Otto Piper (castle researcher)

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Hagenwil Castle , drawing by Otto Piper

Otto (Karl Heinrich Christoph) Piper , pseudonym: P. Sincerus (born December 22, 1841 in Röckwitz ; † February 23, 1921 in Munich ) is considered to be the founder of scientific castle research alongside August von Cohausen (1812-1896) .


Otto Piper was the youngest of five children of Protestant pastor Wilhelm Piper (1806–1873) and his wife Julie, née. Mercker (1818-1888). He was born in Röckwitz near Stavenhagen . He attended grammar school in Neubrandenburg from 1851 to 1862 and passed his Abitur here in 1862 as the best in his class. During his time in Neubrandenburg, about which he later reported in school memories, he met Fritz Reuter , Johannes Schondorf and other personalities from Reuter's circle of friends. After studying law in Munich , Berlin and Rostock from May 1864 , where he was awarded a Dr. jur. received his doctorate, Piper first settled as a lawyer in Rostock. There he met his future wife Sophie Krüger among his colleagues.

Soon after the end of the Franco-Prussian War, he went to Strasbourg as editor of the “Niederrheinischer Kurier” . Later he was editor of newspapers in Trier and Düsseldorf, from where Piper returned to Mecklenburg in 1879 . From 1879 to 1889 he was mayor of Penzlin . He then moved to Constance on Lake Constance and in 1893 to Munich.

His main work Burgenkunde (1895) is still one of the standard works of German-speaking castle research, which, based on the work, is also generally referred to as Castle Studies. His big rival was Bodo Ebhardt , the other famous German castle explorer at the turn of the century. For example, Piper accused Ebhardt of opportunism when he rebuilt the Hohkönigsburg in Alsace on behalf of the German emperor in 1902 and, contrary to his own scientific knowledge, made several ahistorical changes to meet the taste of his client.

Otto Piper had three children, including the publisher Reinhard Piper .



  • The right of sponsorship especially according to the particular rights of the city of Rostock: a commentary on Thl. I., Tit. IV. Of the Rostock town charter v. J. 1757. Stiller, Rostock 1871
  • On the commissary-deputatic negotiations on the reform of our constitution: a political science memorandum. Stiller, Rostock 1872
  • On the building history of the castle Stargard iM In: Association for Mecklenburg history and antiquity (Hrsg.): Yearbooks of the association for Mecklenburg history and antiquity . Vol. 51, Schwerin, 1886, pp 98 -102 ( digitized )
  • About the castle ruins in the club area, especially the Altbodman ruins . In: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings , 20th year 1891, pp. 31–43 ( digitized version )
  • Again the Lindau Heath Wall . In: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings , 21st year 1892, pp. 87-105 ( digitized version ); Corrections , pp. 106–110 ( digitized version )
  • Castle lore. Construction and history of castles . 1st edition. Ackermann, Munich 1895.
Numerous other editions, among others
3rd, much improved edition. Piper Verlag, Munich 1912 ( digitized on ).
Reprint of the 1912 edition. Weidlich, Frankfurt am Main 1967. ISBN 3-8035-0316-7 .
Reprint of the 1912 edition. Weidlich, Würzburg 1994.
Reprint of the 1912 edition. Weltbild -Buchverlag, Munich 1992. ISBN 3-89350-554-7 .


  • Reinhard Piper: "Otto Piper. On the 10th anniversary of his death on February 23, 1923". (With portrait photo). In: Mecklenburgische Monatshefte, 7th year 1931, pp. 67–70. ( Digitized version )
  • Piper, Otto . In: Grete Grewolls: Who was who in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania? A dictionary of persons . Edition Temmen, Bremen 1995, ISBN 3-86108-282-9 , p. 332.
  • Grete Grewolls: Who was who in Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania. The dictionary of persons . Hinstorff Verlag, Rostock 2011, ISBN 978-3-356-01301-6 , p. 7610 . (with portrait photo)
  • Sabine Bock : Piper, Otto Karl Christoph Heinrich, pseudonym: P. Sincerus . In: Biographical Lexicon for Mecklenburg. Vol. 7. Schmidt-Römhild, Lübeck 2013. ISBN 978-3-7950-3752-9 , pp. 243-244.

Web links

Commons : Burgenkunde (Otto Piper)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Otto Piper  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Entry in the Rostock matriculation portal