Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Geek! Baldwin Montclair

It's time for another Weekly Geek!  This time around, the subject of our ready-reference will be Baldwin Montclair.  Ok, we know he's an acquired taste, however his origins in the ancient world and his position as Philippe's right-hand man and favorite son make him very intriguing subject.

So, let's start at the beginning - with his name: Lucius Sigeric Benoit Christophe Baldwin de Clermont.

Lucius means luminous or light. It was a popular Roman name.  Philippe had a penchant for incorporating the theme of light or brightness into his naming schemes (but that's a topic for another day).   Sigeric is from Old High German sigu "victory" combined with rîcja "powerful, strong, mighty." The second element is also closely related to Celtic rîg or rix and Gothic reiks, which all mean "king, ruler." A fifth century Visigoth ruler bears this name. Is it our Baldwin? Only Deb knows for sure. Benoit is an old French name meaning "blessed' and is an equivalent to Benedict. Christophe is the French version of Christopher which means "to bear Christ".

St. Christopher
The patron saint of travelers is St. Christopher. Which brings us to the name we best know him by - Baldwin. It is an Anglo-Saxon name which means "brave, bold friend'. As Deb always says names are important, and every one Baldwin's has a positive connotation.

“Baldwin had been made a vampire in Roman times and had been Philippe’s favorite. They were cut from the same cloth—fond of war, women, and wine, in that order.”

His name Lucius ties directly to the fact that he was "made in Roman times". While Roman times covers from approximately 700 BC to until its fall in 476 AD, our daemon best guess would have Baldwin being turned by Philippe some time right around the start of the Imperial period. This daemon's favorite flight of fancy has Baldwin serving in one of Julius Caesar's legions during the Gallic war. Moreover, he may have been a member of the Gemini Legion which served in what is now known as the Auvergne under Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. In fact, only two common soldiers are mentioned in Caesar's commentaries – one is named Lucius Voranus. Coincidence?

As for his making, Deb was kind enough to share what attracted Philippe to him in a Reddit question-and-answer event.  As she explained it, Philippe offered to turn Baldwin because he was "a good guy" and he liked spending time with him.  It wasn't an offer made in extremis, rather Baldwin made the choice free of the threat of impending death. Couple that with the fact that they both love "war, women, and wine", it is easy to picture them forming a battlefield friendship as brothers in arms.

In The Book of Life, Baldwin describes himself as a soldier. It was also mentioned that he, along with the rest of the de Clermont family, worked for the resistance during World War II. Personally, it is easy to imagine him working with the underground against the Vichy government, which was based in the Auvergne. We suspect explosives were involved . . . 😉

We also learn in The Book of Life that he was involved with a female vampire named Eva Jaeger whose name is German for "life hunter". "Baldwin's Eva?" Matthew was stunned. "I haven't seen Eva since she discovered Baldwin's role in engineering the German stock market crash of 1911 and left him." The Agadir Crisis of 1911 which set the stage for World War I.

As we all know the de Clermonts and other vampire families were very involved in The Crusades. In fact, under the name of "Baldwin", our copper haired vampire posed as Ysabeau's father and son.  Baldwin III, son of Melisende and Fulk, was the Baldwin who kept Ysabeau prisoner. He was also most likely posing as Baldwin II, the father of Melisende, who married her off to Fulk. Finally, Baldwin of Boulogne participated in the First Crusade with his brothers, Godfrey of Boullion and Eustace III of Boulogne. We know that Godfrey is "our" Godfrey through the story of Benjamin's making, and that Eustace could very well be Hugh as both left Jerusalem - Hugh retreating to Spain and Eustace to France. Ysabeau's story about the 16 wagons treasure she accompanied from Constantinople to Antioch seem to tie Baldwin to Baldwin I of Constantinople, a participant in the Fourth Crusade. You get the idea.

Finally, our seemingly peripatetic vampire may have been instrumental in opening Japan to the West. We hear about one of his children in The Book of Life. Miyako, Baldwin's daughter, lived in the Hachioji district of Japan which is the location of a great battle (and haunted castle). In 1590, Hachioji Castle was besieged by a neighboring clan. 1300 warriors were able to hold off a force of 15000 because of the defensiblity of the castle. The castle was ultimately over run. Given the ferocity which is attributed to her, Miyako could have very likely been onna bugeisha (female warrior). The Europeans were trading with Japan by this time (weapons were highly sought after), so it is entirely possible that Baldwin could have been in the area at the time!

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!

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Post by J. Siska
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