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The area was settled around 500 BC by Celtic tribes, and a Roman settlement was founded there in 15 BC.
Today, the city is known for its beauty, rich culture, and artistic influence.
People Born in Vienna
Vienna in People's Lives
Napoleon Bonaparte: After defeating the Austrian armies and driving them from their occupation of the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto, I marched my troops to this city in 1797, to negotiate a treaty with the Austrians. The treaty, in short, gave the Netherlands and northern Italy to me, while I in return promised to give the Austrians Venice and its surrounding region. This did not stop me, however, from conquering that city later in the year. The Austrians recovered it, but I invaded and sought to conquer this city once and for all many times after that. And yet, for decades, this city always seemed to slip away from me. When I finally conquered Austria in 1809, I made a new peace treaty with harsh, strict terms for the Austrians.
Otto Rank: I was born here in 1884, into a lower-class Jewish family, the son of a jeweler. During my childhood, my father was not often present, and when he was, he was usually drunk. I grew up with little interest or concept of religion, and enjoyed music and books. My favorite authors were Ibsen, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. I disliked being at home, and tried to spend as much time as I could out of the house, normally at the theater or the library. I described the atmosphere at home as: "Almost no word was spoken in the house, but if a voice ever became loud, it became very loud: it screamed. For everyone had a deep rage inside..." In 1900, at the age of 16, my brother and I decided that we would no longer recognize my father's authority, and made this clear. From then on, we did not even greet him when he came in through the door (though, those instances were rare). The tense and tragic atmosphere of my youthful years, rather than depress me, "kindled a bright flame that lit up my heart and brain." In the same year, I left school and began work in a machine shop as a locksmith. My older brother was sent to university to study law, but my parents only had the money to educate one son. I began writing a book. In 1904, at the age of 20, I came across the writings and ideas of Sigmund Freud, and was transfixed, saying "The world... is no longer a riddle." In 1906, I breathlessly applied to Freud's discussion group as secretary, and impressed him. He hired me, but soon afterward, I was attending the salon-type discussions as a member of the group, not as someone who worked for them. Freud supported me wholeheartedly, and we became very close. He became to me the father I had never had, and I finally had an outlet for my talents. In 1907, my book, Der Kunstler, was published, after much critique and help from Freud. Freud also helped me gain a place as a student at the University of Vienna, and I graduated with my Ph.D. in 1912. I continued to work under Freud, gathering acclaim, and wrote another book in 1912, a quite Freudian psychological piece called The Myth of the Birth of the Hero. It later earned some criticism for being unoriginal, almost a complete parroting of Freud's views. I became editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1912, a post I would hold for the next twelve years. Until 1914, I continued my studies as a colleague of Freud, and also worked as his personal secretary. In 1914, at the age of 30, I was called to serve in the army in World War I, and eventually became the chief editor of the Army's newspaper. As a soldier, I found a strength and independence that I had never before possessed. Freud's complete hold on me slipped away, as I became my own man. When I returned home to this city in 1918, I was a new person. Ernest Jones later mused, "I never knew anyone to change so much." I was happy to be reunited with Freud, but he became disgruntled when he discovered that I would no longer be his worshipping servant, that I was forging my own professional path, and my new friendship and collaboration with Sandor Ferenczi. When my wife gave birth to our first child, Helene, I became more interested in the Oedipus Complex, and in 1924 published a book centered around it, called The Trauma of Birth. Far from a tribute and obvious parroting of Freud's ideas, this time, it was completely my own work - and considered stirring and monumental. Freud, and many of the rest of the Viennese psychoanalysts, disagreed with the book, and it caused a split. I was expelled from the society in 1925, and decided to move with my wife to Paris in 1926. I would never live in my home city of Vienna again, or reconcile with Freud.
Peter the Great: Making plans to conquer the powerful Ottoman Empire, I traveled here incognito in 1697 to seek allies. However, as in Paris, I was disappointed, and my seeking of Austria's support led nowhere, as they were at the time interested in keeping peace in the east and waging their own wars in the west.
Sigmund Freud: This was the major city of my life, that I called home. My family and I moved here in 1860, when I was four years old. In 1865, at the age of nine, I was admitted into a prestigious high school, where I became a star pupil who graduated in 1873 with honors, at the age of seventeen. I spent my days as a young man reading, studying languages (I spoke eight), and pouring over Shakespeare, my favorite author. I got into the University of Vienna in 1873, at the age of seventeen, with the intention of studying law. It was medicine, however, that drew me in, and I became a brilliant medical student. I graduated with an MD in 1881 and began work at the Vienna General Hospital in 1882, at the age of 26. It was not long before my brilliance was recognized, largely due to the amount of published research I had already accumulated, and I was appointed University Lecturer in Neuropathology in 1885. The next year, in 1886, I left the hospital to open my own private practice, specializing in "nervous disorders." In the same year, I married my wife in this city. The next decades were illustrious ones, as my very own branch of neurology, psychoanalysis, rose to prominence with me at the helm. When antisemitism began to sweep over Europe, I was encouraged to leave Vienna, but refused. I was determined to remain true to my beloved home city until the end. However, when my daughter was arrested and interrogated, I finally decided to leave my city in 1938. I would never return.
Viktoria Tolstoy: I performed a concert here in 2014, with Jacob Karlzon.