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Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia, which is now Pribor, in Czech Republic, the son of Jacob Freud and his third wife Amalia. Sigmund was followed by seven younger brothers and sisters. His family constellation was unusual because Freud's two half-brothers, Emmanuel and Philip, were almost the same age as his mother. Freud was younger than his nephew John, Emmanuel's son. This odd situation may have triggered Freud's interest on family dynamics, leading to his ulterior formulations on the Oedipus Complex.

Freud's father, a Jewish wool merchant of modest means, moved the family to Leipzig, Germany in 1859, and then settled in Vienna, where Freud remained until 1938. When Freud was eight years old, he was reading Shakespeare, and, during his adolescence, the hearing of a lecture about Goethe's essay on nature impressed him very much.

Having considered studying law previously, he decided instead on a career in medical research, beginning his studies at Vienna University in 1873. As a student, Freud began research work on the central nervous system, guided by Ernst von Brock, and qualified as doctor of medicine in 1881. He worked at the Theodor Meynert's Psychiatric Clinic for a year, and later studied with Charcot, at the Salpetriure, in Paris.

From 1884 to 1887 Freud published several articles on cocaine. He married Martha Bernays in 1886. The couple had six children (Mathilde, 1887; Jean-Martin, 1889; Olivier, 1891; Ernst, 1892; Sophie, 1893; Anna, 1895). He established a private practice, specializing in nervous disorders. His interest in hysteria was stimulated by Breuer's and Charcot's use of hypnotherapy. Freud moved to a flat in Berggasse, which turned into The Freud Museum Vienna eighty years later, in 1971.

Freud and Breuer published their findings in Studies on Hysteria in 1895; in the same year, Freud was able to…...

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