Count Dracula Of Valachia
Contrary to popular belief, Valachia was the only kingdom Vlad the Impaler, or Count Dracula, ever ruled. Count Dracula never ruled Transylvania but only went there to engage his enemies in battle; especially the German immigrants around Brasov and Sibiu called the Sasi. Count Dracula waged constant war against the enemies of Valachia throughout his reign and the political troubles with his neighbors Germany, Hungary and Turkey were without end.
German communities had settled in Transylvania and Valachia since the 13th Century. These communities included those around Sibui and Brasov called Sasi. Other enemies of the crown plotted with the Sasi against Count Dracula and allowed them tax free travel on their roads from the Black Sea to Balkanic Europe along the Danube.
Hungary and Romania were enemies since the 10th century when the Hungarians drove out the Huns and took over the territory of Transylvania. Count Dracula was forced to choose the Catholic religion over his Orthodox faith in order to be released from the Hungarian prison in Budapest where he had been held for 12 years. Count Dracula's harsh and ruthless character only added to the reason he had so many enemies, the church authorities, neighboring countries and even the minority groups such as the Germans.
It is important to emphasize this because it is the main reason that the idea of Count Dracula being an extremely harsh and wicked man, a demon even, was born and has persisted until now. In the Hungarian, Turkish, German (Sasi) literature and even some books of the Orthodox Church, chronicles that have survived depict him as an extremely evil man. These records later became the resource for scholars and historians, therefore it is no surprise that Count Dracula's name and nature have become equated with black legends and wickedness.
Even long after Count Dracula's death, there was much misinformation broadcasted by his political enemies. The Germans started it by using the famous Gutenberg machine to print small books that contained frightening stories about Count Dracula. There is even an account according to M.O. Brodoc of a picture that was printed that showed Count Dracula enjoying a feast amongst his impaled enemies.
It would appear that historians of the centuries that followed produced books that were based on these German accounts of Count Dracula alone without doing further checks into their accuracy. The results can be seen in the many historical and present-day misconceptions regarding the character of Count Dracula. Although Vlad was far from a rational and pleasant head of state by modern standards, it has to be taken into account that the historical Count Dracula lived in an extremely bloody century in a reign which was situated smack dab in the middle of the two predominant and warring spheres of influence of the age: The Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. The two opposing parties had been spilling each other's blood in a series of virtually infinite atrocities from the first Crusade onwards, thus there was a predominant callousness to hideous violence.
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