Dear John Comnena,

I am so sorry for fighting with you for many years. I have made many mistakes in life but one of the worst mistakes was fighting with my own brother. I was being so selfish because I was so upset when you were born. I was upset because I always thought that I would be queen one day and then you were born and naturally you would claim the throne.

My mother and I are sorry if we might have caused you grief in the past. I was just wondering how you were doing in throne after father died in 1118 and you claimed the throne. It was wrong of me and mother to attempt to seize the royal succession by having father name Nicephorus, my husband, rather than you his heir to the throne.

Sadly if you didn’t already hear my husband died in 1137 from a brain tumor. Physicians trying to treat him said that it was caused by the rigors of military life, climate and worry for his family. There was also a knee injury incurred while playing polo. It has really been hard after his and fathers death. I moved to a convent in Constantinople that mother founded. Here I have been working on a book that Nicephorus started before he died.

It is called the Alexiad. It is a fifteen-book prose poem that is devoted to father’s reign. It’s primarily about some military technology, with some detailed descriptions of weapons and tactics. Also I included some medical theory and advice. Lately I have been interested in the physical sciences. I have been trying to create an accurate description of a solar eclipse. I like to learn about astrology and only write in Greek. I really hope to hear back from you soon and hear about some of your interests.

Thank you for reading my letter and I hope and pray that you might be able to forgive me one day. Mother worries about you all the time even though she won’t admit it to anyone. Sometimes I can hear her crying in the middle of the night. If you ever get a chance she would love to receive a letter from you. Sorry again brother I never meant to hurt you.

Love your sorry sister,

Anna Comnena