Will The Real Dracula Please Stand Up? Part I

Nicknamed “Tepes”, pronounced Ts-epish, Vlad III ruled Wallachia on no less than three different occasions in the mid fifteenth century. His first reign was extremely brief, lasting only two months in 1448. The next reign was the longest, beginning in 1456 and ending in 1462. In 1476 Vlad again ascended the Wallachian throne and, once again, this reign sultan toto 88 too, was brief, ending in his death in the same year. We will take a closer, more detailed look at these reigns later on in the discussion.

The English translation of the word Tepes is Impaler and he was so called because of his penchant for disposing of his enemies and undesirables by having them skewered on huge wooden stakes. In order to understand the man who inspired the creation of the greatest ever vampire in literary history, Count Dracula, it is important for us to examine the political and social climate of Wallachia in the fifteenth century.

Vlad Tepes was born in the town of Targovista in Wallachia, a small southern state of Romania. His father, Vlad Il was a knight of The Order of the Dragon, a secret order created by King Sigismund of Hungary, who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410. The order was created for the sole purpose of upholding Christianity and defending the Empire from the ever threatening tide of Ottoman Turks. The emblem of the order depicted a dragon on a cross with its wings outstretched. Most scholars agree that it was around 1431, the year of Tepes’ birth, that Vlad II was admitted to the order as a reward for his bravery and zeal in fighting the Turks. Vlad II took the name Dracul for in the Romanian tongue it is the word for Dragon. It also had another meaning, devil, and this name was to send shivers of fear through the enemies of Vlad Dracul and those of his son years later.

Wallachia lays in the southern region of modern day Romania and was directly between two of the most powerful military forces of the time. Hungary to the north and the Ottoman Empire to the south east. For almost a millennia, Constantinople had stood as protector to eastern Europe and the Byzantine or East Roman Empire, preventing the surge of Islam. In 1453 Constantinople finally fell and the whole of Europe was now open to Turkish invasion. Only Hungary stood in the Ottoman’s way and she chose to take on the mantle of “Defender of the Faith” Wallachia now, found herself in the unenviable position of having to appease two warring nations. Depending on which of these two nations served Wallachia at the time, treaties and alliances were forged accordingly and, although Vlad III is most remembered amongst his own people for his fierce defiance against the Ottomans, the rest of the world remember him for his tyranny and acts of mass torture and murder.

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