Story of Dracula
What is the truth in the story of Dracula?
That person who has been known as Dracula was Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia called also "Vlad the Impaler", Vlad Tepes, Vlad Dracula or simply Dracula, in Romanian Draculea (1431 – December 1476), a Wallachian voivode. Wallachia is in southern Romania. His reigned in 1448, between 1456 and 1462, and in 1476.
He has been known as for the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed during his reign. This cruel person has given inspiration for Bram Stoker to give his name for the vampire his novel Dracula in 1897.
Why he has been called Dracula?
Because his Romanian surname was Draculea. His father’s title was Vlad the Dragon, because he was a member of the Order of the Dragon. „Drac”, as a word means The Devil, or Demon in the modern Romanian language. In that period when he lived it meant Dragon, which derives from the latin Draco, with the same meaning. The suffix „ulea” means Son of the Dragon. Vlad was called Tepes (the Impaler) only after his death in 1476.
Vlad II Dracul became prince of Wallachia in 1436. During his reign he tried to maneuver between his powerful neighbors, opposing various initiatives of war against the Ottoman, most of them poorly organized and letting most of the burden on Vlad II's shoulders, and that finally attracted the irritation of the Hungarian side, who accused him of disloyalty and removed him in 1442. With the help of the Turks (where he also had connections) he regained the throne in 1443 and reigned until December 1447, when he was assassinated on the orders of John Hunyadi, regent of Hungary.
The identity of Vlad Dracula’s mother is somewhat uncertain, the most likely variant being that she was a Moldavian princess, niece or daughter of Moldavian prince Alexandru cel Bun. In some sources she is named Chiajna—Princess. Vlad seems to have had a very close relationship with her: he spent several years in Moldavia after his father’s death.
Vlad III seems to have had three brothers. The oldest was Mircea II, born before 1430, and who briefly held his father's throne in 1442, and who was sent by Vlad Dracul in 1444 to fight in his place during the crusade against the Turks that ended with his defeat at the Battle of Varna. Mircea II fought some successful yet small campaigns against the Ottomans prior to his capture along with his father in 1447. Mircea II, captured by the boyars, had his eyes burned out, after which he was buried alive.
Vlad III's half-brother, Vlad IV, also known as Vlad Calugarul (Vlad the Monk), was born between 1425 and 1430. Vlad the Monk spent many years in Transylvania waiting for a chance to get the throne of Wallachia, trying a religious career in the meantime, until he became prince of Wallachia (1482). Radu, known as Radu cel Frumos (Radu the Handsome), the youngest brother, was also Vlad’s rival as he continuously tried to replace Vlad with the support of the Turks, to whom he had very strong connections. Radu seems to have been also favoured by the Turkish Sultan Mehmed II, and willingly converted to Islam.
In 1456, Hungary invaded Serbia to drive out the Ottomans, and Vlad III simultaneously invaded Wallachia with his own contingent. Both campaigns were successful. Nevertheless, Vlad was now prince of his native land.
Vlad's actions after 1456 are quite well-documented:
- Since the death of Vlad's grandfather (Mircea the Elder) in 1418, Wallachia had fallen into a somewhat chaotic situation. Vlad used severe methods to restore some order, as he needed an economically stable country if he was to have any chance against his external enemies.
- Vlad III was constantly on guard against the adherents of the Danesti clan. Some of his raids into Transylvania may have been efforts to capture would-be princes of the Danesti.
- Several members of the Danesti clan died at Vlad's hands.
- Following family traditions and due to his old hatred towards the Ottomans, Vlad decided to side with the Hungarians. At the end of the 1450s there was once again talk about a war against the Turks, in which the king of Hungary Matthias Corvinus would play the main role. Knowing this, Vlad stopped paying tribute to the Ottomans in 1459 and around 1460 made a new alliance with Matthias Corvinus.
- This angered the Turks, who attempted to remove him. They failed, however; later in the winter of 1461 to 1462 Vlad crossed south of the Danube and devastated the area between Serbia and the Black Sea.
- Despite his cruelty he was also respected as a warrior by his subjects because of his fierce campaigns against the Turks and was a hero and was both worshiped and feared by his people.
- By August 1462 Radu had struck a deal with the Hungarian Crown. Consequently, Vlad was imprisoned by Matthias Corvinus.
- His first wife, whose name is not recorded, died during the siege of his castle in 1462.
- Vlad had a son, Mihnea cel Rau, from the first marriage.
- The amount of people Vlad killed varies from source to source and is somewhere between 20,000 to 500,000 in numbers. However it has been known he did not show mercy and very often tortured his enemies before killing them.
There are several variants of Vlad III the Impaler's death. It is generally believed that he was killed in battle against the Ottoman Empire near Bucharest in December 1476. It was also said that he has been killed by boyars, or accidently being stuck down by one of his man.
Where is the body of Dracula?
There were lot of people who wanted to find his body. By the general story he has been entombed near the altar of Snagov Monastery on an island. The truth, what is well documented that his head was taken and put on display in Constantinaple as a sign to for all that his terrible reign was over. Because the monastery suffers from humidity the bodies and skeletons decomposed extremly quick, so if the body of him was there maybe it decomposed and rotten into the ground.
About him and his life there are lot of mythes. Just like an example about his character here is a short story:
A foreign merchant from Hungary visited the capital of Tirgoviste. Vlad ordered him to leave his wagon of gold in the street overnight, just to show that his people would not steal. The man was surprised to find 160 gold florins missing in the morning. Vlad sent away the merchant and promised that on that night he will find his money in the same place. He ordered for his men to find the thief with the promise if they won’t find the thief he would personally throw one of the hugest tantrums anyone had ever seen and destroy the city.
Dracula then put his own money in the wagon and he was adding one florin to the original sum. The merchant in the morning has found the gold with one extra. He went to Vlad to tell him what found. Vlad’s men’s has found the thief and had him impaled. He told to the merchant the followings: "Now go away in peace; but be sure if you had not told me about that one florin more, I would have had you impaled together with this thief!".
And an other one:
Vlad was generally known as a fierce and honest leader. Vlad said to have been so confident if all thief would known that after they stolen something they would be brutally killed. He put a golden cup on display in the central square of Tirgoviste. The cup was never been stolen and remained on the same place where he made to put throughout Vlad's reign.
People are speaking also nowadays about his mysterious life. You can hear true stories also and lots of stories are just tales.
People think that he lived in Bran Castle which is popular as a palace of Dracula. Probably he stopped here and spent also some nights in the castle but it never was his castle, he never lived there.
Some legends says that he returned to the Earth 200 years after his death but he was not so violent as before.
Romanian folklore and poetry holds him as a hero. In Romania he is considered one of the greatest leaders in the country’s history. The people has voted him one of the „100 Greatest Romanian” in a TV series in 2006.
We can try to find out his mystery, we can find facts and listen the tales but only one thing is sure: that his legend will never die.