Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia. His father, Jakob, was a wool merchant with two children from a previous marriage. His mother, Amalia (pictured above), was twenty years younger than her husband. Sigismund was her first child.
As his mother's eldest child, he was also her particular favorite, her "golden Siggie." Amalia had high hopes for her son. "I have found," Freud later said, "that people who know that they are preferred or favored by their mothers give evidence in their lives of a peculiar self-reliance and an unshakable optimism which often bring actual success to their possessors."
When he was four, his father's business failed and the family left Freiberg for Vienna, Austria. Young Freud excelled in school, placing at the top of his class for seven out of eight years. He changed his name to Sigmund in 1878 and later earned a degree in medicine from the University of Vienna.