Otto Christoph von Sparr

Otto Christoph Freiherr von Sparr (13 November 1599 or 1605 – 9 May 1668) was a Generalfeldmarschall of Brandenburg-Prussia.

A painting of him

Sparr came from a noble family from the Margraviate of Brandenburg. He was born either in Lichterfelde near Eberswalde in 1599 or Prenden near Bernau in 1605.

Sparr was an imperial officer during the Thirty Years' War. He campaignly mainly in northwestern Germany during the war, having a largely independent command in Westphalia. He besieged Essen in 1641 and fought near Stargard. Sparr was captured near Warendorf.

After the war in 1649, Sparr led the Electorate of Cologne's campaign against Liège; in December of that year he entered the service of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg.

The troops from the various territories of Elector Frederick William had traditionally been in separate commands. In 1651, the elector granted Sparr command over all garrison troops outside of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia; command over all of Brandenburg-Prussia's troops followed in 1655. Sparr acted as Frederick William's Chief of Staff when the elector personally led troops, such as at the 1656 Battle of Warsaw. During the final day of the battle, Generalfeldzeugmeister (Master of Ordnance) von Sparr led Brandenburg's successful assault on the Polish forces. He was promoted to Field Marshal in 1657.

Sparr fought against Sweden in 1658 and conquered the fortress of Demmin the following year. From 1663-64 he led Brandenburg's contingent in Hungary against the Ottoman Empire, for which he was named an imperial Generalfeldmarschall and Reichsgraf. His last command was the submission of Magdeburg in 1666.

Sparr was a proponent of artillery and pioneers. He also began to develop a group of officers into what became the General Staff.

Sparr died in Prenden in 1668. His tomb, designed by Artus Quellinus, is in Berlin's Marienkirche. In 1892, the Berlin suburb Wedding named the street Sprarrstraße (after 1897 Sparrplatz) after the field marshal.


Regarding personal names: Freiherr was a title before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Baron. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a legal class, titles preceded the full name when given (Graf Helmuth James von Moltke). Since 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), can be used, but are regarded as a dependent part of the surname, and thus come after any given names (Helmuth James Graf von Moltke). Titles and all dependent parts of surnames are ignored in alphabetical sorting. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.


  • Citino, Robert M. (2005). The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich. University Press of Kansas. p. 428. ISBN 0-7006-1410-9.
  • Fay, Sidney B.; Klaus Epstein (1964). The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia to 1786: Revised Edition. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 146.

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