Johannes Virdung

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Johann, Hans or Johannes Virdung of Hassfurt was a celebrated astrologer of the early sixteenth century from the Electoral Palatinate.[1] He had an official position at Heidelberg, at the court of the Elector Palatine. He wrote various works under generic names (Prognosticon, Practica), including a millennarian work, Practica von dem Entchrist around 1510.[2][3][4]

He was a correspondent of Johannes Trithemius. One of the early sources for the Faust legend occurs in a letter of Trithemius to Virdung.[5]

Virdung studied at the University of Leipzig beginning in 1481, then in Cracow from 1484 to 1486 or 1487. He returned to Leipzig in 1487, where he graduated as a "Magister" in 1491.[6] It has been suggested[7] that Virdung was of the school of the astronomer Albertus de Brudzewo, and had studied with him and Johannes de Glogovia[8] in Cracow.


  1. ^ Dates given as c.1465-c.1535.[1].
  2. ^ Denis Crouzet (1999) "Millennial Eschatologies in Italy, Germany, and France: 1500-1533". Journal for Millennial Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 1–8. Published 1525, title page.
  3. ^ An early work is the Prognosticon printed 1490. It was followed by others (1492, 1493, 1494, 1497 at least). (This PDF for details.)
  4. ^ There is the 1584 Joannis Hasfurti medici ac astrologi praestantissimi, the title of which implies Virdung had a reputation as physician; he may not have contributed more than his name.
  5. ^ 20 August 1507, [2] (German language). In connection with this, [3] describes Virdung as 'mathematician and court astrologer'.
  6. ^ Steinmetz, "Johann Virdung von Hassfurt", in Astrologi hallucinati p. 197.
  7. ^ By Kazimierz Piekarski
  8. ^ Jan Glogowczyk, Jan Glogau, Jan of Glogow (1455-1507). See pl:Jan z Głogowa.


  • Max Steinmetz (1986), "Johann Virdung von Hassfurt, sein Leben und seine astrologischen Flugschriften", in Astrologi hallucinati, stars at the end of the world in Luther's time
  • Lynn Thorndike Johann Virdung of Hassfurt again Isis 25, 1936, p. 363; Faust and Johann Virdung of Hassfurt, Isis 26, 1936/37, p. 321; Another Virdung Manuscript, Isis 34, 1942/43, p. 291; Johann Virdung of Hassfurt: dates of birth and death, Isis 37, 1947, p. 74