Vlad Dracula


VLAD DRACULA
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Vlad Dracula

When most of us think of Dracula, we picture capes and fangs that accompany many a Halloween costume. These depictions of Dracula stem from today’s movies and books that have made Dracula into a blood-sucking vampire. However, there is an actual Dracula that is the inspiration for all of these conventional theories. A vampire he was not but he was indeed a count. And although he was very cruel, the history of the real Count Dracula is less heard of.

Vlad Tepes was born in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania in December of 1431. When he was born his father, Vlad Dracul, was the military governor of Transylvania, appointed by the emperor Sigismund. A year prior to this time Vlad Dracul was welcomed into the Order of the Dragon. The Order began in 1387 and was a society committed to the military and religion. The Order was could be compared to a men’s club today that consisted of members that were passionate about preserving the Catholic religion and to fight against the Turks.

The Order is relevant in the story of Vlad Tepes because it provides an understanding of the word “Dracula,” which was originally “Dracul.” This name in Romanian means “Dragon” and those in Romania at the time and were aware of his membership to the Order began to call him Dracul. This name would later be passed on to the younger Vlad and he would come to be known by that name alone. The Order also provides explanation as to the black cape over top bright red dress that is so often a part of the Dracula costume. It was this dress that would be worn by the Order on Fridays or during a ceremony in honour of Christ’s Passion.

There were three provinces that made up Romania and Dracul became prince of one of these, Wallachia, in 1436. He relocated to the palace of Tirgoviste and Vlad Tepes lived there with his father for six years. In 1442, Dracula was taken as prisoner by the Turks and was held as prisoner for six years until 1448. His brother, Radu, was also taken prisoner however his brother was a prisoner until 1462. This was a very dark period for Dracula and it affected him greatly. Not only was he being held prisoner by those he loathed, he also learned in 1447 that his father had been killed by order of Vladislav II. His oldest brother, Mircea, was also tortured and killed during this time by the military of Tirgoviste.

When he was only seventeen years old, Vlad Tepes Dracula decided to aggressively pursue the throne of Wallachia. He did this through the support of the Turkish army and many other troops that were given to him by Mustafa Hassan. But only two months later the throne was won by someone else – Vladislav II. In July 1456, Dracula did take over power of the throne of Wallachia by killing his father’s assassin. It was then that Dracula began his six year reign in which he took part of many cruel punishments and other activities.

Dracula began seeking vengeance by capturing the armies of Tirgoviste as punishment for killing his father and brother. In 1459 on Easter Sunday, he arrested all of the families of those responsible. He impaled the older members of the group on stakes and commanded that those he did not kill immediately make the fifty-mile journey to the town of Poenari. Although the journey was exhausting, Dracula would not allow anyone to rest until they had reached the town. Once there, he then ordered that they build him a fortress that looked out onto the Arges River. There were many deaths over the course of construction and this made Dracula happy. For not only did it earn him respect but it also gave him a place to take refuge, should he ever need it. There are remains of this building left today and it is known as Castle Dracula.

After this, Dracula got the respect he had been seeking as stories of his punishments that included boiling, skinning, decapitating, hanging, burning, being buried alive, and many other grotesque and truly awful ways of torture spread throughout his country. His most favoured way of punishment however, was impalement and he became known as, “The Impaler Prince.”

In 1462, Dracula decided to attack the Turks. This move may not have been entirely thought out on Dracula’s part as the Turkish armies were much bigger and much stronger than his own. Although Dracula could boast many small victories in this invasion, the Sultan of Turkey decided to attack Wallachia with much more man-power than Dracula had. Vlad fled to the town of Tirgoviste but before leaving Wallachia, he poisoned his wells and burned his own villages to the ground so the Turks would be unable to find anything to eat or drink. When the Sultan arrived in Wallachia, he was also greeted by the sight of 20,000 Turkish prisoners impaled on stakes. This nightmarish scene has since been called, “The Forest of Impalement.”

The Sultan then, being very tired and having nothing to eat or drink, gave up and retreated. It was at this same time that Dracula’s wife killed herself by throwing herself from the top of the castle to avoid being captured by the Turks. Dracula did not wish to die but he also did not want to be taken prisoner and so he escaped using a secret passageway in the castle. It was at this time that he ran to Transylvania and met the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus. Dracula was hoping to find an ally but instead, the king arrested him and threw him in prison. In 1475, Dracula once again became the prince of Wallachia but his third reign did not last very long as he was assassinated in 1476. 


Vlad Dracula


Vlad Dracula

Vlad Dracula

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