistic, yet, she could easily outgrow these weaknesses. Anna is still young, and has her whole family helping her. They try to help her be a better person, which then makes her a better ruler. Her mother tries to help her, after a banquet in which Anna got teased and her mother says “ Anna, my darling, you must learn to relax your dignity a little.” (Barrett 94). Anna is not blinded by hate. She is a very thoughtful girl, caring about others, including her cousins, slaves, and elders. This is proven when one of Anna’s slave’s betrothed is caught by guards on palace grounds and Anna saves him saying, “ Master Tutor, if you had not slept through your appointment you would have been here to welcome your new manservant…” (Barrett 139), even though this is a lie. Anna is evidently good-natured and is sympathetic towards others. Anna would be an exceptional ruler, leading strongly and fairly. 

Anna would rule her beloved empire admirably. Many will argue that Anna has too many flaws too rule. Yet, she can easily outgrow these poor qualities and become a better person.  Anna has all the attributes to rule the throne graciously and effectively. Anna Comnena would be a splendid ruler of Byzantium!



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