Johannes Trithemius

Johannes Trithemius, eigentl. Johannes heath mountain or Johannes Zeller, (* 1. February 1462 in footstep home; † 13. December 1516 in peppering castle) was an abbott in the monastery Sponheim, versatile scholar and human. It became alsoadmits as a witch theoretician.

Table of contents


Johannes heath mountain was born in footstep home to the Mosel. It called itself late Johannes Trithemius (afterthe latinisierten posting of its place of birth).

Before it was old one year, its father died. Its stepfather, whom its nut/mother married seven years later, was an education opponent and put to the young Trithemius numerous stones into the way. Only in the secret andunder large difficulties he could learn Greek and latin, later also Hebrew. With 17 years it fled from its parents' house and went on the search for outstanding teachers, it traveled over Trier, Cologne, the Netherlands and Heidelberg and arrived to at the end of January 1482 into the Benediktinerkloster in Sponheim with Bad Kreuznach, which it finally occurred. Already to 29. July 1483, only one and a half years after its monastery entrance, he became as a youngest member of the conventionto 25.Abbott of the monastery selected.

With reproduction Trithemius eliminated to date leichtlebigen habits of the monks and brought by numerous theological and educational activities a new seriousness in the monastery life. By these disciplining and a reorganization of the monastery rights succeeded to italso an economic consolidation of heruntergekommenen finances. Its unusual activity and penetration strength did not remain for a long time unnoticed and in such a way it soon as Visitator of the surrounding sister monasteries were used and finally the Mitpräsidenten of the general chapter appointed.

In practice of its official activities andas in demand Prediger and speakers bereiste Trithemius far parts of Germany, very much for the advantage of its large passion, the library of the monastery. With its entrance into the monastery there 48 books were available, in the time at that time for a monastery library one quiteusual number.1505, when Trithemius Sponheim left, had increased the existence to more than 2000 copies, one the largest, if not the largest library of Germany. The predominant part of the monastery incomes was spent on it. The fame of this knowledge treasure radiated overcompletely Europe, announced with it also Trithemius and pulled a large river taught visitor after Sponheim. Beside the prominent human of its time, Johannes Reuchlin, Conrad Celtis, Johann of Dalberg, Dietrich Gresemund or Jakob Wimpheling was he also Bishops, cure princes and even emperors Maximilian I. at least in brieflichem contact.

The numerous high guests, who had to be regaled complex, brought much work for the monks. Likewise Trithemius led a strict regiment and bore no Schlendrian in the monastery life. Thisin the long term the monks 1505 led a part of its loved library with the slow-acting monks to ever larger enmity opposite their abbott and finally burned, when Trithemius lay ill in its chamber. The gap between the monks and their abbottunbridgeably become and in such a way left he was in the same year Sponheim and began a moving life, until he 1506 in the Scot monastery sank the Jakobs in peppering castle a new home place found. There he was likewise selected in the same year to the abbott; this functionit held 1516 up to its death . In sank the Jakobs became probably revered it because of its instructionness, the loss of its library overshadowed and to verb CCIT ore however its old age, brought a drastic decrease of the visitors and with it its contacts with itself.

effect and work

Trithemius are considered as one of the most versatile and most important German scholar personalities of its time, and that, although it had never visited a university. Beside its move lecture activity was it a in demand teacher and councellor in intellectualand höfischen circles. Even men of the format of a Johannes Reuchlin and Conrad Celtis praised his gel honouring SAMness.Alexander Hegius reported on its attendance with the words „I the large, shining light of the world saw “. Cure prince Joachim I. of Brandenburg,as pupils with the abbott stayed, called it „gloss of our age “and as „ark of the entire wisdom “. Modestly it wrote not straight then also in a letter over itself „I is that Trithemius, the scholar such as Ungelehrte howa Orakel of the Apollo regarded “.

Trithemius wrote over 90 books, at first over theology and medal reforms. Later expanded its work on holy representations, miracle reports, master and monastery chronicles as well as much considered catalogs and reference books. Likewise it wrote over Astrologie and magic, here was it and others Author of a standard work over cryptography and Steganographie; such topics were discussed and read in that time also under the religiousness much.

1494 became the Trithemius up to then in good reputation however for the first time alsothe reproach of the historical falsification it confronts when he maintained sanctissimae matris Annae („to the praise the holy Anna “) in its work De laudibus that this had unbefleckt received her daughter Maria. To the Untermauerung of some data in its historical works, he invented short handthe chroniclers „Meginfried “and „Hunibald “, in order to testify thereby its remarks historically. Also some its miracle narrations could not withstand a respectable view. Most, although possibly well meant, falsifications were quite rough and still during its lifetimes were discovered.This registered various criticism of its contemporaries to him, from „together-lied stories “over „mönchische presumption “up to „fairy tale storytellers “.

Still more serious its magic interests affected themselves. Although it stressed again and again that it itself only with the white magic, thosein conformity with the church teachings, employed, came he stood soon into suspicion, also with the black magic, thus with devil work to be located in connection. On the one hand it published an almost dreadful rushing work with its Antipalus maleficiorum („opponents of the Hexereien “) approximately Zauberer and witches, which placed even the witch hammer into the shade. On the other hand it wrote the book De to septem second and ice („of the sieved spirit “), in which it of seven planet spirit, which governed the world in God order, reports. Thisdespite his contrary asseverations as teuflische magic one regarded. Some its works stood then also for many centuries on the index. Only due to its rednerischen gift and by influential friends he escaped from the accusation because of heresy and thus thatHeap of failure.

works (selection)

  • Annales Hirsaugienses, 1509-1514
  • Antipalus maleficiorum, 1508;
  • Catalogus illustrium virorum Germaniae, 1491-1495
  • Chronicon Hirsaugiense, 1495-1503
  • Chronicon Sponheimense, approx. 1495-1509 - Chronicle of the monastery Sponheim, 1024-1509; Self-publishing house Carl Velten, Bad Kreuznach 1969 (German)
  • Chronicon successionisducum Bavariae et comitum Palatinorum, approx. 1500-1506
  • Compendium sive breviarium primi voluminis chronicarum sive annalium de origine regum gentis Francorum et, approx. 1514
  • De cura pastorali, 1496
  • De duodecim excidiis oberservantiae regularis, 1496
  • De institutione vitae sacerdotalis, 1486
  • De laudescriptorum manualium, 1492 - for the praise of the writers; Befriends Main-Frankish art and history e. V., peppering castle 1973, (Latin/German)
  • De laudibus sanctissimae matris Annae, 1494
  • De origine gentis Francorum compendium, 1514 - on abridged history OF the francs/JohannesTrithemius; AQ-publishing house, Dudweiler 1987; ISBN 3-922441-52-1 (Latin/English)
  • De origine, progressu et laudibus ordinis fratrum Carmelitarum, 1492
  • De proprietate monachorum, before 1494
  • De direction mine claustralium, 1486
  • De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, 1494
  • De septem second and ice ID est intelligentiis sive spiritibus orbes post officedeum moventibus, approx. 1508
  • De triplici regione claustralium spirituali exercitio monachorum, 1497 De
  • vanitate et miseria humanae vitae, before 1494 De
  • visitatione et monachorum, around 1490
  • De viris illustribus ordinis sancti Benedicti, 1492
  • Exhortationes ad monachos, 1486
  • in laudem etcommendatione Ruperti quondam abbatis Tuitiensis, 1492
  • dear one octo quaestionum, 1515
  • dear one penthicus seu lugubris de statue et ruina ordinis monastici, 1493
  • Nepiachus, 1507
  • Polygraphia, 1508
  • Steganographia, approx. 1500


  • Freher, Marquard: Opera historica; Minerva, Frankfurt/Main, 1966
  • Busaeus, Johannes: Opera pia et spiritualia; 1604 and 1605
  • Busaeus, Johannes: Paralipomena opuscolorum; 1605 and 1624


  • Arnold, Klaus: Johann Trithemius, 1462-1516; Schöningh, peppering castle 1991; ISBN 3-87717-045-5
  • Brann, Noel L.: The abbot Trithemius;Brill, suffering 1981;ISBN 90-04-06468-0 (English)
  • Brann, Noel L.: Trithemius and magical theology, A more chapter into the controversy more over occult studies in early modern Europe; State Univ. OF New York press, Albany NY, 1999; ISBN 0-7914-3962-3 (English)
  • Kuper, Michael: Johann Trithemius, the black abbott; Zerling, Berlin 1998; ISBN 3-88468-065-X
  • Lehmann, Paul: Strangenesses of the abbott Johannes Trithemius; Publishing house of the Bavarian academy of the sciences, Munich 1961
  • Roth, F.W.E.: Studies to the Johann Trithemius Jubeljahr (1516); Pustet, Salzburg 1916
  • snow goose, W.: Abbott Johannes Trithemius and monastery Sponheim; Schmithals, cross after 1882

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