Ambrose, Saint (Writer)

  (ca. 340-397) religious writer Ambrose was born to an ancient noble family of the Roman Empire. His father was Prefect of Gal-lia. He had a younger brother, Satyrus, and an older sister, Marcellina, who influenced Ambrose’s dedication to the virtue of virginity. Ambrose received a brilliant liberal and legal education, acquiring a thorough mastery […]

All ibn Abi Talib (Imam Ali) (Writer)

  (575-ca.661) poet, homilist Born in Mecca, ‘All ibn Abl Talib was the son-in-law of muhammad. He is venerated by Shi’ite Muslims as the prophet’s rightful successor. The poems, sermons, lectures, and sayings that are attributed to Ali are esteemed by Shi’ites to this day. ‘All was a cousin and foster brother of Muhammad, the […]

Anacreon (Writer)

  (sixth century b.c.) poet, composer Anacreon was one of the most influential and famous Greek literary and musical figures who flourished during the time before the Persian Wars and the Golden Age of Athens. Greek writers continued to imitate him long after his death, and his impact on Greek culture was profound. Anacreon was […]

Amr ibn Kulthum (Writer)

(sixth century) poet ‘Amr ibn Kulthum was among the classic Arabic poets who flourished in the century before muhammad. Though not considered a great innovator, his inclusion in the Mu’allaqat (The Seven Odes), the standard collection of pre-Islamic poetry, has given him a place in literary history. Like many of the pre-Islamic poets, ‘Amr was […]

Apollonius of Rhodes (Writer)

  (ca. 295-ca. 247 b.c.) epic poet Apollonius of Rhodes is one of the great literary figures of the Hellenistic Age. He was born in the city of Alexandria, a Greek community founded in Egypt when Alexander the Great conquered that country. During Apollonius’s lifetime, Alexandria was the greatest city of the Hellenistic world, not […]

Apollodorus (Writer)

  (first century b.c.) mythologist Apollodorus is largely responsible for the information modern scholars possess concerning the religion and mythology of ancient Greece. Very little is known about his life, and the dates of his birth and death cannot be established with any certainty. It is known that he studied in the city of Alexandria, […]

Anna Comnena (Writer)

  (1083-ca. 1154) historian Anna Comnena was born in Constantinople, the eldest daughter of an aristocratic general who later, as Alexius I, became one of the greatest emperors of Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire). Nevertheless, Comnena spent the latter half of her life in exile, where she wrote a remarkable history book, perhaps the first […]

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Writer)

(891-1154) The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of manuscripts detailing British history from the beginning of the Christian era to a.d. 1154. Translator M. J. Swanton speculates that “the Chronicle, as we know it, had its origins towards the end of the ninth century: a reflection of both the ‘revival of learning’ and revival of […]

Angiolieri, Cecco (Writer)

  (1260-ca. 1312) poet Cecco Angiolieri was born in Siena to parents An-gioliero degli Angelioleri and Lisa Salimbeni. As a youth he entered military service, where he was reprimanded several times for unauthorized absences and once for making noise after curfew. In 1288 he served in a military campaign where he is thought to have […]

Arnaut Daniel (Arnaud Daniel) (Writer)

  (fl. 1180-1200) poet, troubadour Arnaut Daniel was born into a noble family at the castle of Riberac in Perigord, France. He was a member of the court of Richard Coeur de Lion and was highly regarded as a Provencal poet and troubadour. Troubadours flourished from the late-11th to the late-13th century in southern France […]