Did you know Mozart’s middle name isn’t really Amadeus?

Turns out Mozart’s middle name and popular moniker, Amadeus, might have originated as a joke. Here’s the back story. Mozart  was baptised as (deep breath)… Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.

At its root, Amadeus comes from the third of his long line of middle names, Theophilus: a Greek name meaning ‘lover of God’ or ‘loved by God’. In its German form, it translates as ‘Gottlieb’ while in Latin, it becomes ‘Amadeus’.

During his lifetime, Mozart signed some letters in mock Latin as ‘Wolfgangus Amadeus Mozartus’, adding ‘us’ to the end of each name. In Italy around 1770, this morphed into Wolfgango Amadeo, which later became Wolfgang Amadè from about 1777.

It was deemed pretty normal to translate your name into other languages in Mozart’s day. Joseph Haydn went by Josephus (Latin) and Giuseppe (Italian), while Ludwig van Beethoven published some works as Luigi (Italian) and Louis (French.)


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