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VLAD THE IMPALER
Prince Vlad Dracul the man, the myth,the killer or was he? Here i seek to go indepth about the legendary count of wallachia the basis for bram stokers dracula, the creature of the night, the vampyr that scared young and old with every page turn
Well...actually no he wasn't and i will detail this more with in these blood soaked lines of the tale of Vlad the impaler.
At the time of his birth there was two main principalities those being Wallachia and Transylavania, both christian orthodox states both threatened by the turkish ottoman empire and the catholic hungarians along with the rich and powerful saxon german merchants who controlled trade to middle europe this along with the catholic faith and money caused high tension.
The birthplace where the young prince was born in 1431 is now a resturant, Young Vlads father was a military commander who was nicknamed 'DRACUL because he was a member of the order of the dragon where as Vlad Dracula is named so rather than Vlad Dracul which translates as son of the devil because dracula is Romanian for devil.
In 1820 a english diplomat wrote a travel guide to transylvania and it is in this book that Bram Stoker writer of the legendary tale of terror DRACULA found the name DRACUL mentioned. T he truth of Stokers tale of the vampire in fact did not rely on on Stoker visiting the country in fact his character count Dracula came about literally by chance reading of the travel guide and then on to researching more about the country and the wars than it was of prince Vlad it is believed Stoker was purely attracted to the name Vlad Dracula son of the devil/dragon and it is doubtful Stoker had ever seen a painting of the blood prince. It is also plausable that Stoker on heard the tip of the iceberg of the many tales of murder and torture.
Simple fact other than the name of the count within the iconic book there is no link at all with the reality of Vlad Dragon, Vlad tepes,Vlad the impaler hero of so many and terror to so many more, the deranged and depraved acts that Vlad is known for some extremely exaggerated but much more extremely real leads to the thought as to the possibility of a mental disorder or was he simply a depraved individual?
Vlad infact was not a ruler of transylvania like Stokers character Tepes was the ruler of the princepality of Wallachia where as transylvania itself was ruled by saxon germans and the romanians lived outside the city walls and if wished to enter the citidal was required to pay to enter the city gates and it is this that started the now legendary true tale of lust,blood murder and revenge. The conflict between german merchants and romanians is the main reason Vlad began to be portrayed as such a dark monsterous character over the past six centuries.
The most famous image of Vlad is of him eating amongst a forest of impaled dead and dying victims, this image infact actually comes from german imagery and propoganda, the image comes from a german principality that was strongly against Vlad and wallachia although the truth was Vlad did impale his victims and enemies the tales became exaggerayed beyond what the reality was and that was beyond anyones worse nightmare.
Even today 600 years later many in romania look upon Tepes as a national hero that did what was needed to win no matter how barbaric. It is historical fake that Vlad Tepes name Vlad the impaler was well founded and there was many ways Vlad had his enemies impaled even innocent people, his own peop[le would be impaled for nothing more than to keep hold of the fear that so many had, impalement was usually a spiked wooden stake through the stomach but the saddist in Vlad would have the blunt end of a 8inch stake greased up and inserted in the anus of men women children alike and gravity was left to do the rest, it would take around 3 to 4 days for the blunt stake to work its way through the body and out through the mouth or eye socket the majority of the time the victim would be alive still for part of the torture.
Whilst researching i found a alleged tale of one of Vlads serving girls telling him she was with his child, it said Vlad was surprised but spoiled the woman with clothes wine and food the whole 9 months of the pregnancy and when the woman went into labour he waited for the child to be in the birth canal before vaginally impaling the servant girl, the reality of this tale i am unsure but from the truthful and propogranda driven tales also about Vlad Dracul it may be possible.
Imagine you are on Horse back riding towards Poienari where Vlad lived and in front of you there was not just a few people dead and dying on spikes not a few hundred but upto one thousand bodies dead and dying, the blood the feces the screaming the crying and the pain but this not his enemies this is his own people his own subjects even it is claimed his own friends and family members. It is suggested when face to face with the ottoman empire Vlads troops may of been out numbered as much as 30-1 so a somewhat horrific sight of Vlads trophies was a good deterant and the propoganda from the germans likely intensified the fear of the prince.
It is historic fact Vlad did drink the blood of victims at times and this could be the tiny link between tepes and the count in Bram Stokers book, one instance Vlad nailed the hats of some guests to their heads with metal spikes into their skulls when they refused to remove their head dresses
it is said 600 years ago during a easter celebration in 1456 it is said Vlad stood in his tower looking down as his troops murdered and raped anything upto 200 men,women and children for their alleged role they played that lead to the murder of his father. From researching Vlad i feel it more likely he was in the thick of it rather than a onlooker and it is said rather than burial the victims was left laying where they fell for months to rot and feed the rats before unceramoniously being dumped in holes and burnt, some it is said was used even half alive to feed pigs and the wild dogs that roamed the streets. A stark warning to anyone that dare stand against the blood prince.
Did Vlad of Wallachia drink blood of his victims? Possibly but the most reasonable answer to that is that it was more likely to be propoganda by either the saxons or the the turks more than truth although is know he did do the deed of drinking life blood of victims the regularity of it as depicted is probably far from the truth, or was it fear mongering propoganda created by himself to impeed the advancing armies.
The famous castle Bran depicted in books,television shows and films is far from the glamour of where Vlad Tepes actually lived in poienari atop a mountain but yet castle Bran and its dark gothic romance has served well for generations and filling the countrys coffers with a brisk flow of those wanting to learn about vampires and rebellion and gore. Vlads mountain top castle is sided by dense woodland and is lead to by a staircase of 1400 stone steps placed there by hand by enemies he allowed to live and forced into brutal slavery. It is claimed after the steps and castle was completed he systematically had the workers slaughtered and their bodies and heads stuck on spikes throughout the forest from top to bottom decaying rotting corpses and decapitated heads left to sway agreement with visiting royal dignataries who he summoned to his court and to asure their acceptance for his terms.
Vlad arrogantly believed in 1462 he was unbeatable and to a degree he was somewhat so, in his fortress high above the invading turks but in 1462 the turks attacked in a full on slaughter, Vlad though being a great and creative warrior has set plans in motion culling livestock and poisioning the water supplies so when the inevittable happened his enemies would die from starvation and being poison from the wells and lakes Vlad even dressed some of his plague ridden troops in turkish clothing and sent the in a form of germ warfare in the hopes of spreading the black death. By august 1462 Vlad was surrounded by the ottoman empire and some of his troops that had switched sides. The fear of capture and what this would entail drove his wife to despair and she threw herself hundreds of feet on to the jagged rocks far below the fort and yet this still did not cause Vlad to surrender infact with the help of villagers he made a daring escape.
Advice from a village elder aided his escape Vlad ordered his troops to nail horseshoes on the nags in a backwards position then set them running in the hope it would trick enemies into thinking he had fled in a different direction i wouldnt doubt that Vlad most likely did the same to humans altough i found little if any evidence of this. The villagers that helped was awarded land for as far as the horizon and the eye could see in payment and today this escape is celebrated to honour the dark prince by decendants of the original villages although without doubt these celebrations have a hint or two of hollywood in them. A bells and whistles account for a few tourists pennies, myth history and tourism seem to be happy bed fellows.
Although it is not believed Vlad Dracul was a vampire by romanians the belief in the stragoi is still prominant through out the country even today and coffins are still opened and the heads are taken from the shoulders and placed between the legs.
Vlad evaded the turks and hid in hungary for 12 years before returning to claim back his throne and principality only to be killed soon after in battle, whether it was by a saxon,a turk or one of his own it is unclear but his head was taken back to the sultan to prove of the dark lords death the man so many feared for so long was gone but never to be forgotten. saving his people still long after his death by bringing money to the poor and keeping his legend alive.
© 2017 karl