Georg Wilhelm Otto von Ries

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Title page of the Knüttelgeichte

Georg Wilhelm Otto von Ries (born April 5, 1763 in Hanau , † September 25, 1846 in Copenhagen ) was an officer and writer.


His parents were Kraft Georg von Ries and his wife Charlotte Christine Niemeyer . His father was an assessor in the rent chamber, head of the mint and the class lottery.


Since his father died early, his mother and his uncle, the Hanau Secret Councilor von Ries, took care of his education. He also worked as a diplomat and therefore knew the ruling Landgrave of Hesse, a sister of the Danish King Christian VII. She made sure that Ries received the Danish indigenous community in 1775 .

He received his schooling at the high school in Hanau and later at the University of Giessen , where he was supposed to study law. But he showed little interest and preferred to study mathematics and military science. During his studies he became a second lieutenant in the Schleswig infantry regiment, with the task of continuing his studies in Giessen. He stayed there until 1784, in the same year he saved two people from drowning. He then traveled to Schleswig, accompanied by Landgrave Karl von Hessen, to begin his service in the regiment. During a maneuver in Rendsburg in 1787, he came to Crown Prince Friedrich as an orderly officer . In 1788 he joined the Quartermaster General as an assistant, and during the campaign of 1788 he was able to expand his military knowledge considerably. After the end of the war, he was appointed his adjutant by the Crown Prince in 1789 and transferred to the Crown Prince's regiment. In 1791 he became a captain and company commander in the royal regiment, and later he joined the marine corps. In 1795 he was sent on an 18-month trip through Germany to observe the troops in the First Coalition War . In Frankfurt am Main he met the Crown Prince again, whom he was now accompanying. After his return to Copenhagen, he resumed his service as the Crown Prince's adjutant, until the latter sent him on an eight-month trip to Vienna to accompany Prince Karl of Hesse. In 1801 he was promoted to major and battalion commander. In the same year he became adjutant general and companion of King Christian VII , a little later he was promoted to colonel. He managed to build a friendship with the shy monarch.

When the war between England and Denmark broke out in 1807 , Ries also wanted to report, but was assigned to accompany the king, as the Crown Prince wanted a reliable guard by his father's side. After the British blocked the Belt , the king was supposed to be evacuated on board a mail ship without being recognized. The matter was betrayed but when the British stopped the ship and searched it, Ries was able to credibly obtain the camouflage. So they got to Nyborg and from there overland to Odense and finally to Rendsburg , where the farm was evacuated. After the king's death in Rendsburg in 1808, Ries, who had meanwhile been appointed chamberlain, left the court service. He received comma offices that took him to Fehmarn, Altona, Ploen, Ratzeburg and Copenhagen. He dealt a lot with literary work.

For his services, the Danish King Christian VIII appointed him Knight of the Danebrog Order and in 1842 also appointed him Commander of the Danebrog Order. He lived again in Copenhagen with his family in 1841, where he suddenly fell ill in 1846 and died on September 25, 1846.

He was a member of the antiquity society in Copenhagen and dealt with the Old Icelandic runes , and he also translated Old Icelandic into German. In addition to Icelandic and Danish, he also spoke German, English and Italian. He spoke less fluently Spanish, Russian, Bohemian and Swedish. In addition, while he was still under Christian VII, he invented a mathematical instrument called the Toponom , for which the Society of Sciences in Copenhagen in 1804 awarded him a medal. When offers to move abroad came up, he declined.


  • Dedicated poems to his friends . Ed. by Anton Friedrichsen. Morthorst, Copenhagen 1792
  • Ballads, other poems and critical attempts: From the Chamberlain, Adjutant General . Schubothe, Copenhagen 1817
  • The most remarkable 95 theses or arguments of the Reverend Herr Claus Harms (Archdeacon of the St. Nikolaikirche in Kiel.) Which the same in 1817 handed over to the people through pressure for examination and consideration, illuminated by one of the people, the real Religiousness, truth and reason are sacred . Altona 1818
  • Knüttelgeichte, stories, swans and serious ballads (not modern) . Hammerich, Altona 1822


Web links

Wikisource: Georg Wilhelm Otto von Ries  - Sources and full texts