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Vlad III Tepes Dracula (1431-1476): Romanian Freedom Fighter or Cold-Blooded Impaler?

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Introduction

Vlad III Tepes Dracula (1431-1476): Romanian Freedom Fighter or Cold-Blooded Impaler? Overview: Wallachian Society Bram Stoker's vampire villain inspiring over seven hundred films shares a connection with a historic prince. Stoker's prototype is believed to be based on Vlad III Dracula a fifteenth century viovode (prince) of Wallachia. An understanding of Vlad may aid in appreciating Stoker's protagonist. Vlad came from the princely House of Basarab. Wallachia is situated in Eastern Europe, the lands of the vampire legend, and shares a northern border with Transylvania. To the east is the Black Sea and to the south is Bulgaria. Wallachia emerged as a political power in the late thirteenth century from the ashes of the Eastern Roman Empire. Wallachia's first monarch was Basarab the Great (1310-1352).The throne of Wallachia was hereditary although the boyars of the nobility had the right to elect various members of the royal family. Common of European elective monarchies during the middle Ages the power of the government tended to be shared among the nobles. Assassination or murder was a common method of moving up the feudal society, therefore Wallachian politics contained much bloodshed. Towards the end of the 15th century the House of Basarab had split into two bitter clans. ...read more.

Middle

Following the destruction of the Christian army in the Battle of Varna, which Dracul and his elder son Mircea blamed Hunyadi. Great bitterness and hostility was shown towards the Wallachian monarch. In 1447 Dracul was assassinated and his son Mircea was buried alive. The news of Dracul's death brought the release of Dracula. Hunyadi had now placed a Danesti member on the throne of Wallachia. The Turks supported Dracula as their own candidate to the throne, hoping to again gain control of Wallachia and its surrounding provinces. With Turkish support, Dracula seized the throne in 1448. However, within only two months Hunyadi forced Dracula to advocate the throne and flee. Dracula fled to his cousin, the Prince of Moldavia, while Hunyadi once again placed Vladislav II on the throne. Vlad remained in exile for three years, until the murder of his cousin in 1451. Ongoing unrest and turmoil forced Dracula to flee to Transylvania to surprisingly seek the aid of enemy, Hunyadi. During this time Hunyadi's selected prince Vladislav II had instituted pro-Turkish legislation. Requiring a more reliable prince, Hunyadi accepted the alliance of Vlad, the son of his old enemy. Dracula waited until 1456 in Transylvania under the protection of Hunyadi before amounting his forces to attack. ...read more.

Conclusion

Impalement was indeed a truly grotesque and carnal thought out method of torture, aiming to exploit the victims' greatest pains. Historian Ray Porter comments, The stake was then inserted through the buttocks and was often forced until it emerged from the mouth...victims were sometimes impaled so that they hung upside down on the stake. There is the story that Dracula once impaled ten thousand in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu and on St. Bartholomew's day, he had thirty thousand merchants and boyars impaled. Famous images show Dracula feasting near forests of stakes while an executioner dismantles other humans. Legend also states Dracula like to nail nails in heads, cut off limbs, burn victims, cut off noses, mutilate sexual organs and boil victims alive. His reign of terror came to prominence upon taking up the throne. Women and children were not sparred. Dracula was concerned with female chastity and often cut women's sexual organs or breast off, who had committed adultery. Some sources narrate stories of women impaled through the vagina on hot stakes. Despite these acts of cruelty, Dracula insisted Wallachians to be honest and hard working. Scholars believe Dracula's actions may indeed be interpreted as efforts to strengthen and sustain the government while ensuring the security and productivity of his people. ...read more.

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