Saturday, October 15, 2016

Vlad Dracula Biography (1431-1476)

 Vlad Tepes The Impaler known as Dracula (1431 - 1476)

Childhood of Vlad Tepes

It was born ( november 1431 ) in the city of Sighisoara in Transylvania. He was the son of Vlad II Dracul and Transylvanian noble Anastasia

The danger and insecurity haunted childhood Vlad Tepes. Destined to be the main character in his country's fight for independence from the Ottoman Turks, beginning of his life could hardly be more uncertain.

In 1431, his father, the pretender to the throne of Romania, was summoned to Nuremberg by Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor of the Germanic people. There was made a member of the Order of the Dragon, an unusual honor, asking that he and his followers to defend Christianity against the Turks.

Vlad II father of Vlad III Tepes 1400-1447 photo:

Young Vlad life has reserved the greatest hardship when, against the oath, his father signed a treaty of allegiance to the Turkish sultan and, as proof of good faith, left his recognizance as hostages sons, Vlad, six years, and his brother Radu. Without being able to resist, the boys were taken to the Turkish city of AdrianopolIn coming years, the two were kept in a state of great uncertainty in the court of the sultan lived with constant fear that they will be executed quickly, where their father, as expected, rebels against the Turks.

Radu the Handsome 1435-1475 Vlad Tepes brother 
Earlier captivity, Vlad's unhappiness was exacerbated by the conditions in which he was held, locked in a subterranean prison, with little food. Instead, his brother, Radu  who was a handsome boy, was converted to Islam and became one of the favorites Sultan.

For Vlad, this was a double betrayal: not only that his father taught him the enemy without fighting, but his brother had changed sides.

These events have undoubtedly contributed to the formation of vengeful character's later Vlad the Impaler; This has fueled his obsession for the division punishment of extreme cruelty to anyone who was suspected of infidelity.

Family and General Considerations

He was twice married: a noble from Transylvania and Ilona Szilagyi, ( Matthias Corvinus cousin. )He had three sons: Mihail , Vlad with first wife and Mihnea I the Bad with Ilona.

Mihnea I the Bad

During his reign, Country Romanian and obtained temporary independence from the Ottoman threat. Vlad the Impaler was famous because of his cruelty and because he was pulling enemies on a stake. On his order 41 men were impaled and 300 people were burned. 

Due to disputes with merchants of Brasov, they have characterized propaganda as a cruel ruler, though his cruelty was common in those days.

In 1453, the Byzantine Empire was replaced by the Ottoman Empire, that obtains control of Constantinople (now Istanbul Turkish name) that continue to besiege Europe. Finally, the Ottoman Empire end up controlling much of the Balkans (Serbia territories partially Hungary, partly Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia and Greece), expanding to the West stopping at the gates of Vienna, whose siege is rejected. 

Conquest of Constantinople 1453

In this historical context, Vlad the Impaler was a prince who fought to defend their kingdom and country against enemies using specific methods of deterrence era, which included executions and torture exemplary and intimidation.

Origin of the name "Dracula

Sigismund of Luxembourg
His father, Vlad II Dracul, was drawn into the Order of the Dragon nearly a year before. The order - which can be compared with the Order of Malta and the Teutonic Knights - was a military-religious society, whose foundations were laid in 1387 Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary (later Holy Roman Emperor) and the de- second wife, Barbara Cilli.

Badge/Insignia of The Hungarian Order of The Dragon photo
The dragon was the symbol of the Order. The main goals of such fraternal orders were to protect the interests of Catholicism and the crusade against the Ottoman Turks. Because it belongs to the Order of the Dragon, father of Vlad "the Impaler" Vlad Dracul and was nicknamed "devil" at the time and meaning keeping the dragon. As the son of Vlad II Dracul, Vlad III was also called "Dracula" Vlad Tepes himself term used in official correspondence.

Impaler's nickname was attributed to Vlad III from frequent executions by impalement, which he apparently ordered them. The Turks called it Kazikli Bey (meaning Prince Tepes). This name was first used in a Wallachian chronicle of 1550 and was kept in Romanian history.

Early Reign

Vlad Tepes Orthodox Church from Targoviste photo:

In the winter of 1436, Vlad II Dracul became ruler of Romania (one of the three Romanian provinces, the other two are Moldova and Transylvania) and settled in princely court in Targoviste, where Vlad Tepes followed his father and he lived six years. 

In 1442, for political reasons, Vlad and his younger brother, Radu the Handsome were taken hostage by the Sultan Murad II; Vlad III the state hostage until 1448, while his brother remained until 1462. 
Sultan Murad II photo:

This period of captivity has played an important role in the ascendance to power of Vlad; most likely in this period adopted that view of life very pessimistic. Turks set him free after informing him of his father's death in 1447 - assassinated by order of Vladislav II, to the throne of Romanian rival. He found out about the death of his older brother, Mircea, and how the eldest legitimate son of Vlad Dracul was tortured and buried alive by the boyars of Targoviste.

At 17 years old, Vlad Tepes, supported by a Turkish cavalry and a contingent of troops lent to him by pasha Mustafa Hassan, made the first step in conquering the Wallachian throne. But two months later was defeated by Vladislav II, who resumed the throne. To secure the second and longest reign, Vlad III had to wait until August 20th 1456, when he had the satisfaction of their mortal enemy and kill the murderer of his father.

Pasha Mustafa Hassan

The first major act of revenge was aimed at the boyars of Targoviste, guilty of the death of his father and his brother. On Easter Sunday 1459, he arrested all the boyar families who attended the princely party. The elderly were impaled, and others were forced to cross the road down a hundred kilometers from the capital to Poenari, where they were forced to build a fortress on the ruins of an older outpost overlooking the Arges river

Those who died were replaced, so the prince managed to create a new nobility and obtaining a fortress for future emergencies.

Poenari Castle, the house of Vlad Tepes photo: Tourist in Romania

Vlad Tepes was known for his brutal punishment techniques. According to detractors Saxons (Transylvania), he often ordered people to be skinned, boiled, decapitated, blinded, strangled, hanged, burned, roasted, chopped, nailed, buried alive, stabbed, etc. He also liked to cut off their victims' noses, ears, genitals and tongue. But his favorite method was impalement, where he originated the nickname Tepes, who impale. 

This technique was used in the years 1457, 1459 and 1460 against Transylvanian merchants who ignored his trade laws. Incursions which he did between the Transylvanian Saxons were also acts of protectionism to protect its commercial activities in the Romanian Country. At that time he was used as pretenders to the throne of Romanian find support in Transylvania, where waiting for the right time to act.

Stories about Vlad the Impaler

There are many stories and anecdotes that capture the philosophy of Vlad III Dracula. He was known for his fierce call to honesty and order. Almost any crime, from lying and stealing to killing, could be punished by impalement. Being sure of the effectiveness of its laws, Vlad III left them a golden cup in sight, the central square in Targoviste. Cup could be used by thirsty travelers, but had to stay in the market. According to historical sources, during his reign, it was never stolen and remained almost unused.

Vlad III was also concerned that all inhabitants of the land to work and be productive to the community. He looked sick, vagrants and beggars as thieves. As a result, one day all the homeless and sick in Romania country were invited to the royal court in Targoviste for the feast. After the guests ate and drank, he asked them if they would never be poor. After receiving a positive response, he ordered to be closed and fire hall. Nobody survived.

Another story says that two monks who entered the Romanian Country, came to visit him at his castle Vlad. The monks knew Vlad's reputation and when he has asked opinion about him, they responded differently. One lied, saying that Vlad was tough, but still just a prince and the other openly condemned his methods of torture. Reports vary to say which of the two monks were impaled.

There is a legend that tells how Vlad Tepes impaled a supposed gentleman who said that he could shamelessly stole a purse with a hundred ducats. The prince asked her protection. Two days later, he returned nobleman.

Another legend says that a nobleman staged a theft in the country (a bag with 50 yellow) and when he was presented the prince said that the theaft had stolen 100 coins. To lier was impaled.

The conflict with the Ottoman Empire

1459 Impaler refuses to pay tribute to the Turks (10,000 coins each year). It seems that this rebellion would be due to a possible organization of a crusade against the Ottomans crusade supported by the Pope, and the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus, would have played the most important role (even receives from the Pope sum of 40,000 ducats , an amount sufficient to equip 12,000 men and 10 warships). 

In this political context Vlad Tepes an alliance with Matthias Corvinus, probably in early 1460 that the Turks are trying to prevent. 

Moreover, they will try through Hamza Pasha bey of Nikopol and Diac Catavolinos Sultan, Vlad catch him by guile, without success. Once foiled plans Ottomans and punishment of perpetrators (the two were impaled with all Turks captured), Vlad the Impaler organized a surprise campaign south of the Danube in winter 1461-1462. 

Vlad Tepes 1462 campaign trail

A vast region, from Obluciţa Novo Selo and the mouth of the Danube to the Black Sea to Rahova, was devastated. Moreover, Nikopol city being occupied by guile than 20,000 Turks died under arms Vlachs, Turks dead number being specified by Vlad Tepes himself in a letter to Matthias. In that letter, sent in Giurgiu on 11 February 1462, the board stated that his peace with the Turks and insistently ask for help Hungarian king. Although it has secured from March 4, 1462 that will come to his support, just Buda Matthias left in late August, when the Ottoman campaign was already over. As it regards Mehmed the Conqueror, it surprised contempt Impaler, will prepare a response to match. In the spring of 1462, Sultan, an army giant cca.100-120.000 people (the second largest after that conquered Constantinople) plus 175 warships whose purpose was to conquer Chilia, will head the Danube. 

Mr. Wallach did not exceed herds after most optimistic estimates, 30,000 soldiers. Although it will try to stop the Turks from the Danube in Turnu city , they in the shelter overnight manage to cross the river heading straight for Targoviste (June 4, 1462).

In these conditions will apply Impaler harassment tactics: the desolation of the earth - especially the road to Targoviste - poisoning wells, attacking Turkish detachments left for food. In this oppressive atmosphere the Turkish armies, hungry and frightened, advancing through the desolate land, was the great shot of Vlad Tepes, attack the night of 16-17 June 1462, aims to further demoralize the Ottoman army, which attack mention all sources related to the campaign in 1462. 

The target of the attack was the sultan himself, but he escaped his tent being confused with that of a vizier. However the psychological effect of the attack occurred. Many Turks were killed, Sultan reportedly "left the camp hidden in the chip shameful"; convinced by his advisers to come back, and seeing "the great loss suffered by his people" gave the order to retreat. 

Near Târgoviştei a show that was waiting for him to put his troops terror in a forest of thorns hanging in a lot of Turks killed before or during the battle; at the sight Turks "were terrified" and Sultan acknowledged that "the country can not take a man do such great things" and that "it will be worth more."

Oil Painting Night attack on turks at Targoviste photo:

 Except chronicles Turkish sultan defeat all other sources testify that he was forced "to return to flee the Danube with its largest loss princes and shame of being turned back." Turkish army was directed towards the Danube and so quickly that the July 11, 1462 Sultan had Adrianople. According to the Byzantine chronicler Chalkokondyles sultan allowed him to go, Targoviste, prince, Vlad the Impaler's brother, Radu the Handsome the idea to draw his side all who were opposing him Impaler.

 Pasha Nikopol was to provide armed support Radu. The period that followed was very cloudy for the history of Romanian, in which two brothers who confront each sought to strengthen its forces to eliminate their opponent. Unlike Vlad the Impaler who wanted to continue the fight against the Ottomans, Radu the Handsome boyars offered peace and friendship with the sultan. Slowly Radu's arguments are so convincing landowners joined him. 

On August 15, 1462 Radu the Handsome was accepted and Transylvania. In these circumstances, abandoned by most of the boyars, but still having an army quite large that it seems that on or around September 8 would have acquired even a final victory over his opponents in October 1462 Impaler goes to Transylvania to meet with his ally Matthias. How come he did not even prepared nor too decided to fight, he decided pretty quickly to change the original plan, acknowledging the situation in Romanian country and giving in to support him on Tepeş. 

Moreover, the king's decision would have contributed so called letter of the Impaler by the sultan that faces Wallachian apologizes for any shortcomings caused it and, moreover, took his commitment to help him against hosts Hungary. As a result, in November 1462 Vlad Tepes  instead of receiving help its ally is arrested on charges of treason and imprisoned in Visegrad 12 years and then 2 years in Buda resident forced

Will be released in 1475 at the request of Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia, in the context of increasing pressure on the Turkish territories north of the Danube.

The alleged tomb of Vlad Tepes at Snagov Monastery The conflict with the Ottoman Empire

 In this political context Vlad Tepes an alliance with Matthias Corvinus, probably in early 1460 that the Turks are trying to prevent. Moreover, they will try through Hamza Pasha bey of Nikopol and diac Catavolinos Sultan, Vlad to catch him by guile, without success. 

Last reign, end of life and the grave site

According to legend, when was Vlad's wife committed suicide by throwing himself off a high ridge - a scene exploited by Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula in the film, to escape from Turkish prison, .Vlad managed to escape the siege of his fortress by using a secret passage through the mountains. Helped by some peasants in the village of Arefu, he managed to reach Transylvania where he met with Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus

But Matthew arrested him and imprisoned him in the Hungarian capital of Visegrad. The reason for the arrest can be discussed by some historians in that it was directly taken to Budapest to Vlad was protected by the Germans who wanted to kill him. Vlad was recognized as prince of Wallachia for the third time in 1475, but has enjoyed a very short period of reign. 

The legend say that it was assassinated in late December 1476. His body was decapitated and his head sent to the Sultan, which has placed a stake as proof of the triumph of Vlad Tepes

It hypothesized that "Dracula" was buried at Snagov Monastery, on an island near Bucharest. Recent examinations have shown that "grave" Impaler from the monastery contains a few horse bones dated to the Neolithic remains not true of Mr. Wallach.

Snagov Monastery

In the opinion of renowned historian Constantin Rezachevici, as the location of his grave Comana Monastery, founded by Prince.


Bram Stoker's book Dracula, do not rely directly on the rule of Vlad Dracula but a fiction that takes place in Transylvania and England nineteenth century. Following the success of the novel, the fictional character Dracula is associated Transylvania.

British writer Bram Stoker could easily see the Royal Library in London a few of those engravings Saxon fifteenth century, which were found in the collections of the British Museum, where Vlad Tepes is described as a monster, a vampire who drinks human blood and a great lover of cruelty. It probably had access to the book History of Moldavia and Wallachia of Johann Christian Engel, who describes Vlad the Impaler as a bloody tyrant, which gave him perhaps the idea to take the prince of Wallachia as a model for his character fictional Dracula. Some scholars have proposed that Stoker had a relationship of friendship with a Hungarian professor from the University of Budapest, Vambery Arminius (Hermann Vamberger), and it may be given to them about Vlad the Impaler. 

Bram Stoker photo:

Moreover, the fact that Dr. Abraham Van Helsing mentions his friend Arminius in 1897 as a novel source of his knowledge of Vlad III called Dracula , seems to support this hypothesis. 

Note also that this seems to be the only cause and there is a real link between Vlad Dracula history (1431-1476) and modern literary myth of the vampire is Bram Stoker's book. It was used by folk sources, historical references and personal experiences to achieve a complex character. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that Vlad's main political detractors - generally Saxons - were using the word meaning devil demon ruler to shade reputation. 

Thus, the association between the two meanings of the word, dragon and the devil, and once named Dracula Vlad II could explain why Vlad III the Impaler was associated with vampirism by Bram Stoker. An important symbolic element of the Order of the Dragon, which was inspired Stoker to create the character demonic, it was official clothing of the Order - a cape black over a red jacket - which was worn only on Fridays to commemorate the Passion of Christ. All Bram Stoker had the idea to associate this European legends a South American animal: Vampire bat hemophagocytic said (Desmodus rotundus).

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