The new perspective on Vlad Draculea Tepes the Impaler and Dracula the VAMPIRE
Vlad Dracula is not Dracula the Vampire; in reality Vlad was once a child and he became a tormented Prince later
Dracula the vampire is not Vlad Dracula the Impaler.
Vlad has been once a real person. He was a Romanian Prince. Over the time his figure has been overlayed an imaginary one, a vampire. Nowadays not many people can make the difference between the real Prince Dracula and Stoker Dracula, his imaginary namesake. There is a lot written about Vlad Draculea Tepes (Tsepesh) to make the metamorphosis stick, to the delight of readers who always love a good monster, myself included. The story of the monster Dracula The Vampire has created a myth that took away the limelight from the origin of Dracula, the story of the Prince Vlad.
But, to go back to Vlad The Impaler, there is something that was not written much about.
It is Vlad Draculea, the child, the real person as he was when he was born. Somehow, even in the books of Romanian history, in all the literature about his persona that became so famous, emphasis is on what the Prince Vlad Draculea did when he was grown but not much on what was done to him before all that happened, at the time when he was a child.
Now, he is long dead and never can defend himself against rumors and unfair judgments.
And he might not even know why or how to connect the bits of his life together, in a comprehensive thread to show the causes and effects of all. He did not know about modern psychology, especially not of the scientific theories about child development.
Photo from Dracula Vlad Tepes
Vlad The Impaler became Vlad Dracula, the Stoker Dracula, the count Dracula of scary movies -- and that is how most of the people think of him today.
Because it all starts in childhood, does it not?
Character formation is a process. When it is finished and the individual is out in the free, ready to act, people rarely think or care and rarely know about that previous process. People are only concerned with the result. But it all adds up and would the upbringing be different, many characters would have turned out quite different themselves.
In modern psychology this is a statement and even the criminal laws nowadays recognize this as a fact..
Who was Vlad Draculea?
Vlad Draculea, aka Tepes (Tsepesh), aka the Impaler was the member of an important family with rights to the throne of Walachia, a small Principate South to the Southern Carpathian Mountains. He lived in the 15th century. Vlad Draculea was the grandson of a great ruler, Alexandru the Good.
Ruling rights were disputed by other families. Walachia being a small country, its rulers had to rely on help from the powerful neighbors for support in their fight for their perceived rights. The powerful neighbors having their own agendas and being weary of each other for suspected expansionist desires, were playing the families against each other.
Vlad Draculea committed some cruel acts and cruel acts have been committed against him. But when conditions were suitable, he also proved to be a caring and responsible ruler, well ahead of his times in his vision on social development. He rewarded honesty and discouraged dishonesty maybe with harsh punishment but those were the norm of his days, according to the laws and the customs.
His name Draculea comes from the Order of the Dragons, an exclusive society which created responsibilities and rewards for its members, recruited usually from among the highest ranking people in the communities. Draculea is the Romanian translation of the word Dragon, an imaginary animal, symbol of majestic beauty and power. By an unfortunate coincidence it sounds also close to the word Dracul, which means The Devil in Romanian. This came to be interpreted as Dracula, later.
May his soul rest in peace!
Vlad the Impaler can now rest in peace
I will have to refer to certain historical facts as to set the proper environment for the story but I beg the reader to focus on Vlad, the child, and try to blend into his feelings, look into his soul. I wish to look at his actions as a Prince not as if they would have been the beginning of Vlad's life but as the effect of causes that happened in the times when he was just a growing soul and teenager.
If ghosts exist, as the story of Brams Stokers, creator of Dracula wants us to believe, I wish that the ghost of Vlad Dracula Tepes the Impaler would come by for a short visit. I would like him to see how there is a countryperson of his who thinks of his good deeds when remembering him. Who looks in her heart in order to understand the terrible anger against the whole world that Vlad Dracula lived with.
Who knows, maybe he still suffers from that anger and pain and can not find peace to rest. Those of us who think it could help, maybe will say a short prayer for his soul at the end of this reading.Vlad the Impaler, may your soul rest in peace!
Vlad Draculea the child grew up in Transylvania
Vlad Draculea the III was the son of an exiled Prince Vlad Draculea the II. He was born in Transylvania, Sighisoara, currently a Romanian city. During his early childhood his life was similar to what any child would live in normal comditions: he grew at the side of his loving mother, among other ladies of a little court of people of noble origin, shielded from hardship in a small town, isolated from great worries by a status that bore not much responsibility to him.
He grew up in a castle in Bran, small border community in Transylvania. The castle overooked the green pastures of a fertile valley where people earned their living by hard and honest work but food was plenty and they were content.Nowadays the Bran castle is Dracula castle, a favored place to visit, by local and foreign tourists alike.
This period of Vlad's life was the only peaceful one he ever had. It soon will come to an end as his father was restored into the ruling chair of a little country, called Walachia - Romania of those days, geographically the current region South to the Southern Carpathian Mountains in Romania of nowadays.
Those were times when the struggle for power was driven by mixed interests and reasons, as politics nowadays, but the means of that struggle were violent according to the culture and customs of the times. Enemies were killed without lengthy trials, punishment was served quickly and decisively by the strong. Survival was a matter of power and not love or understanding of the society.
Vlad Draculea grew up listening to the sounds of his homeland that were heard in the valleys of the country - The musical background of Vlad's childhood
Vlad Draculea Tepes grew up in the Bran castle in Transylvania, in the care of his mother and the lovely noble ladies - Although in exile, his family had a quieClick thumbnail to view full-size
Vlad Draculea has been taken to Istambul by the Ottoman Turks
Vlad Draculea the child was barely ten years old when his father gave him to be taken to Istambul, together with his younger brother, Radu, as surety for his loyalty to the Ottoman Empire who was on a wide expansion in the Balkans and collected annual taxes from the countries in the region.
I guess this is the decisive moment to the character of the future Vlad Draculea the Impaler, said to be cruel and bloodthirsty, suitable character to become symbol of a bloodthirsty Vampire named Dracula
I can imagine what played out in the heart and mind of a child who grew up being used to the love of his family members and close friends. To be taken from a place of safety on a long journey of thousands of miles, by people unknown who were speaking a language that he did not understand, with habits that he made no sense of, fed with food that he probably did not like and know, suddenly severed from his playmates and mother, exposed to the fright of being handed from one stranger to another by people of whom he probably heard previously only stories of cruelty as a virtual enemy. The Ottoman Empire was warring over Constantinople and the Byzanthine Empire and it was the talk of people in the region's countries. All this and probably much more- it was certainly traumatizing for the very young child Vlad Draculea. In these days of civilized concern for children's safety and psychological well fare, a lot of counseling might be given to all those involved in a similar situation. In fact, in all certainty it would not be allowed to happen at all, in the first place.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons -- public domain
Views of Istambul were different from what Vlad has been used to see from his window at home - Vlad felt probably homesick and miserableClick thumbnail to view full-size
Vlad Draculea grew into a rebellious teenager in the Turkish Ottoman Istambul
Vlad Draculea was left isolated from his family members and loved ones
Vlad Draculea was taken to Istambul to serve theTurkish Ottoman Sultan where he was submitted to the system of Turkish education and was expected to learn to be a proper Turk which he rejected with passion. Vlad Draculea was beaten and punished for his resistance constantly. I guess many of us others of today would have had the same reaction as his to such violent treatment. He was soon separated from his brother, Radu who proved to be easier to sway, much younger and very handsome from that early age already. The Ottoman Court was not a place of straight and fair system anyway, favors-little and great- were paid for with counter favors, in money or kind and we never know what favors was Vlad asked for just to get access to normal, simple things that we nowadays take for granted like food, maybe a letter from his mother, maybe a good news about his brother, nicknamed Radu the Beautiful, the Fair. Beauty for young boys was an appreciated quality in the Ottoman Palace and Radu was admitted in that intimate environment of the ruling circle. Vlad Draculea was left on his own, an outsider and rebellious teenager, unhappy with the world, with himself, filled with rage and hate from that early period against his own father for giving him up in exchange for the throne of Walachia, with jealousy that his older brother Mircea was preferred to be kept home. I guess he had some good reasons to become the hard person that eventually will develop into the cruel one as he will be known later.
Vlad Dracula the Ruler with a vision for his country
The simple country people respected him for his good governance but the corrupt nobility was frustrated
At the time he was kept in Istambul, back in his home Walachia Vlad Draculea's father has been overthrown and murdered together with his mother. His older brother Mircea had his eyes removed and buried alive in the town of Targoviste by people who were competing for the power over the country and its coffers.
Responsible for that atrocity were his own noble countrymen but history does not mention and record them as cruel.
Eventually Vlad Dracula got to the throne of Walachia himself, with the help of his Turkish supporters. Not yet 20 years of age, Vlad Draculea had in mind the responsibility for his nation. He found Walachia depleted by the years of fight between the influential families, the peasant people and working townsfolk interests completely neglected, trade virtually nonexistent, corruption rampant among the official administration. Production of agricultural goods was insufficient for the safe supply of the people.
Vlad Dracula's skillful planning for stability and the rule of law had soon results. He did not rely for advice on the members of the most important, the noble families, as it was usual, but on the average people, whom he be-trusted for their honesty, skills and proven good will in the hope of their loyalty.
He ruled harsh punishments against those caught corrupt and dishonest or those who disobeyed the laws. Punishment he dished out the same way to the rich or poor, social status did not count in the measure of it. Vlad Dracula used to go in simple clothes into markets to check on the honesty of traders, their weights, their measuring tools. He created regions where foreign traders were not allowed business in order to support local traders and give them a chance to grow. He built villages to bolster peasant settlements and agricultural production in the country.
Photo from Vlad Draculea -- reality and fiction
The future model for Dracula, Vlad Draculea became first Vlad the Impaler
The story of a golden cup that was never stolen from the public well
Vlad Draculea obviously had to deal with some degree of resistance from those who had no vision for a long term development. His closest advisers from the higher nobility were uneasy about the new methods and felt threatened in their traditional privileges. The character of Vlad was building up the model for the future Dracula -- but first, he had to become Vlad The Impaler'
Vlad sought out and punished a number of people whom he knew to be responsible for the killing of his family and brother, Mircea. He also cruelly punished a few German tradesmen from Transylvania who overstepped the boundaries of his restrictions of their business in Walachia.
All in all, words spread about his strong character and strict rule.
The story goes about that period that Vlad Draculea let made a cup of gold which he left standing in the city square's fountain, to be used by anyone who was thirsty to drink the water. It is said that the cup was never stolen under his rule. It is also said that a traveler could leave his belongings on the side of the road for unlimited time, unattended and no one else would touch them, so that the traveler would retrieve all possessions in perfect order.
I wish to highlight this progress that Vlad brought to his community.
His effort did not go without results but sadly his rule did not last as long as it would have deserved the chance. Turmoil in the region, the Christian pressure from the Catholic West against the Turkish Ottoman expansion caught Vlad Dracula in the middle as it happened many times throughout centuries of history with the leaders of the small Romanian Principates.
Eventually Vlad had to defend his country against his former allies, the Turks who sent against him into the fight his own brother, Radu the Beautiful, intimate friend of Mehmed the II, to lead the Turkish army. The model for Dracula was to be born in the midst of the horror of wars while defending his country
Photo from Who was the real Dracula?
Vlad the Impaler (Tepes) was paying back his enemies, in kind!
Vlad Draculea created his own brand for the future as "the Impaler"
It is by this time when Vlad developed into the feared ruler that will create the shadow of the character usedlater as a model for Dracula. Battles were fought with the enemies and some have been won by Vlad Draculea. After every victory, he displayed the bodies of his enemies impaled on the battlefield. Historical documents mention cases of several thousand bodies impaled on stakes into a forest of dead lifted high to show a frightening landscape and keep the Turks away. For a period the whole Western part of Europe was praising Vlad the Impaler as the defender of Christianity. Countries were benefiting from his victories. Mathias Corvin of Hungary, the Pope, considered him a highly regarded friend and ally.
But the Western countries who were so glad to praise him, had not given him the needed support in money. When money ran short, many of his own courtiers abandoned him and his manpower ran also thin as an army of men and horses costs money to feed. He was not very popular anyway among his own peers, for his innovative views on social and economic development. During his rule when he favored honesty and skills over noble origin Vlad the Impaler made many enemies.
Eventually, Vlad had to flee his castle in Poienari as his own brother Radu came after him with the Turkish army - His wife threw herself into the river surrounClick thumbnail to view full-size
Vlad Draculea's grave was found empty of his body.
Eventually, the better financed Radu caught up with a worn out Vlad Draculea in his castle at Poienari. Vlad's wife throw herself from the cliff where the castle has been built, into the river underneath, to avoid being taken prisoner by the enemy. Her body went under the waters and she drowned.
Vlad Draculea fled, hoping for support from Hungary's King Mathias but here he was imprisoned and falsely accused of preparing to make agreement with the Turks.
The rest of his life is a tormented thread of trials and hopes. Vlad Draculea eventually got back to the throne of Walachia but only for an insignificant period. He finally died and his head was taken to Istambul and his body buried close to Bucharest, in a village. At the beginning of the 20th century his grave has been opened as part of a project to move his body to the family site in the former Walachia but the place was empty. No bones or other pieces of human remains were ever found..
In this time, the legend of Dracula the Vampire has been born.
Dracula Dead and Loving It.
There have been a number of movies made on the topic of Dracula's character. Mel Brooks' Dracula Dead And Loving It is a comedy, parody after the initial Dracula of Bram Stoker.
Due to the initial success of the novel of Bram Stoker and later the movie starring Bela Lugosi, the character has been featrured in a growing number of movies.
By 2005, Dracula had been the subject of more films than any other fictional character.
Vampires are generally played for horror subjects,but they can be subject matter for comedies, science fiction movies or fantasy films.
Growing up as an unhappy and traumatized child could affect one's personality?