Posts Tagged ‘transylvania’

Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, was the son of Vlad Dracul, or Vlad the Dragon.
Dracul is not just the word for Dragon in Romanian, it also means devil, which makes
the name fit quite nicely.

vlad

Back then the area they lived in was called Wallachia and is part of modern day Romania.
Surrounded by empires that they needed to appease, they would constantly change sides to make
sure that Wallachia’s interests were met.

Vlad the Impaler was born in 1431 while his father was in Transylvania under exile. And in 1436
his father took back the throne in Wallachia. At thirteen Vlad and his brother, Radu, were
sent to Adrianople to be hostages and remained there for four years. At this point he returned
to claim the throne, but only reigned for 2 months. Finally, in 1456 he reclaimed his throne and
began to establish Tirgoviste as his capital. He built his castle near the Arges River in the
mountains.

tirgoviste

In his second reign as ruler Vlad Tepes committed horrible atrocities. His favorite method
of killing was impalement (hence his nickname) which was a slow painful death. Generally,
the stake was inserted through the butt and out the mouth. However there were other ways of
doing the impalement, some were even hung upside down.

Vlad is said to have scared away invading armies because of his fields of corpses. He had a
tower where his fields of dead were and it was said that he sat up there and feasted .. even
drank blood.

At one point he had 20,000 turkish prisoners impaled.. we know this as “the Forest of the Impaled.”

impalingfields

The impalements did not bother Vlad at all and there is art done where he was eating amongst
the stakes. A lot of his reasoning was that he wanted to secure his power in a modern world
and enforce his personal moral code on Wallachia.

In 1462 Vlad had to flee to Transylvania because the Turks invaded.. his wife committed suicide
rather than be taken alive. Vlad attempted to get aid from Matthias Corvinus, the King of
Hungary, but was arrested and imprisoned instead. He was a prisoner for around 12 years,
the actual length is up for debate. He somehow got back into Corvinus good graces and
married a member of the royal family(rumor is she was a sister of Corvinus). He had 2
sons, the oldest was 10 years old when the Impaler took back the Wallachian throne in 1476.

In 1476 Vlad decided he had rested long enough and wanted more power. Along with Prince Stephen
Bathory, of Transylvania, he invaded Wallachia. The local ruler fled, but sadly for Vlad
it wasn’t long before the Prince and most of the forces went back to Transylvania.
In December of 1476 Vlad Dracula was killed near Bucarest. There are multiple reports
on what happened so it is unknown how he died. The only thing we are sure of is that he was
beheaded after death, his head sent to Constantinople, and his body buried at Snagov, his
favorite monastery, near Bucharest. His body, however, has never been found. It may have been looted,
may have decomposed because of the humidity, or perhaps he still walks the Earth. There are
numerous stories in circulation of this.

snagov

While we assume most of this is true, there is indeed no way to know. The only evidence we have
are legends and tales from the Romanians and German and Russian Pamphlets.

In some places in Romania he is seen as a champion of the common man. They don’t tell of him
as a cruel ruler who murdered hundreds of thousands. In fact, many of the Romanian tales have him
as a kind of hero. The name Vlad the Impaler was only used after his death.