Vlad The Impaler
Age Rating: 13 +
"Apa trece, pietrele ramin."
"The water flows, the rocks remain."
-Old Romanian Proverb
Vlad Die Tepes, with blood-soaked fist,
Prince of Wallachia, in evil did persist.
Transylvanian roots entailed an image knave,
His Order of the Dragon sent many to their grave.
* * *
Cutthroat was his nature as he sat upon his throne.
His "land beyond the forest," on the Arges River reign.
* * *
He loved to burn the beggars,
He loved to kill in droves,
He hung up all his enemies
And stuck them up on poles.
Who was this hungry tyrant?
With broadsword, and crossbow,
Murdering in masses,
No mercy did he show.
Wickedness through ageless time,
Warrior with soul unkind,
With cruelties and demented crime,
He rose in powers' heights did climb.
One cold morning his vanguard met
Mehmed's army there he set
The captives up on sharpened poles,
Romanians fought like devils bold.
Here the Sultan shrieked in horror.
The Turks turned away to cower,
'Neath the onslaught Dracul sent
His army saved the Continent.
Son of the Dragon, Dracula
Defended as Christian pillager.
Forty thousand deaths to him
With torture and impaling grim.
The forest of Vlasia dark
His death is shrouded and so stark.
His head was never found, you know,
And fed his legend, quid pro quo.
THE REAL DRACULA
Prince Vlad Tepes III (1431 - 1476) (pronounced Tee-pesh)was descended from Basarab the Great, a 14th century prince who founded the state of Wallachia, part of Romania. Vlad belonged to the Order of the Dragon (created by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, in 1408). Vlad took the nickname "Dracul," the Wallachian word derived from the Latin, "draco," the dragon. The sobriquet he adopted was Dracula, "son of Dracul," or "son of the Dragon."
His name "Tepes," was from the Turkish nickname "kayikul bey," ("impaling prince"). Vlad was most fond of this form of execution.
Vlad began his reign as military governor of Transylvania and eventually ruled the state of Wallachia in 1456, just three years after Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. His kingdom lay directly in the path of the Turks in their campaign to conquer Europe. Sultan Mehmed II invaded Romania and Hungary in the winter of 1461-62. Vlad, used his military prowess and a psychological edge to defeat the Turks. Along the invasion route 20,000 Turkish prisoners were impaled across the fields of Tirgoviste. The Sultan, horrified, withdrew. The war wasn't over, but eventually as warrior prince "voivodes," Vlad would drive the Ottomans out of the Danube River Valley. With such atrocities, Dracula instilled terror in his subjects as well as his enemies.
Vlad killed between 40,000 to 100,000 people, possibly more. He executed merchants who cheated their customers, women who had affairs, even children. He would display the corpses in public so everyone would learn a lesson. He impaled rats and birds just for fun.
He was deposed by his brother Radu the Handsome in 1462, but regained his throne in 1476. The Turks attacked a few months later and Dracula was killed while fighting near Bucharest in December of 1476. Some say he was slain by his own men in the heat of battle. He was decapitated and head brought to the Sultan. His body was recovered and buried at the island monastery of Snagov, which he had patronized over the years.
He was immortalized in the fictional novel by Bram Stoker "Dracula, or the Un-Dead," published in 1897. This dark, Gothic tale set the standard for all subsequent vampire stories. The true Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) was more horrifying than the fictional character.
"Dracula, A Biography of Vlad the Impaler," Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally, Hale, 1974.
"Vlad III, Dracula: The Life and Times of the Historical Dracula," by Kurt W. Treptow.
"The Real Dracula," Documentary from the History Channel about the life of Vlad the Impaler. Available from A & E.
There are many other works, essays, books and movies on this subject.