Hardestadt the Elder was a renowned Ventrue elder who was already an established figure of power in the Holy Roman Empire during the Dark Ages. He is widely known as a leader during the founding of the Camarilla.
|“||The Roman scholar, Seneca, was incorrect. Unjust dominion can be eternal.||”|
|— Hardestadt the Elder|
The specific location from where Hardestadt originated is not known, although is somewhere around modern Bavaria. During the Dark Ages, Hardestadt was a prominent member of the clan, made more so by the fact that he had managed to survive the Nights of Fire relatively unscathed while many of his elders had fallen.
He was one of the Cainite monarchs of the great feudal realms that spanned the European continent, and ruled over the Fiefs of the Black Cross within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire as one of the harshest rulers of that period, enforcing the Sixth Tradition under the threat of Final Death.
For a long time, the elders of his clan supported him, believing Hardestadt to be free of the machinations of the Secret Masters, since his sire was supposedly destroyed. In 1242, hints of the continued existence of Hardestadt's sire surfaced and some came to doubt his independence from the Jyhad.
Hardestadt held no singular court, instead traveling from domain to domain, using his childer as representatives. His childe Jürgen, for example, served as his right-hand man in the Crusader States and in Livonia. This traveling court mirrored the tradition established by Charlemagne, while also allowing Hardestadt to avoid his numerous enemies and ensure that none of his childer would conspire against him. In later centuries, he was a member of the coterie dubbed the Founders, who shepherded the foundation of the Camarilla; as a result, Hardestadt himself is often thought of as the founder of the sect.
At the start of the Anarch Revolt, he was killed by a Brujah anarch, Tyler, who committed diablerie upon him. Subsequently, his eldest childe secretly took his identity, thus becoming Hardestadt the Younger, leading the charade that Tyler's attack on Hardestadt had failed.
His heraldic motto was Vincam etiam ab inferis ("Even From The Grave I Shall Conquer").