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Who was the real prototype of Dr. Faust, and why in the XVI century believed that he sold his soul to the devil

The story of the alchemist and the scientist who sold his soul to the devil is known all over the world. Despite the obviously mystical motives, Dr. Faust has a real prototype, who lived in the XVI century. It is not known whether he has a relationship with otherworldly forces, but the glory of the warlock and necromancer he received during his lifetime. In fact, at the time of writing the famous tragedy of Goethe, this character was already popular throughout Europe.

The life of the real doctor Faust is described in many literary works, it was the basis for folk legends, so it is very difficult to distinguish from these materials a rational grain today. There are only a few documents that mention this name, so there are versions that this character is a team, it is possible that the real alchemist after his death was attributed to the “exploits” of other historical figures. In the list of possible prototypes, many thinkers and scientists: the Pope Sylvester II, Roger bacon, Abbot Johannes Trithemius and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.

However, there are reliable sources that report that Johann Georg Faust was indeed born around 1480 in Germany. For the right to be called his home for some time fought four cities: Knittlingen, Helmstadt, Simmern and Salzwedel. The first won, and now it is there that the Museum of Faust is opened. The young doctor seems to have started his journey early in science and at the same time wandering around the world – most likely, at first he was a wandering magician. According to one source, he studied for a time in Krakow, on the other – about 25 years old he just pretended the lush title: “Master George Sabellicus Faust Jr., fount of necromancy, an astrologer, a successful magician, a palmist, aeroman, the Pyromancer and outstanding hydroment”. With this he began is speech. In the city records of Gelnhausen, for example, in 1506 Faust is mentioned in connection with “magic” tricks. He also, perhaps, alchemy, divination, and the treatment voodoo recipes.

Jan Matejko’s “The Alchemist»

Nothing significant the magician and the alchemist could not achieve, but in a few years, using the auspices of the nobles, obtained the place of a school teacher in the city Kreuznach (now bad Kreuznach). However, this life stage ended quickly and ingloriously, he was expelled from the city for pedophilia and warlocks. In the documents stored in the archives of Nuremberg, there were also references to Dr. Faust, who is called the great sodomite, necromancer and forbid him to enter the city. In the same period, Johann Trithemius, an eminent scientist of his time, and the Abbot of the monastery Speranskogo writes an indignant letter to a friend, the court astrologer and mathematics Johann Virdung: “the Person about whom you write to me… he who has the audacity to call himself the head of necromancers is a Vagabond, a wasteland and a swindler.”

Despite this attitude fellow scientists, judging by the documents, Faust still graduates from the University of Heidelberg and receives a degree. In the future, he continues to travel around the cities. So, for example, the certificate that in 1520 it for 10 guilders made the detailed horoscope by order of the Bishop of the city of Bamberg remained. Such a fee was generous enough, so we can conclude that the reputation of Faust eventually reached a decent level. It is known that he tried to teach at universities, but each time quickly left positions. Colleagues still speak about it contradictory, although they believe, apparently, a major scientist. And at the end of his life, according to some evidence, his fame was comparable to the glory of Paracelsus.

One of the first printers of Jagann of Manlius the letter mentions about her meeting with Faust of Knittlingen, however, he calls this man “a cesspool full of devils.” Speaking of hell, apparently, the infamous doctor has acquired during his lifetime, and, perhaps as a result of the black-praise. Probably, such fame helped him in his work. It went absolutely fantastic rumors – supposedly a doctor, dining at the tavern, swallowed promptly by a boy servant, or rode astride a barrel of wine, which was not to roll out of the cellar, and assisted him in all things a faithful companion – a black poodle which in fact was himself unclean.

But the main scandal in Faust’s life was, paradoxically, his death. It is believed that he died in 1540 or 1541, exploding during an alchemical experiment. It happened a memorable event in hotel “lion” (Zum Löwen) of the town of Breisgau. The corpse was badly disfigured, and, of course, the rumor attributed this tragedy to the doctor’s tricks with otherworldly forces. There is a legend about the contract with Satan and about the sold soul which the devil in such noisy way shook out from a sinful body of the warlock.

After the death of Dr. Faust, his popularity only increased and was supplemented by numerous legends. He became a hero of folk tales and farcical plays. Highlights: a Pact with the devil, success with women and ungodly experiments, and finally striking the final utaskivaet the soul of the sinner into Hell just happened during this period. A few decades later, the nameless author wrote the first novel – “the Story of Dr. Faust.” It became a real bestseller and was sold all over Europe. In French it was retold by the historian and theologian Pierre Caye, he, for example, introduced the ancient beauty Elena.

Since then, more than 30 literary works have been written about the rebellious doctor. In addition to Goethe, among many, this topic was addressed by Henry and Thomas Mann, Pushkin, Heine, Turgenev, Lunacharsky, science fiction writers Roger ZHelyazny and Robert Sheckley. In music – Berlioz, Wagner, Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Prokofiev, Schnittke and others. More than 15 films were shot, in the XXI century Dr. Faust became even a hero of comics and computer games, so the popularity of this image does not fade with time.

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