Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire

Vlad Dracula

Sometimes it seems, it is said not about a person, but about the true generation of hell, which, due to misunderstanding, fell to the ground. For most, he is known as a “horror with the wings of the night,” a bloodthirsty vampire, a dictator who was in the circle for the slightest fault. Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula in the minds of people is a terrible monster.

Or maybe Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula was ordinary for his age as an activist? About Count Vlad Dracula are shot dozens of horror movie and written books. About this prince is still hotly debated. But almost every time, when trying to understand the power of the Impaler, Count Vlad Dracula, who lived almost six centuries ago, new myths and legends are created.  Who really was Vlad the Impaler, and why did he get the status of the main vampire? Who was the man who, for millions of screenwriters and readers, became the embodiment of bloody horror?

In the homeland of Count Vlad Dracula, in Romania, he is usually considered as a champion of justice, a defender and savior of his native land. According to researchers, “Famous Vlad the Impaler, Count Vlad Dracula, a woolen patriot and a sadist“.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 1

Vlad Dracula

The biography of Vlad Dracula, a descendant of Vlad II and the Moldavian princess Vasiliki, remains partly a mystery, because scientists cannot give an exact answer when the ruler of Wallachia was born. Historians possess only conjectural facts and date of his birth between 1429-1430 and 1436 years. Father – Vlad II Drakul, Wallachian ruler (1436-1442, 1443-1447), the second son of Mircha the Old from the Basarab dynasty. The nickname “Dracul” (from the Roman. Dracul – dragon / devil) was the knight of the Order of the Dragon, founded by Sigismund of Luxembourg, the emperor and the Hungarian king. The knights of the order wore medallions and pendants with the image of a golden dragon coiled into a ring, and Vlad II also received a medallion (medal) with a dragon from the king’s hands during the dedication in 1431. Becoming the Lord of Transylvania in 1436, Vlad II placed the image of a dragon on gold coins, which he minted on his own behalf and with which he forcedly replaced the former money, as well as on a personal seal and his heraldic shield. Mother was Vasilika. Vlad III inherited the nickname from his father.

The word Dracul can be translated as “dragon”, but in Romanian it also means: “devil”. So called Vlad II Basarab, and his son inherited this nickname, however, in his case it was transformed into “Dracula.” The fact that the rulers of the Orthodox principality, allowed themselves to be called so ambiguously, may indicate their commitment to Satanism.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 2

Vlad Dracula

Young Vlad Dracula did not make a pleasant impression and had a repulsive appearance: his face was decorated with big cold eyes and protruding lips. Vlad’s parent raised his offspring in accordance with the strict rules of the time, so initially the young man learned to own a weapon, and only then began to learn to read and write. But scientists agree on one thing: Vlad Dracula was an infinitely cruel man.Vlad Dracula spent his childhood in the historical area, the city of Sighisoara. Then Transylvania (now located in Romania) belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom, and the house where Vlad Dracula lived with his father and older brother still stands at the same place in Romania.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 3

Vlad Dracula. House of childhood.

In December 1446, the Hungarians made great changes in the country, as a result of which Vlad II was beheaded, and his older brother was buried alive in the ground. These events became the background to the formation of Dracula’s character. About this Hungarian tyranny learned Turkish Sultan, who began to collect troops. Having won a victory over the Hungarians, the leader of the Ottoman Empire put Vlad Dracula on the throne, displacing the Hungarian protege Vladislav II, who took the throne with the support of the Transylvanian governor Janos Hunyadi.

Sultan lent the Turkish detachments to Vlad Dracula, and in 1448 a new ruler appeared in Wallachia. The newly appeared ruler begins an investigation into the murder of his father and stumbles upon facts related to the boyars. Janos Hunyadi declared Dracula’s accession to the throne illegal, the Hungarian commander began to gather  troops, but by that time Vlad Dracula managed to escape in Moldova, then in Transylvania, from where he was banished by the supporters of Janos.

In 1456 Vlad Dracula again visited Transylvania, where he gathered an army of comrades in order to win the throne of Wallachia. It is known that Vlad III or Vlad Dracula ruled the state for 6 years and was noted not only inside Wallachia, but also outside these lands. According to some sources, during his reign, Vlad Dracula destroyed about a hundred thousand people.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 4

Vlad Dracula

It was not for nothing that the ruler was called “the colossomer”, since putting people on a stake was the favorite method of execution of Vlad Dracula. Enemies bled to death so pale bodies hung on pointed sticks (Vlad preferred colas with a rounded top, smeared with oil, which were inserted into the rectum). By the way, that’s why Vlad Dracula was called a vampire in folklore and literary works, although there is no evidence that Vlad Dracula tried human blood.

Vlad Dracula liked such a grave environment and even this increased his appetite for the type of agony of defeated enemies. As for the private life of the Impaler, it enveloped mystical and mysterious aura: so many literary works have been written about his wives and mistresses that it is difficult to understand whether this is a fiction. There are rumors that Dracula was married twice to some Elizabeth and Ilona Siladya. The king of Wallachia had three sons: Michael, Vlad, and Mihnya the Evil.

The brutality of the ruler of Wallachia is connected with suffering in Turkish captivity. The fact is that in the summer of 1444, Vlad, who was a teenager, and his younger brother, Radu were handed over to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Murad II (1404-1451) as hostages. If the Vlachs had refused to pay tribute to the Turks and tried to fight for national sovereignty, the boys would be executed. Some sources claim that Vlad Dracula was brutally tortured in captivity, forcing him to convert to Islam. He saw how he was massacred with other hostages, whose relatives did not please the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. And this influenced the character of the young man.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 5

Vlad Dracula

The psyche of the Wallachian prince could also be adversely affected by the sexual harassment to which his brother Radu was subjected by Mehmed II the Conqueror (1432-1481), the son of the Turkish sultan.  At least, the Greek historian Laonik Halkkokondil wrote that Radu Basarab and Mehmed II were in intimate relationship. This allowed some researchers to suggest that Vlad Dracula witnessed the rape of his younger brother as the future ruler of the Ottoman Empire.

Vlad Dracula sought to assert his power in Wallachia, cruelly cracking down on unwanted boyars who secretly supported the political opponents of their overlord. One day he invited representatives of the noble to a feast on the occasion of Orthodox Easter and executed all his guests. Historians recognize the veracity of this story, they argue only about the date of the event. Most likely, Easter of 1459 turned out to be so bloody, although some researchers point to 1457. They say that then 50 to 500 Wallachian nobles were killed, and this could be a kind of sacrifice to the Devil.

It is believed that Vlad Dracula possessed a peculiar sense of humor, since he said that people executed on a stake had a special grace. However, impalement was not the only favorite type of execution for the prince, who also liked to punish the relatives of the guilty. For example, one of the gypsies of the camp that was driving through the lands was caught stealing, and the local prince cooked the unfortunate and forced the other gypsies from this camp to eat their friend.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 6

Vlad Dracula

In addition, about the ruler of Wallachia is said:

  • He ordered to nail the hats or turbans to the heads of either Turkish or Italian ambassadors, who refused to take them off in the presence of Vlad III.
  • He ripped open the belly of his mistress, who tried to convince him of her pregnancy.
  • Put a woman on a stake for the fact that her husband had a short shirt.
  • Executed boyar who did not like the look and smell of numerous corpses.
  • He gathered a lot of beggars, promising them a sumptuous dinner, and burned them together with the building.

And this is only a small part of the horror stories told about Dracula.

In the light of all this, the cruelty of Vlad Dracula is truly not so shocking. He was very religious. Vlad Dracula generously donated money and lands to Orthodox monasteries and parishes located not only in Wallachia, but also in Greece. In 1460, near the town of Giurgiu, he founded Coman’s monastery, and a year later a church was built in the city of Tyrgshor with the funds of the ruler. Many historians believe that the cause of such generosity to Dracula was his attempts to stifle the rumors among the people about his devotion to Devil.

However, Vlad Dracula failed to improve his reputation with donations. As an Orthodox principality, Wallachia faced constant pressure from the Catholic Hungary and the Ottoman Islamic Empire. Residents of a small country considered their salvation devotion to the faith of their ancestors. And they explained the cruelty of the bloodsucking ruler by his secret transition to Catholicism. Since followers of the western branch of Christianity, unlike the Orthodox, during the celebration of Easter do not take communion with the blood of Christ (which traditionally replaces red wine), the Vlachs suspected that the apostate was trying to compensate for this shortcoming by drinking human blood. That is, the transition to Catholicism is the cause of vampirism. Romanians still believe that abandoning the religion of their ancestors pushes a person into the hands of the Devil.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 7

Vlad Dracula. Castle

The fact that the ruler of Wallachia was popularly regarded as a vampire is also indirectly indicated by the way he was killed in 1476. Who committed the act of retaliation for the numerous atrocities, remains unknown. Some historians believe that they were Turks, other researchers blamed Hungarians or outraged Vlachs, whose relatives fell victim to Dracula. They pierced his heart with a wooden stake and cut off the head, which they sent to the sultan Mehmed II, so that no one would doubt the death of Vlad III.

The reason for the sinister rumors about the vampirism of the ruler of Wallachia was the fact that his tomb was empty. The headless corpse of Dracula, as is known, was buried in an Orthodox monastery located in the town of Snagove. But when researchers uncovered the tomb of the legendary vampire, after many centuries, they did not find any remains there.

About such a colorful character, like Vlad III, not only one work was written, but a book that contributed to the popularization of Vlad Dracula as a fanged blood lover, was composed by Bram Stoker. It should be said that the Irish writer worked on his brainchild for seven years, studying historical works about the Vallach ruler. But, nevertheless, the manuscript of Stoker can not be attributed to the biographical work. This is a full-fledged novel, embellished with fantasy and artistic metaphor.

Vlad Dracula. The Legendary Vampire - photo 8

Vlad Dracula in movies

Bram’s work gave a new wave in the world of literature and cinema: numerous manuscripts about the fearful Sun and garlic Vlad Dracula began to appear, and also documentaries were shot. The canonical image of Count Dracula, who dwells in a gloomy castle and drinks blood, was created by American actor Bela Lugosi (the film “Dracula” (1931), skillfully reincarnated as a pale vampire. There were also many other films that would not leave anyone indifferent.

It is necessary to recognize, in spite of the unconditional cruelty of Vlad Dracula, many tales of his atrocities were exaggerated in the public mind, becoming legendary horror stories. For example, the story of 20 thousand (in some sources – 30 thousand) people planted on pins, whose appearance frightened the formidable warriors of the Ottoman Empire, was fabricated by political opponents and numerous enemies of Dracula after his death. Vlad Dracula went down in history as the “colossor” and the instigator of biological warfare, but in his native country he gained fame as a genius of military thought, and remains so till nowadays.

 

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