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Who Do You Think You Are, Klaus von dem Eberbach?

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Intro – or Why the heck are you doing this crazy thing?

It all started back in 2010 when, during the process of plotting a historical AU with the Eroica characters (the Scarlet Pimpernel fusion), I realized that I needed to know precisely where Klaus fit into the Habsburg family and also where a certain painting would be located at that point in time.  I also realized just how intriguing Klaus’ background is, even for a fictional character.  Dorian is interesting too, too, but for different reasons: there has never been an earldom of that name which allows for many possibilities as far as family and location of Gloria are concerned.  But Klaus comes from a real city, Eberbach, and has stated (if vague) connections to a real historical family, and that makes his background intriguing in a different way.  So, since I am an amateur genealogist, I decided to approach this as I have done my own family tree, and try to track down answers these questions:

  • Where did the von dem Eberbachs come from?
  • How is Klaus connected to Tyrian Persimmon?
  • How is Klaus’ family connected to the Habsburgs?

I hope you enjoy the results of my “investigation” as much as I did.  Your mileage may vary.  I would be delighted to hear other thoughts in the comments section.


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Research Project Part 1: the von dem Eberbach family

A.  Bonn or Eberbach – Where is the Schloss?

The surname itself “from the Eberbach” indicates that the family is/was connected to a place called Eberbach.   There are three options: Eberbach Cloister, Eberbach city, and/or Eberbach castle.  Eberbach Cloister on the Rhine river is the least likely: although it is closer to Bonn, they do not use the boar as a symbol.  Therefore, the city of Eberbach – and its ruined castle – are the most likely for the origin of the family.  In the early days of the fandom, it appears that writers assumed the Schloss Klaus lived in was Eberbach Castle which posed a question - namely, does Klaus drive 165 miles to work every day?   Many writers solved that conundrum by giving him an apartment in Bonn, but that idea seems to have disappeared, probably because there is no indication that Klaus has multiple homes.  So by a process of elimination, the Schloss where Klaus resides is in/near Bonn.  However, canon indicates a connection between Klaus’ family and the city of Eberbach, as the boar is a prominent symbol in both.[1]   This is not a big stumbling block, as many families had to relocate during the decades of war waged in the area.  So for the purpose of this investigation, we will assume that the family was originally from the city of Eberbach and relocated to Bonn long enough ago for them to have quite an impressive old Schloss to call home. 


Side-trip # 1: Genealogical notes: What’s in a name?

The use of “von dem” instead of “von” is a bit unusual, as it is literally translated “from the” and generally is used in surnames that reference a geographic feature – a lake or river, for example, as in ‘von dem Bruck”.  However, its usage is more common in the area of Germany formerly called Prussia, as with the von dem Knesebeck family from the city of Knesebeck.[2]   This might indicate Prussian influence at some point along the family tree. 


B.  Eberbach – city and castle: A historical overview

For those who haven’t already looked it up, here is a brief overview of the city and its history.  Eberbach is 33 km (19 m) east of Heidelberg. [3]   The city was originally an Imperial Free City, founded in 1227 by King Henry VII of Germany after he received the fief from the Bishop of Worms.  In 1330, the city was acquired by the County Palatine of the Rhine [4] and it remained in the Palatinate until 1803.  The city and surrounding areas suffered great hardships during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) [especially the Spanish Incursion (1621-25), the Swedish Occupation (1630-1635), and the Plague of 1635], the Seven Years' War (1754-1761), and the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802). In 1803, Eberbach and the other Palatinate holdings on the east bank of the Neckar passed to the control of Baden, and it has remained part of that territory ever since.  After 1806, the city began to thrive again, becoming a magnet for tourists, including the parents of Queen Victoria of England (legend says that she was conceived in the historic Haus Thalheim).

The castle (3 separate castles, actually) was started after 1175, with the middle castle built around 1200 and the rear after King Henry took possession around 1227.  It was a bailiwick of the Palatinate, used (along with other such castles) to protect holdings along the Neckar river.  In 1402, the castle and town were given to Hans von Hirschhorn (see below), but he didn't keep the castle for long: a year after he was given the castle, he obtained permission to demolish it and use the stones for building projects in the city.  The castle remained in ruins until the early twentieth century, when the ruins were exposed and excavated. 


C.  The von Hirschhorn family

The von Hirschhorn family was prominent in the history of the Neckar area.  The founder of the von Hirschhorn family, Johann, was a younger son of another prominent line - the von Steinachs.  He took the name von Hirschhorn when he was given the city of Hirschhorn in 1250, and he began building the castle there between 1250-60.  His descendants increased the family's lands and influence, and his great-grandson Hans V (more below) brought even more wealth and lands under their control.  Hans V and his brothers, Albrecht and Eberhard, enlarged Hirschhorn castle and also founded a Carmelite monastery below it. 

During the 16th century, the Reformation wrought dramatic changes in the region and in the von Hirschhorn family.  Graf Johann IX converted to Protestantism, following the lead of the Elector Palatine, and closed down the Carmelite monastery in 1543.  During the Thirty Years War, Graf Frederic III fled to Heilbronn with his family but both he and his young son died there in 1632.  Frederic was possibly survived by an infant daughter, Maria Katharina (born 1632, subsequent history unknown), and definitely by his cousin's daughter, Maria Elisabeth (born 1598, married Lothar von Eltz, died 1655 with one daughter), but there was no male issue from any branch.  Thus ended the von Hirschhorn family, and with it, any nobility even remotely connected to Eberbach.


D. Hans von Hirschhorn – a Knight for his times

Graf Hans V von Hirschhorn was quite an interesting person.  He was a descendant of Charlemagne on his father’s side.  Through his mother’s line, he was related to many of the royal families of Europe: 5th cousin to Frederich II of Austria, and 6th cousin once removed to Henry V of England, Rupert of Germany, Frederick IV of Austria & Tyrol, Philippe of Burgundy, Isabella of Portugal, and John II of Castile. (See Chapter 5, Family Trees)  He was employed by Rupert when he was Count Palatine as an advisor, diplomat, and financier.   When Rupert became King of Germany in 1400, Hans became a Royal Messenger and performed several diplomatic missions that took him to the English court.  Henry V held him in such high esteem that he granted him a lifelong annuity of 100 marks.  There is, in fact, a book about Hans, although I have not yet read it.[5]     He extended the family holdings and forged bonds with noble families in the area through the marriages of his children.  This last bit is especially important for my speculations into the von dem Eberbachs.


Side-trip #2: Interesting Historical (and Romantic) note

One of the myths/legends of the area concerns both the von Hirschhorn and von Steinach families (who you will remember from above are related).  The Count of Lauffen had a beautiful daughter named Rose.  She was engaged to Ulrich von Steinach at ten, but he went off to the Crusades and was presumed dead.  Rose fell in love with Wolf von Hirschhorn, a distant cousin of Ulrich, and they were engaged.  Ulrich's father and his knights came to the wedding, and in a drunken moment, Rose's father promised to give her back to Ulrich if he should return alive from the Crusades before the wedding.  As the wedding party arrived at the church, Ulrich showed up and demanded his bride.  Wolf challenged him to a duel and was mortally wounded.  However, Ulrich didn't gain his bride: in grief and despair, Rose threw herself from the parapet of the castle.  This legend is reinacted in Dilsberg in a play, and is commemorated in the third movement of “Postcards from Dilsberg” (

No doubt, Dorian would find that tragically romantic.


E: Eberbach and War

The Palatinate – of which Eberbach was a part from its inception until 1803 - was devastated by the Thirty Years' War.  The war started when the Elector Palatine was declared ruler of Bohemia, in an effort to solidify Protestant holdings.  The Palatinate was invaded by Spain and Austria (Catholic side) to take back the throne of Bohemia, and then by Sweden (Protestant retaliation) to kick out the Spanish & Austrian forces.  Many castles and ruling families were wiped out by the fighting and the diseases that accompanied them, including the von Hirschhorn and von Steinach families.  The town of Hirschhorn itself went from a thriving population of over 4,000 to only 200 people by the end of the wars, and Eberbach and the surrounding towns were similarly devastated. 

After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Charles Louis (Protestant, son of the disposed Elector) inherited the lower part of the Palatinate and both he and his son worked to rebuild the area.  However, his son, Charles II, died without children and was succeeded by a distant cousin, Philip William of Neuberg, a Catholic.  Philip had 17 children, and among them were:

  • Eleanor Madeleine, married Leopold I of Austria – present house of Habsburg descended from her
  • Dorothea Sophie, married Odoardo Farnese and was mother of Elizabeth Farnese, future Queen of Spain. Odoardo was the great-grandson of Alexander Farnese, discussed in the chapter on Tyrian.

However, the male line of this family also died out, and the lands of the Electoral Palatinate came into the possession of another branch of the family, that of Philip William, Elector of Bavaria, in 1777, uniting the Wittelsbach family possessions for the first time in centuries.  These lands stayed united until the realignment of the German states in 1803. (see this map for a view of the various German states during history- ).  At that time, the Palatinate was divided into parts: the west bank of the Neckar/Rhine became a part of the Kingdom of Bavaria until after World War II when it became part of the new Rhineland-Palatinate, and the eastern part of the territory (including Eberbach) became part of Baden. 


Side-trip #3: The Catholic Question

In the mid-1500s, the Elector Palatine (and the von Hirschhorns) converted to Protestantism and the Palatinate remained staunchly in the Calvinist camp for the next 135 years until the end of that branch of the Wittelsbach line.  However, not all the noble families of the area converted (see Philip of Neuberg above) and it is possible that if there had been an Eberbach branch of the von Hirschhorn family, it might have retained its close ties with the Church and remained Catholic.

The Reformation and the wars that spun off of it shaped the towns around Eberbach - and also left the area devastated and denuded of nobility following the Peace of 1648.  The restored Elector filled this void with new inhabitants from Lorraine, Tyrol, Switzerland, and other surrounding areas, as well as allies from England and the Protestant Netherlands.  When Charles' son died and the Catholic Neuberg branch of the family took possession, they again filled the void left by subsequent wars with aristocracy from holdings in Bavaria.  The area, which had been in the Protestant camp for over 100 years, now swung firmly over the other way, and remained largely Catholic for the next 250 years.


Summary: Options for our Eberbachs

So, what does all this mean for Major Klaus von dem Eberbach, as far as his roots are concerned?  Well, first of all, a little revisionist history is called for.  In order to have a Graf von dem Eberbach, as there must have been at some point in time, the city of Eberbach – with or without a castle – must have been governed by von dem Eberbachs.  Possible revisionist options are:

  • Eberbach was kept as one of the family's secondary holdings (as with Ersheim and Zwingenberg). When the last male member of the family died in 1648, the 100 family holdings were dispersed.  It is possible that the daughter, Maria Katherina, survived and married, bringing a few holdings into the marriage including Eberbach, starting the von dem Eberbach line.
  • Eberbach was given to one of Hans' younger children shortly after he received it in 1402. This new branch took on the name of von dem Eberbach, as the von Hirschhorn branch did when splitting from the von Steinach line.  This fictional family branch survived through the various wars, until they ended up in Bonn (see below).

While I haven't been able to locate a von dem Eberbach in genealogical documentation, there is one very interesting von Eberbach that could tie in with the second option: Heinrich Peiger von Eberbach (?-1450) married Magdalena von Hohen-geroldseck (1421-?).   Although I have been unable to locate any further information about Heinrich, Magdalena’s family records have survived.  The von Hohen-geroldseck family was one of the prominent families in nearby Baden, so Heinrich Peiger von Eberbach must have also come from a prominent local family.  It is possible that this von Eberbach might be related to either the town and/or the von Hirschhorn family at the right period in time.  Since the von Hirschhorn family was already connected to Eberbach at this time period, and since we know Hans V had many children, it is possible that Heinrich Peiger von Eberbach was a son of Hans V, and that he was given the town of Eberbach to govern.  The marriage between Heinrich and Magdalena didn't produce any documented children, but if it had, this could have been a start for our Klaus.    

In any case, at some point in history – real or revisionist - the castle at the town of Eberbach was destroyed and the family moved to Bonn.  If the second theory is used and there is a von dem Eberbach family in residence from 1402 onward, then there are lots of times when the castle could have been destroyed (see the section on Eberbach and War).  During the Thirty Years' War, in particular, the area was devastated, and even if the castle survived the initial invasion by the Spanish and Austrian armies, the counter-invasion by the Swedes would have finished them off.  The Swedish armies alone destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany.  All the nobility in the area fled: the Protestants to the larger towns in the area, to Holland, or England, and the Catholics either south to Bavaria or north to Cologne.  It is this option that interests me in particular, as at that time, the capital of the (very Catholic) Electorate of Cologne was Bonn.  Thus we could have the von dem Eberbachs arriving in Bonn by 1635 and settling there for the next three hundred years – certainly long enough to build a new ancestral home, the current von dem Eberbach Schloss.


My conclusions

In my revisionist corner of the world, Hans V von Hirschhorn had a son, Heinrich Peiger von Eberbach, who was given the city and castle of Eberbach upon his marriage to the daughter of the influential von Hohen-geroldseck family.  They had a child, either a son who carried on the Eberbach name, or a daughter who married another prominent scion (see Chapter 4 on the Habsburg research) and started the von dem Eberbach branch.  The family thrived there for the next two hundred years, until the Reformation Wars started.  At some point during the Thirty Years’ War, the family took refuge in Bonn where they have remained till this day.  It is possible that they retained ties with the town of their origin, or even derived part of their income from the city until more recent times.

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Research Project Part 2: Tyrian Persimmon

From El Halcon #1:

Isabella "Look here, Tyrian.  This is your grandmother.  During the time of Queen Mary, your grandmother from the Farnese family in Toledo married into an English family."

Gerard Peru – "My mother came to England together with her [the grandmother].  She still talks about the orange groves of the Farnese family."


Part 1: Tyrian’s Ancestry

Little is known about Tyrian's background beyond what is said above.  We know that he was born in September of 1561, which means we can estimate that his mother was born in the early to mid 1540s (based on being <20 & >14 at the time of his birth: 1561-20=1541, 1561-14=1547).  We know that his grandmother was of the Farnese family of Toledo, and she married an English lord during Queen Mary's time.  However, there are just a few problems:

Problem #1 – The Farnese family in Spain

  • The Farnese family was very prominent in Italy - not Spain. They boasted several popes and cardinals from their lineage, and carved out the Duchy of Parma due to their political connections.  They were famous condottiero, leading many important armies, including Papal ones. 
  • The first Farnese to be mentioned in connection with Spain is Alexander (Alessandro) Farnese, Duke of Parma, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, and he was heavily involved with the Spanish Armada. It is probably this Farnese that the author was thinking about when she chose the name, and it is possible that we'll learn more as the story is translated.  (Anyone who has read the full stories of El Halcon and Seven Seas, Seven Skies and has more detail beyond what is here - - let me know? I have read the translations by PP 1-3, and I have SSSS in Japanese but can only stare at the pictures.)  It is also possible that the infamous letter from the Duke of Paloma in SSSS, the one that sends Luminous Red’s father to the gallows, is a reference to the actual Duke of Parma, who was Alexander Farnese, and would have been at least distantly related to Tyrian.
  • However Alexander Farnese was only a small bit Spanish (1/8): he was mostly German and Flemish (his mother) and Italian (his father). His connection to Spain was through his mother, Margaret of Austria, who was the illegitimate daughter of Emperor Charles V – a Habsburg – by a Flemish serving woman and thus half-sister to Philip II of Spain.  She was raised in the Netherlands by her aunts, who were Governors of the Netherlands.  She married Ottavio Farnese (an Italian), although the marriage was not particularly successful, and spent much of her life in service to her half-brother as Governor of the Netherlands.  
  • However, Alexander was brought up in Spain, in Toledo, with his cousins, Don Carlos and Don John. It was hoped that this would make his father, the previous Duke of Parma, more sympathetic to Spanish causes, given the family's link to the Pope – and it worked, as they were influential in preventing the Pope from granting Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon.  However, Alexander wasn't born till 1545, which would make him roughly the same age as Tyrian's mother, and thus a possible cousin to her and/or Tyrian.  Prior to Alexander, there were no documented Farneses living in Toledo.
  • The only other Farnese associated with Spain is Elizabeth Farnese, great-great-granddaughter of Alexander – and thus, way outside our timeline since she was born in 1692, almost 100 years later. She married the king of Spain, and as such is the ancestress of many current royal families. 

Solution to #1

The only real viable solution is to postulate that a Farnese further up the family tree moved to Spain for some reason. 

  • The Farnese family must have been settled in Spain after 1319 but before 1500, if Tyrian’s grandmother was born and grew up in Toledo prior to moving to England.  Before then, the Farnese family did not exist by that name; in 1319 they moved to Tuscany and acquired Farnese, Ischia di Castro, and the castles of Sala and San Savino, as well as the Farnese name.
  • One of the most likely candidates for founding the Spanish branch of the Farnese family is a brother of Ranuccio Farnese il Vecchio.
    1. Ranuccio (1390-1450) is considered the founder of the Italian Farnese family fortunes. He and his siblings were born on Ischia, an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea (30 miles from Naples). 
    2. Ranuccio was a condottiero, as was his father.  If he had any brothers, they would have (by family tradition) either been soldiers or in the Church. 
    3. Ischia was fought over by many, many rulers. During the time period in question, Naples ruled it but then in 1422, Queen Joan II of Naples gave the island to her adoptive son, Alfonso V of Aragon.  They had a big falling out in 1424 and she took the island back.
    4. Toledo is in Castile and not Aragon, however Alfonso married Maria, Princess of Castile in 1415.  So there is a connection between Ischia (and the Farneses) and Naples, between Naples and Aragon, and finally between Aragon and Castile.
  • Going along with this theory, what we can create is a brother of Ranuccio Farnese in the employ of Queen Joan of Naples, from whence he went to the Aragon court of her adoptive son in the early 1400s.  After 1415 He could have married one of the new queen's ladies-in-waiting, and at some point he & his wife returned to his wife's family home in Toledo, settled there to grow oranges, thus founding the Farnese family in Spain.


Problem #2 – Queen Mary

  • Mary was Queen from 1553 to 1558, for 5 years, and Tyrian was born 4 years after her death. If Isabella's mother married her English lord during this time, that's only 9 years for her to have Isabella and for Isabella to become old enough to have Tyrian.  Now, unless Isabella was 8 when Tyrian was born, the timeline is impossible.
  • It's possible that the author meant when Catherine of Aragon was Queen, and that Isabella's mother came to the English court as one of her ladies-in-waiting during her marriage to Arthur or Henry.  Isabella’s mother would have been born no earlier than 1501 (1541-40=1501) and no later than 1532 (1546-14=1532).  If we go with a middle-ground of around 1516, she would have been in her mid-to-late 20s when Isabella was born.  As Catherine was divorced in 1533 and could not have taken on any new ladies-in-waiting after that time period, Isabella’s mother must have come to England and married her lord prior to 1533.  If she was born between 1501 and 1516, she would have been between 17 & 32 when she married, certainly possible, although they would have waited for at least 8 years to have their daughter, Isabella.  Possible – there could have been children before Isabella who died.  Still, this relies on canon being slightly wrong.
  • Another option is that Isabella's mother came to England after 1537, as part of Princess (not Queen) Mary's new household. From 1533 to 1537, following the divorce of her parents, Mary had lived as a virtual prisoner, but following Jane Seymour's death in 1537, Henry allowed Mary more freedom, including her own royal palaces and entourage.  She was able to bring in new ladies-in-waiting, and it would be realistic for them to have come from her mother’s home, Spain.  This gives us a wider window: from 1537 when Mary was given more freedom until 1558 when she died.  Isabella’s mother could have easily married her lord between 1540 and 1546, to have Isabella sometime between 1541 & 1547. 


Summary to Part 1

So to summarize, for this part of Tyrian’s history to be feasible, one of the Farnese sons came to Spain in the early to mid 1400s, to the Court of Aragon.  This Farnese married a noblewoman from the Queen's kingdom of Castile, and settled down there on an estate outside Toledo with orange groves.  Several generations later, a daughter, born between 1501 and 1532, went to England after 1537 to be a lady-in-waiting to Princess Mary, along with Gerard Peru's mother.  She married an English lord, gave birth to Isabella sometime between 1541 and 1547, who later married Lord Edlington, had an affair with Gerard, and gave birth to Tyrian in 1562. 


Part 2: Tyrian as an Eberbach Ancester

Dorian: "The man dressed in purple?  Tyrian Persimmon? Is he your ancestor?"

Yes, Tyrian is Klaus' ancestor – it is canon.  So, how did that happen?  How did a part-Spanish, part-English pirate captain who died during the Spanish Armada end up as an ancestor to a very German aristocratic family? 


Item #1 - The Woman

Obviously at some point, Tyrian had a dalliance with a woman who didn't immediately die, and she produced a child that later married one of the Eberbach ancestors.  But when and where?  There are a number of possibilities but we can make a few suppositions: 1) it was not a woman in England, 2) she was from a respectable family but not of very high birth, and 3) the woman must have thought kindly of Tyrian, or at least didn’t hate his guts.


  • If the woman was English, then the child would have been raised as English since Tyrian left for Spain as a traitor. So how would this child and a von dem Eberbach have hooked up?  A Protestant Eberbach might have fled to England during the Thirty Years' War but not a Catholic one.  And further, how would the portrait have been passed on?  One would think that a painting in England of a notorious Spy and Traitor would have been destroyed, not passed on as a family heirloom.  So she was either someone Tyrian met while a spy – in the Spanish Netherlands – or a woman he met while in Spain prior to the Armada sailing.  
  • She had to have been from an aristocratic line or their descendant wouldn't have married a von dem Eberbach.  Even without the Habsburg link, the von Hirschhorn family was well-connected across Europe, and the Eberbach branch would have been equally connected.   It is unlikely that a von dem Eberbach would have married a commoner. 
  • A young ship captain who was also an English spy can't have been considered a great catch, even if he was related to the Farnese family (and possibly a 6th cousin to Alexander Farnese), so it is unlikely that he would have been offered marriage to a high-born young lady, unless Alexander Farnese had either taken a liking to his distant cousin or wanted to secure his loyalty. There is always the possibility that Tyrian seduced her, like Penelope.  However, it would have been risky to alienate himself from the very people he was trying to get an "in" with.  It is also doubtful that she was a von dem Eberbach because at this time they were twenty years away from the start of the Thirty Years' devastation and no doubt sitting comfortably snug in their castle in southern Germany.  So either the young lady was an acknowledged illegitimate daughter of a prominent family, like Alexander Farnese’s own mother had been, or she was a legitimate daughter of a less prominent family.
  • The Painting. A flattering (if you ignore Klaus' comments) portrait of Tyrian Persimmon exists.  It could have been commissioned by Tyrian, or by someone who wanted to have his image preserved – such as a wife or a mistress.  It was probably painted in the Spanish Netherlands or Spain, as it is unlikely that Tyrian paused to grab a painting as he fled from England.  And since it didn’t go to the bottom of the ocean with him, he must have left it with someone on shore.  Since it was kept and became part of a private family collection, instead of reduced to kindling or used for target practice, the person holding the painting must have had kind feelings for Tyrian.  Okay, it's possible that this unknown woman kept the painting so she could point it out to Tyrian’s bastard child and say "That's your son-of-a-bitch father", but it would have been much easier to lose it, destroy it, leave it behind, or give it away.  (Believe me – I've been divorced, I know how easy that is!)  Instead, the painting ended up in the heart of Germany, ergo, it must have been brought into the family with a descendant’s dowry.

So, based on the conjectures above, the mother of Tyrian's child was probably a woman from noble family whom he met in Spain or the Spanish Netherlands.  Spain seems more likely as there was an entire year between his arrival there and his sailing off with the Armada, so there would have been time, although there is no hint from what I can see in the manga that he was married or even having an affair with a woman while in Spain (he seems to brood and hang around with Nicholas, from what I can tell by looking at the pictures).  However, it is possible that – as a means to advance himself, which he had done in the past with Penelope – he allied himself to a noble  woman, probably in marriage.  In any case, it is also likely the child was posthumous since there is no hint of a child before the fateful voyage.


Side-trip #1: An interesting idea

Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, grandson of Charles V (a Habsburg), nephew of King Philip II of Spain, was a possible 6th cousin of Tyrian through his Farnese grandmother.  Alexander Farnese is possibly identified in the manga as the Duke of Paloma instead of Parma, in which case Tyrian knew him because he used a letter from Paloma to frame Benedict as a traitor.   Alexander was the father of three legitimate children and had at least one acknowledged illegitimate daughter (who lived in the Spanish Netherlands).  Before his military career started, Alexander attended the University of Alcala de Henares in Toledo and was a noted womanizer, even “teaching” his younger cousin, Don John.  It is possible that he sired an illegitimate daughter during this time, one who would have then been about Tyrian's age.  Since Tyrian had heard stories about his Farnese ancestors from the time he was a child and dreamed of their orange groves in Spain, I imagine that allying himself back to the Farnese family would have been an irresistible impulse.  (And he didn't resist any of his impulses!)  The fact that this daughter would have been part Habsburg, great-grand-daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, grand-niece to the Kings of Spain and Austria, and niece to two prominent Cardinals would have been another draw – and we've seen him take advantage of the connections of other women he'd seduced, namely Penelope.  At somewhere between 23 and 26, she would have been more of a woman of the world, and the attentions of a handsome and ambitious young captain might have been welcomed by her.  Married?  Maybe, or maybe not, but I think that in either case, the child would have had the Farnese last name, not Persimmon or Edlington since Tyrian hated both of his "fathers". 


Item #2: Getting to Eberbach

So how did Tyrian’s child, or the descendants of Tyrian’s child, get to Germany and marry into one of the prominent families of the Palatinate?  There are a number of ways that are plausible, particularly during the upheaval caused by all the Reformation Wars.  If Tyrian’s offspring was born in the Spanish Netherlands, it is possible that his descendants came into contact with the von dem Eberbachs during the wars of the 17th through early 19th centuries, when either (or both) families relocated for safety.  Also, depending on the social status of the Flemish woman’s family, there could have been an arranged marriage between the families.  It would be hard to pinpoint when in time this could have occurred, but anywhere after the von dem Eberbach family relocated to Bonn would be feasible.

Alternately, it is possible that a von dem Eberbach daughter was in attendance at the court of the Spanish Netherlands while Tyrian was a spy, and she then bore Tyrian's child, but there are a number of strikes against that - 1) since Tyrian was a spy and supposedly a loyal Englishman, he wouldn't have been visibly hanging around the Court, which would have made it hard for him to meet such a woman, 2) it is doubtful that they would have married, and if she had turned up pregnant by an English sailor, no doubt her family would have hushed it up and married her off to someone else, so it's doubtful they'd have Tyrian's portrait on the wall.

It is easier to fix a point in time if Tyrian produced a child with a Spanish woman while waiting for the Armada.  Assuming the offspring was a son born posthumously in 1588, he would have been in his early thirties when Spain entered the Thirty Years' War in 1621.  A young nobleman, distantly connected to the Farnese family and inheriting Tyrian’s ambitious nature, would have found a natural home in Spain’s military.  During the Thirty Year’s War, Spanish troops invaded Germany and ended up taking control of – you guessed it – the Electoral Palatinate, the very territory where Eberbach was located.  The Spanish settled in, and alliances with residing Catholic aristocracy would have been politically advantageous for both sides.  Tyrian’s son might have married a von dem Eberbach daughter or, more likely since the von dem Eberbach name carried on, Tyrian's granddaughter was married to a von dem Eberbach son.  If Tyrian's son married and produced a daughter between 1605-1607, she would have been 14-16 in 1621 when the Spanish settled in the Palatinate, a perfect age for marriage to an Eberbach heir.  Then, as said in Part 1 of this research, when the Swedish armies came through to muck things up in 1630-35, the von dem Eberbach family fled to the safety of Bonn with their valuables - including a portrait of Grandfather Tyrian - and built a new home there, to be passed down to their descendants. 


Summary to Part 2

So, to summarize this part, at some point in time, Tyrian’s dalliances (or marriage) with a woman of minor nobility, possibly illegitimate, living in Spain or the Spanich Netherlands, produced a child.  This woman also retained the infamous “Pumpkin Pants” painting, which was then passed on to the von dem Eberbach family when Tyrian’s descendent married into them.  Although this event could have occurred at any point from about 1621 onward, it is likely that the marriage between the two branches took place during the Spanish occupation of the Palatinate, prior to the von dem Eberbachs relocating to Bonn.

My personal theory?  Tyrian’s dalliance was with an illegitimate daughter of Alexander Farnese attached to the Spanish court (and great-niece of the King of Spain), possibly named Isabella - Alexander had a legitimate daughter named Margherita and an illegitimate one named Isabella Margherita, and since the family liked to recycle names, it is feasible to think he already had an earlier illegitimate daughter named Isabella.  And Tyrian would have fallen like a ton of bricks for a woman named Isabella Farnese, given his obsession with the Farnese family and his mother (also named Isabella).  Isabella gave birth to a son following Tyrian’s demise with the Armada, possibly named Tyrian (depending on how kindly she felt towards Tyrian), or Alessandro or Ottavio, which were Farnese family names.  Tyrian/Alessandro/Ottavio Farnese was brought up on the fringes of the Spanish court, joining the Spanish Army and becoming part of the occupying forces in the Palatinate in 1621.  Captain Farnese, by reason of his ties with the Spanish Court, became a part of the Palatinate social structure as he would have been a 3rd cousin to the ruler, Maximilian I of Bavaria.  He was then able to arrange a marriage between his daughter and a von dem Eberbach son (Hans V von Hirschhorn’s 6th great-grandson).  When the Swedish forces took over, the young couple fled to Bonn as stated above.


Chapter Text

Research Project Part 3: Habsburgs in the Eberbach tree


"Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach.  I am the present head of the Eberbach family, a German branch of the Hapsburgs."

So the Major’s family is not only from German aristocracy, they have a link to one of the oldest still existing dynasties.  So how did that come about?

There are a few things to consider when looking at the Habsburgs (see the Habsburg Family Tree ) First of all, following Charles V (also known as Charles I of Spain), the family began dangerously inbreeding, such as marrying nieces and first cousins.  This led to  extreme deformities and infertility .  The closer you stay to Charles V's ancestors, the better off you are, genetically speaking.  This means prior to 1500.  Alternately, if you wish to cross your fingers and hope for the best (or use this genetic problem to explain why both Klaus and his father appear to be only children), then you can look at some of the more modern off-shoots of the Habsburgs, which I will explore below.

First, however, is an option that I’ve seen explored in a few stories, in that Tyrian married/sired into the Habsburg line or was himself related.


Possibility #1: Through Tyrian, by Blood or Marriage

The Farnese line is connected to the Habsburgs through the marriage of Margaret of Austria (daughter of Charles V) to Ottavio Farnese.  However, as detailed in Part 2, it is hard to determine just how closely blood-related Tyrian is to the predominant Farnese of his time, Alexander Farnese, the son of Margaret and Ottavio.  If the genealogical lines were close to what I described in that section, then Tyrian and Alexander are 5th cousins once removed, and the closest Tyrian would be to a Habsburg is 4th cousin twice removed.  Personally, I don’t think that’s close enough for Klaus to be claiming to be from a branch of the Habsburgs.

If Tyrian allied with a Habsburg, such as an illegitimate daughter of Alexander Farnese, that puts them closer into the Habsburg line.  It would make Tyrian’s son or daughter a great-great-granddaughter of Charles V, and as such, a twig off a branch of the Habsburg tree.  However, that would all be centered in Spain, so the claim to be a German branch of the Habsburgs is kind of pale.


Possibility #2: Through the Hirschhorn/Eberbach line

This is actually more likely, as it would give a direct German connection to the Habsburgs – and when Klaus says that, it is clear that others in positions of power (like his boss) know about this connection.

  • If the von dem Eberbach family sprung from Hans V von Hirschhorn, then there is a tentative connection to the Habsburgs built in. Hans was related, in some form or fashion, to nearly all the royal families of the time, and was a 7th cousin to the Habsburgs of his time period, particularly Frederick III of Austria, the Holy Roman Emperor.  His second wife, Yolanda, was herself the 4th cousin to the Emperor’s wife, Eleanore of Portugal through the Plantagenet line.  However, while this is close, is it really close enough to be considered a German branch of the Habsburgs?  Not likely.
  • If you look at Hans’ descendants, particularly our fictional branch descending from one of Hans’s sons inheriting Eberbach, then you have a number of possibilities to seed in an equally fictitious Habsburg. A strong possibility is through Frederick IV of Austria (1382-1439), or his son, Sigismund of Tyrol (1427-1496)
    • Their branch of the Habsburgs died out because Sigismund had no legitimate children from either of his two marriages, although both men had a number of illegitimate ones.  From then on, the Habsburg line was mostly concentrated in Austria and Spain, making the possibility of marriage to a minor German count less likely.
    • If you factor in the von Hohen-geroldseck connection, you get an even better possibility. The Hohen-geroldseck family was heavily involved with silver mining, and this family helped Frederick IV turn around the family fortunes through silver mining in Tyrol.  And, as I postulated in Part 1, it is possible that the von dem Eberbach family sprang from a fictitious child to the marriage between Heinrich Pieger von Eberbach and Magdalena von Hohen-geroldseck.
    • If a child from of the Eberbach/Hohen-geroldseck marriage was married to a child of either Frederick or Sigismund, then their child would have been 1st cousin to Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and founder of the main Habsburg line.  This, I believe, would be close enough to be considered a German branch of the Habsburgs.


Possibility #3: In more Modern Times

Of course, since it is mentioned by Klaus as if commonly known, it is possible that the connection to the Habsburgs is more recent.  This would have to be the Habsburg-Lorraine line, since the main Habsburg line died out.    And as this line is descended from Maria Theresa of Austria and Francis I of Lorraine, they appear to have skirted the genetic problems of the earlier branches of the family.  This would make any liaison between the Habsburgs and Eberbachs date from the mid-1700s, contemporary with both the French and American revolutions.  Certainly this is close enough in time to be common-knowledge among those who know Klaus’s family. 

A starting point for finding a modern Habsburg is Leopold II (1747-1792 ) who had sixteen children, some of whom died without issue and thus could be “revised” into the family.  However, this would be 100 years after a theoretical move from Eberbach to Bonn, making the connection to the city – and therefore the name “von dem Eberbach” more tenuous.  If they already had the name, then it would be the case of either a Habsburg daughter marrying a von dem Eberbach son, or a Habsburg son marrying into the Eberbach line but taking his wife’s name.  I would not call either case being a “branch of the Habsburg line”, but it might work at a stretch. 


Summary to Part 3: Habsburgs in the Eberbach tree

The research leaves multiple options, depending on how you want to interpret the connection.  Personally, I like the idea of Tyrian having a child with Alexander Farnese’s illegitimate daughter, and that daughter marrying into the von dem Eberbachs, who were formed when an illegitimate son of Frederick IV (Habsburg) married Heinrich Peiger’s daughter.  I have drawn out a family tree illustrating how that looks in the next chapter on Family Trees, for those who are interested. 

Chapter Text

Klaus's possible Habsburg genealogy

Klaus's chart


Tyrian Persimmon's possible family tree:

Tyrian's tree

Other trees - historical (and large)

Hans V von Hirschhorn -

Farnese tree -