Studying the obstacles Anna Komnene faced in writing history has made me even more grateful for the support I enjoy from my family, university, and intellectual community. This project is an outgrowth of recent progress in our understanding of Byzantine authorship and gender made especially by Derek Krueger, Stratis Papaioannou, and Aglae Pizzone, who have my deepest thanks. The audience at the 2011 Byzantine Studies Conference was instrumental in setting the project on the right track. I also benefited from comments and discussion following presentations at the Byzantine Studies Conference in 2013, 2014, and at the Leeds International Medieval Congress in 2015. Anthony Kaldellis commented with insightful enthusiasm on an early draft.
Funding for research was generously given by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation annual competition at the University of Wisconsin Madison. History department staff (Nic Hauge, Scott Burkhardt, and Leslie Abadie) were invaluable in helping me balance administrative work with history writing. Marlina Polk McGiveron’s careful reading helped ensure the book’s accessibility. The librarians and Interlibrary Loan staff at the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Library ensured that America’s dairyland remains a great place to do Byzantine history. William James Conlin and Kerry Lefebvre, outstanding students at the University of Wisconsin, assisted by creating a small database of the grammatical gender and number of all of Anna’s self-referential statements. Irina Tamarkina took part in the seminar on Byzantine women in which I first began to understand the Alexiad, and has been a delightfully vigorous interlocutor throughout the project. I enjoyed discussing some of Anna’s more ambiguous sentences with Laura McClure, Jeffrey Beneker, and William Brockliss. Stefan Vranka consistently supported this project and Sarah Svendsen skillfully saw it though production. The patient and expert copyediting of Hank Southgate greatly improved the final version. John Rowe encouraged this project through his delight in Byzantine history and unwillingness to accept easy answers, as well as by providing the financial resources for my professorship. All have my deep thanks.
(p.180) As always Stephen Rhody was a stalwart supporter and astute advisor, graciously helping our children grow into people who take pride in their mother’s intellectual accomplishments. Anna Komnene and Theodore Prodromos together could not praise him adequately. This book is dedicated to my parents in gratitude for their many acts of encouragement and their belief that, of course, it would be a lovely thing for their daughter to be a historian.