Otto Wilhelm von Königsmarck

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Otto Wilhelm von Königsmarck, engraving by Jacob Gole

Otto Wilhelm Graf von Königsmarck (born January 5, 1639 in Minden ; † September 15, 1688 in Modon ) was the youngest son of the Swedish field marshal Hans Christoph von Königsmarck , who came from the German aristocratic family Königsmarck , and like this general , military leader and statesman in various services . He was involved in the severe damage to the Acropolis during the Great Turkish War .

Live and act

Otto Wilhelm was born in northern Germany because his mother Agathe von Leesten followed his father on his campaigns. After she settled in Stade in 1645 , she ensured that her son had a good education. Initially, Königsmarck was probably taught by the scholar Johann Heinrich Tonsor , but Esaias von Pufendorf was his preceptor (private tutor) . He studied in Jena for over three years, where he became Rector Magnificus due to his noble descent . He then briefly visited the universities in Tübingen, Strasbourg, Basel, then the University of Geneva, Blois and Angers and did the Grand Tour that was customary at the time .

In 1654, Duke Wilhelm IV of Saxe-Weimar accepted him as a member of the Fruit Bringing Society . He gave him the company name of the highly inclined and the motto of courtesy . The white chard was given to him as an emblem . In Köthener Society book the entry King Marcks is under no. 633. The Swedish government appointed a stately, highly educated and respected turned cavalier officer. From 1661 he worked as the Swedish envoy in England, from 1666 in France.

As early as 1664 he became a colonel of the body regiment on horseback and in this position took part in the siege of Bremen in the Second Bremen-Swedish War . Then he entered the service of Elector Karl-Ludwig von Pfalz-Simmern for a short time as major general , and from 1668 onwards he joined Louis XIV of France for four years .

In Swedish service

In 1672 the Kingdom of Sweden recalled him. After the death of his brother Kurt Christophs , he was his successor as Vice-Governor of the Duchies of Bremen and Verden and remained in office while he went to France as envoy. There he took part in the Dutch War on the French side . With Turenne he besieged Maastricht. Under Condé he distinguished himself in the bloody battle of Seneffe in 1674 so that the king honored him with a precious sword.

Although he had barely recovered from a serious wound he suffered in this battle, he was recalled to intervene in the Swedish-Brandenburg War as Field Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of Pomerania . By attacking the Mark Brandenburg, he was supposed to force the Brandenburg-Prussian army to withdraw from the Rhine and relieve the French allies. However, the Swedes lost the decisive battle of Fehrbellin in 1675 . After the Bremen army had also lost, Königsmarck had to evacuate Pomerania. However, he defeated the Danes under Detlef von Rumohr on Rügen in the Battle of Warksow in 1678. In September 1678, after another invasion of Rügen and the loss of the Stralsund fortress in October 1678, he had to give up Pomerania and was only able to bring the remains of the cavalry back to Sweden ( Jagd over the Curonian Lagoon ). After the Peace of Saint-Germain , as a result of which Sweden regained its northern German possessions, he became Governor General of Pomerania, Rügen and Wismar until 1685.


In 1677 Charles XI. In order to bind his generals to himself, endowments were again distributed, to Königsmarck as a fiefdom of the whole Verden office , which at that time was in the possession of the Munster bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen through imperial execution . The entire land of the Diocese of Verden was given away to the Königsmarcks, as they already owned Rotenburg . The 1680 carried out in Bremen and 1682 by Charles XI. Reduction Ordinance, tightened recovery of the domains given away, cost Königsmarck almost all of the German property. Even Agathenburg Castle , although it had been bought and first built, was sequestered several times .

Turkish campaign

As governor general of Pomerania, Königsmarck took part in an imperial campaign to help the emperor in Hungary as part of the great Turkish war. This was able to win over the disgruntled by the confiscation of goods in 1685 as commander in chief of his soldiers in Morea ( Peloponnese peninsula ), which consisted of Hanoverians, Saxony, Hesse, Brunswick and Württemberg.

"The Republic of Venice decreed the general and head of the entire military power on land" is what the church book of Steinkirchen im Alten Lande calls him . His wife Catharina Charlotta de la Gardie , who was not brought home until 1682, accompanied him on these dangerous trains that brought him fame. As he was on land, so was Francesco Morosini in command of the fleet. Königsmarck's advice decided to conquer Morea before attempting the capture of Candia ( Crete ). There he conquered Navarino , Modon and Argos in June and July 1686 and after stubborn defense of Nauplia , which the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman army, the Seraskians , tried in vain to save.

The Signoria of Venice honored him with a gold bowl worth 6,000 ducats. In 1687 he conquered Patras on July 24th, after which the Turks themselves blew up the " little Dardanelles " on the bosom of Lepanto . When he appeared before Corinth on August 9, the entire population had already fled and the city burned. Here Königsmarck embarked on Morosini's fleet on September 20th, landed in Porto Leoni (i.e. the port of Piraeus) on the 21st, occupied Athens and besieged the Acropolis . On September 26, a bomb hit the Turkish powder magazine in the Parthenon and blew up the temple, which had been almost unharmed until then. The castle capitulated, but the plague decimated the troops in the winter quarters and Athens had to be surrendered in April 1688.

In the summer, Morosini , who was both Doge and Commander-in-Chief, made the unfortunate march to Negroponte . Königsmarck commanded the siege, but the plague, which also befell him, prevented his project. He died on site in the care of his wife on September 15, 1688. The Republic of Venice honored the field marshal in his death. She had the corpse escorted home with that of nephew Hans Karl and a marble portrait bust of the “always victorious” ( semper victor ) was erected by decision of the Senate (“SC”) in 1688. This is located in the arsenal of Venice . It comes from the sculptor Enrico (also: Arrigo) Merengo (actually: Heinrich Meiring or Meyring, a German artist from Westphalia who - towards the end of the 17th century - worked in Venice). Another marble portrait, a bas-relief of Giovanni Maria Morlaiter (1699–1780), for another war hero of the Serenissima, Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg , was later placed in the arsenal . The burial took place in Stade on January 19 or 29, 1691.


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