Tag Archives: Dracula

Vlad the Impaler and the fight against the expansionism of the ottman empire


1499 German woodcut showing Dracule waide dini...

1499 German woodcut showing Dracule waide dining among the impaled corpses of his victims. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476/77), was a member of the House of Drăculești, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as (Vlad) Drăculea or (Vlad) Dracula. He was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ]), and was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was founded to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romanian population both south and north of the Danube. A significant number of Romanian common folk and remaining boyars (nobles) moved north of the Danube to Wallachia, recognized his leadership and settled there following his raids on the Ottomans.[1]

 

 

 

As the cognomen “The Impaler” suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation.[2] During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread abroad, to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker‘s 1897 novel Dracula was inspired by Vlad’s patronymic.[2]

 

 

 

Vlad III Dracula
Владъ Цепѣшъ
Voivode of Wallachia
Vlad Tepes 002.jpg

The Ambras Castle portrait of Vlad III, c. 1560, reputedly a copy of an original made during his lifetime[1]
Reign 1448; 1456–1462; 1476
Wives
Issue Mihnea cel Rău, Vlad IV, and Mircea (disputed name)
House House of Drăculești (branch of the House of Basarab)
Father Vlad II Dracul
Mother Cneajna of Moldavia (presumed)
Born November or December 1431[1]
Segesvár, Kingdom of Hungary
(city now known as Sighișoara, Romania)
Died December 1476 or January 1477, exact date unknown (aged 44-45)
Wallachia (exact location unknown)
Signature

 

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476/77), was a member of the House of Drăculești, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as (Vlad) Drăculea or (Vlad) Dracula. He was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ]), and was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was founded to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romanian population both south and north of the Danube. A significant number of Romanian common folk and remaining boyars (nobles) moved north of the Danube to Wallachia, recognized his leadership and settled there following his raids on the Ottomans.[1]

 

 

 

As the cognomen “The Impaler” suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation.[2] During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread abroad, to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker‘s 1897 novel Dracula was inspired by Vlad’s patronymic.[2

 

 

 

Name

 

 

 

Further information: House of Drăculești

 

 

 

 

Bust of Vlad the Impaler in Sighișoara, his place of birth

 

During his life, Vlad wrote his name in Latin documents as Wladislaus Dragwlya, vaivoda partium Transalpinarum (1475).[3]

 

 

 

His Romanian patronymic Dragwlya (or Dragkwlya)[3] Dragulea,

 

Vlad Drăculea of Wallachia

Vlad Drăculea of Wallachia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Dragolea, Drăculea,[4][5] is a diminutive of the epithet Dracul carried by his father Vlad II, who in 1431 was inducted as a member of the Order of the Dragon, a chivalric order founded by Emperor Sigismund in 1408. Dracul is the Romanian definite form, the -ul being the suffixal definite article (deriving from Latin ille). The noun drac “dragon” itself continues Latin draco. In Modern Romanian, the word drac has adopted the meaning of “devil” (the term for “dragon” now being balaur or dragon). This has led to misinterpretations of Vlad’s epithet as characterizing him as “devilish”.

 

 

 

Vlad’s nickname of Țepeș (“Impaler“) identifies his favourite method of execution but was only attached to his name posthumously, in c. 1550.[3] Before this, however, he was known as Kazıklı Bey (Impaler Lord) by the Ottoman Empire after their armies encountered his “forests” of impalement victims.[6]

 

 

 

Early life

 

 

 

Family

 

 

 

English: House of Vlad III the Impaler

English: House of Vlad III the Impaler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Vlad was born in Sighișoara, Transylvania, in the winter of 1431 to Vlad II Dracul, future voivode of Wallachia. Vlad’s father was the son of the celebrated Voivode Mircea the Elder. His mother is unknown, though at the time his father was believed to have been married to Princess Cneajna of Moldavia (eldest daughter of Alexander “the Good”, Prince of Moldavia and aunt to Stephen the Great of Moldavia) and also to have kept a number of mistresses.[1] He had two older half-brothers, Mircea II and Vlad Călugărul, and a younger brother, Radu III the Handsome.

 

 

 

 

 

In the year of his birth, Vlad’s father traveled to Nuremberg, where he was then vested into the Order of the Dragon,[1] a fellowship of knights sworn to defend Christendom against the encroaching Ottomans and European heresies, such as the Hussites.[7] During his initiation, he was given the epithet Dracul, or dragon, by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.[8]

 

 

 

Vlad and Radu spent their early formative years in Sighișoara. During the first reign of their father, Vlad II Dracul, the Voivode brought his young sons to Târgoviște, the capital of Wallachia at that time.

 

 

 

The Byzantine chancellor Mikhail Doukas showed that, at Târgoviște, the sons of boyars and ruling princes were well-educated by Romanian or Greek scholars commissioned from Constantinople. Vlad is believed to have learned combat skills, geography, mathematics, science, languages (Old Church Slavonic, German, Latin), and the classical arts and philosophy.

 

 

 

Dealings with the Ottoman Empire

 

 

 

In 1436, Vlad II Dracul ascended the throne of Wallachia. He was ousted in 1442 by rival factions in league with Hungary, but secured Ottoman support for his return by agreeing to pay the tribute to the Sultan.

 

 

 

At 13, Vlad and his brother Radu were held as political hostages by the Ottoman Turks. During his years as hostage, Vlad was educated in logic, the Quran, and the Turkish language and works of literature. He would speak this language fluently in his later years.[1] He and his brother were also trained in warfare and horsemanship.

 

 

 

Despite increasing his cultural capital with the Ottomans, Vlad was not at all pleased to be in Turkish hands. He was resentful and incredibly jealous of his little brother, who soon earned the nickname Radu cel Frumos, or Radu the Handsome. Radu was well behaved and quickly earned the friendship of Sultan Murad’s son, Mehmet; he eventually converted to Islam and entered Ottoman service.[9] Conversely, Vlad was defiant and constantly punished for his impudence. It has been suggested that his traumatic experiences among the Ottomans may have molded him into the sadistic man he grew up to be, especially in regards to his penchant for impaling.[7] In 1457, Vlad helped his cousin Stephen ascend Moldavia‘s throne by providing 6,000 horsemen as military assistance against Petru Aron, who was deposed after two battles. Stephen of Moldavia‘s long lasting reign developed into the most fierce anti-Ottoman resistance.[10]

Bran Castle (click to access gallery!)

 

 

 

 

Archaeology Volunteering in Romania: Volunteer in Romania


In Romania, volunteers on the Archaeology project are based in various locations, although the main base will be Deva, a city with 80,000 inhabitants. In ancient times Deva was a Dacian fortress called Decidava. Nowadays, it is the capital city of the Hunedoara district, an area with an extensive and fascinating history.

Volunteers work with a number of archaeological groups, including Romania’s Museum of History where they investigate ancient Dacia and the medieval environs of Transylvania. Archaeological sites found in the Carpathian Mountains and plains below have already yielded some remarkable information about the time of the infamous Vlad-the-Impaler, the supposed inspiration for the Dracula legend.

Our Archaeology placements are a great way to learn about civilisations that have long-since disappeared. Through clues, investigations and practical research you can attempt to reconstruct many aspects of their way of life whilst collaborating with some of the best specialists in the periods from Neolithic to Medieval

via Archaeology Volunteering in Romania: Volunteer in Romania.

today’s birthday: Bram Stoker (1847)


Bram Stoker (1847)

Though he was best known during his lifetime as the longtime manager of actor Henry Irving, Stoker’s enduring popularity rests squarely on his 1897 Gothic horror tale, Dracula, about the eponymous vampire. Although he did not invent the vampire novel, Dracula is singularly responsible for scores of literary, theatrical, and film interpretations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Why did Stoker’s widow demand that the 1922 film Nosferatu be destroyed? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Béla Lugosi (1882)


Béla Lugosi (1882)

Lugosi, a Hungarian-born US actor, is best known for his portrayal of Dracula in the Broadway stage production and subsequent film of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire story. He appeared in the 1931 film version wearing minimal makeup and using his natural, heavily accented voice. Following this memorable performance, Lugosi found himself frequently typecast as a horror film villain. When Lugosi died in 1956, his son and fourth wife decided to bury him wearing what part of his Dracula costume? More… Discuss

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: GARY OLDMAN (1958)


Gary Oldman (1958)

Oldman is an English actor known for playing eccentric characters and for his ability to master accents. He first appeared on screen in the 1982 film Remembrance and has since played a variety of characters including Dracula, Beethoven, and Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. In 1997, he wrote, directed, and produced Nil By Mouth, an award-winning film reportedly based on his life. Recently, he has received acclaim for his portrayal of which character in the Harry Potter film seriesMore… Discuss

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QUOTATION: Bram Stoker about SCIENCE [Or: to be is to be explainable]


It is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all, and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.

Bram Stoker (1847-1912) Discuss