Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Trithemius, Johannes

Born: 1 February 1462, Trittenheim
Died: 16 December 1516, Würzburg
  • Tomáš NejeschlebaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_570-1


Johannes Trithemius was an abbot from the Benedictine monastery of Sponheim, and later the monastery of Würzburg. During his studies in Heidelberg, he was involved in learned humanistic societies, and later he applied the ideal of humanistic eloquence in his works. Trithemius built large libraries and wrote a number of mystical, monastic, historic, and biographic writings. He became famous especially due to his book Steganographia which dealt with cryptography on the basis of natural magic and astrology working with angelic mediations. Though Steganographia remained in manuscript form, it influenced occult sciences in the sixteenth century and cryptography. Trithemius was also accused of necromancy and demonic magic.


Historical Writing Literary Society Fictional Story Original Aspect Contemporary Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Primary Literature

  1. Trithemius, Johannes. 1518. Polygraphiae Libri VI. Basileae: M. Furter.Google Scholar
  2. Trithemius, Johannes. 1605. Steganographia, hoc est, ars per occultam scripturam animi sui voluntatem absentibus aperiendi certa. Frankfurt am Main: ex officina typographica Matthiae Beckeri, sumptibus Joannis Berneri.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Arnold, Klaus. 1991. Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516). Würzburg: Ferdinand Schöningh.Google Scholar
  2. Baron, Frank. 1991. Trithemius und Faustus: Begegnungen in Geschichte und Sage. In Johannes Trithemius: Humanismus und Magie im Vorreformatorischen Deutschland, ed. Richard Auernheimer and Frank Baron, 38–57. München: Profil.Google Scholar
  3. Brann, Noel L. 1981. The Abbot Trithemius (1462–1516): The Renaissance of Monastic Humanism. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  4. Brann, Noel L. 1999. Trithemius and Magical Theology: A Chapter in the Controversy over Cccult Studies in Early Modern Europe. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brann, Noel L. 2006. Trithemius, Johannes. In Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, ed. Wouter Hanegraaf, 1135–1139. Leiden/Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
  6. Grafton, Anthony. 2006. Johannes Trithemius: Magie, Geschichte und Phantasie. In Erzählende Vernunft, ed. Sebastian Lalla, Anja Hallacker, and Günter Frank. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Müller-Jahncke, Wolf-Dieter. 1991. Johannes Trithemius und Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim. In Johannes Trithemius: Humanismus und Magie im Vorreformatorischen Deutschland, ed. Richard Auernheimer and Frank Baron, 29–37. München: Profil.Google Scholar
  8. Walker, D.P. 1975. Spiritual and Demonic Magic: From Ficino to Campanella. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  9. Zambelli, Paola. 2007. White Magic, Black Magic in the European Renaissance. Leiden/Boston: Brill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Renaissance Texts, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of ArtsPalacky UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic

Section editors and affiliations

  • Paul Richard Blum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University MarylandBaltimoreUSA