Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The True Story Of Dracula (Interesting read)
Useless-knowledge.com ^ | October 18 , 2004 | Mark Gelbart

Posted on 08/05/2005 9:06:30 AM PDT by robowombat

The True Story Of Dracula

By Mark Gelbart Oct. 14, 2004

Halloween is a time when friendly neighbors pretend to be tricked by children dressed up as ghosts, goblins, superheroes, clowns, fairies, and Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. And in return the adults--feigning surprise--pass out sugary treats; a tradition that has helped those in the dental profession for many generations. Unlike most of the characters that make an annual appearance on our door steps, Dracula is based on a real person. Most people are familiar with the fictional version of Dracula created by Bram Stoker, but they are only vaguely aware of the true Dracula from the history books. The old adage that truth is stranger than fiction applies here, and one with modern sensibilities also might add that the truth is more horrific than fiction.

Like the fictional legend, the real Dracula lived in Trannsylvania, now a province of Romania, but in the fifteenth century it was a battleground between the Hungarian Empire and the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. Dracula was a name picked by Vlad Tepes when he joined a fraternal order of knights vowed to protect Christians from muslim Turks. Dracula means both devil and dragon.

Vlad Tepes seized the throne of Trannsylvania in 1436 and tried to stay neutral when the Hungarians went to war with the Turks. Hungary lost the war, and they blamed Vlad who they forced from the throne. In contradiction to his vows as a Christian knight, Vlad allied with the Turks and regained power. However, to insure continued loyalty, Vlad had to leave his two sons, Vlad and Radu, as hostages in Turkey--a common practice during this time period. Vlad, the son, is the one who the legend of Dracula is based on.

In 1444 Hungary went to war with the Ottoman Empire again, and this time the elder Dracula was killed and replaced with the Hungarian puppet kin, Vladislav II. The following series of events was like a game of musical chairs: Vlad, the son, returned with the support of the Turks in an attempt to gain power, Vladislav was afraid that he would lose, so he switched sides and joined the Turks, and Vlad switched sides and allied with the Hungarians. Vlad won.

As king of Trannsylvania, Vlad declared war on poverty. He invited all the poor people and beggars to a grand feast in a castle. He then locked all of the exits and burned the castle down. He even said, "I did this so there would be no poor in my realm."

His tactics for consolidating power were also very ruthless. He enslaved all of the land- owning nobility and forced them to build his castle which still stands today. He gave the former nobility's land to his friends.

Vlad earned his nickname, the impaler. Historians estimate that he impaled between fourty thousand and one hundred thousand people. Vlad would have big banquets and would enjoy seeing people being impaled, while he ate. The victim could be anyone, and the reason could be for any excuse or whim. He even had women and small children impaled for trivial reasons. He seemed to have a fetish for impaling. Later in life, he was chased from the throne and was forced to live under house arrest by the king of Hungary. Since he no longer had power over people, he liked to impale small animals instead.

Vlad, the impaler, is considered to be a great patriotic hero by most Romanians, because he helped Trannsylvania become independent from the Ottoman Empire. The Turks invaded his kingdom, and he defeated them in battle. He took twenty thousand prisoners and impaled them all. In addition, he burned down farms and villages and poisoned wells, so the Turks would be denied supplies. When the Turks saw the impaled prisoners, they became frightened, and they retreated.

A grisly ending was in store for Vlad as well. The Turks returned--this time with Vlad's brother, Radu. In the middle ages sibling rivalry could become quite bloody. Radu and the Turks were able to force Vlad from the throne and he had to escape through secret passages in his castle. He sought refuge in Hungary and was arrested by the king. His brother died of syphilis, and the king of Hungary allowed Vlad to regain the throne. His return was short-lived. He was defeated, captured, and beheaded by the Turks. The sultan kept Vlad's head displayed on a stick.

The true story provided ample material for Bram Stoker's fertile imagination though this was only a small part of his novel. He borrowed the character's name, his bloodthirstiness, and his location. What about the idea for vampirism?

Vampirism is one of many superstitions that were held by the illiterate peasants of Trannsylvania during the middle ages. The human mind needed explanations for the enigmatic occurences of everyday living.

Busy, exhausted peasants--one debatable step about slavery--didn't have the time or energy to dig deep graves. They buried their loved ones in shallow graves. During the warmer months, this practice could have disturbing consequences. Decomposition would cause the bodies of the corpses to fill with gas. The escaping gas from decaying, bloated bodies would make funny noises, and the peasants thought the bodies were becoming undead. The expanding gas could also make the corpses sit straight up, and because they were in shallow graves, they would break through the surface of the soil. This would not be a comforting sight for a feudal age peasant. The peasants would rebury the corpse and stake it to the ground. Sticking a stake through the bloated body would release more gas that to a fearful peasant might sound like screaming. Vampirism was the explanation for what we now know as a chemical process.

One can see how a writer gets his, or her ideas. Bram Stoker combined two different legends into one, and wrote a classic novel.

Posted on Monday, October 18


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: bulgaria; dracula; godsgravesglyphs; vampire
Bram Stoker combined two different legends into one, and wrote a classic novel.
1 posted on 08/05/2005 9:06:32 AM PDT by robowombat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: robowombat

Great movie despite Keanu Reeves.


2 posted on 08/05/2005 9:09:29 AM PDT by Feiny (Practice random and senseless acts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: feinswinesuksass

How about reposting this at halloween


3 posted on 08/05/2005 9:12:45 AM PDT by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
Ahh some back story :) I've caught more than a few shows on the History Channel about Dracula but either they didn't get into the elder Vlad, or i forgot. At any rate interesting post.
4 posted on 08/05/2005 9:14:12 AM PDT by tfecw (Vote Democrat, It's easier than working)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
I am Vlad......Spartacus!!!
5 posted on 08/05/2005 9:17:27 AM PDT by Focault's Pendulum
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
The expanding gas could also make the corpses sit straight up, and because they were in shallow graves, they would break through the surface of the soil. This would not be a comforting sight for a feudal age peasant.

LOL - the mental image of that happening is just priceless!
6 posted on 08/05/2005 9:18:27 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Islam is war)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
i am currently reading the novel The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova , which is a novel about historians researching that time period. it is a fascinating read, i highly recommend it.
7 posted on 08/05/2005 9:22:42 AM PDT by xsmommy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
Vlad, the impaler, is considered to be a great patriotic hero by most Romanians, because he helped Transylvania become independent from the Ottoman Empire. The Turks invaded his kingdom, and he defeated them in battle. He took twenty thousand prisoners and impaled them all. In addition, he burned down farms and villages and poisoned wells, so the Turks would be denied supplies. When the Turks saw the impaled prisoners, they became frightened, and they retreated.

Do you suppose this might work in Iran or Syria?

8 posted on 08/05/2005 9:24:10 AM PDT by dts32041 (Shinkichi: Massuer, did you see that? Zat˘ichi: I don't see much)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

9 posted on 08/05/2005 9:24:15 AM PDT by meowmeow (Meow! Meow!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reagan_fanatic
Good point I have seen bodies sitting upright on a battle field unnerving at first sight and I always wondered how...

I bet the peasants totally freaked. Imagine, walking through a field at night with bodies raising up!!!
10 posted on 08/05/2005 9:25:30 AM PDT by timdel33
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: dts32041

Yes the Turks dubbed him 'Kiziklu Bey', 'The Impaler Prince'.


11 posted on 08/05/2005 9:29:15 AM PDT by robowombat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

As king of Trannsylvania, Vlad declared war on poverty. He invited all the poor people and beggars to a grand feast in a castle. He then locked all of the exits and burned the castle down. He even said, "I did this so there would be no poor in my realm."

Anybody here think we should go this far in our war on poverty? Though It might have better results than the "Great Society".


12 posted on 08/05/2005 9:30:25 AM PDT by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the truth here folks.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dts32041

Probably, but we are too "civilized" for that.


13 posted on 08/05/2005 9:30:54 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Voevod
ping.

Where you been?

14 posted on 08/05/2005 9:32:04 AM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
The Romanians - or more properly the Wallachians - called him Vlad Tepes. Vlad the Impaler.

He and his father both belonged to the Order of the Dragon, a secret society set up by the Pope to fight Muslims and protect Christianity. The Romanian word for Dragon was Dracul. Dracul also meant "devil." As his father was called Dracul, the son, Vlad Tepes, was called Dracula or son of the Dragon, or little Dragon.

Despite the account given here about Dracula's death, all that is know for certain is that he died in a battle with the Turks and was killed by having his head cut off, possibly by a traitor in his own force. His head was apparently sent to Constantinople where the Sultan had it displayed on a pike.

There was a grave uncovered in a Church where Dracula was supposedly buried and the corpse had no head.

Dracula, in addition to his problems with the Turks, also had problems with foreign settlers - German Saxons - in his Country, problems arising from the conflict between Orthodox and Latin Christians, and problems with his aristocrats - the Boyars - as well as with the ruler of Hungary and some German potentates.

The stories about Dracula and his fiendish activities were transmitted to us by his enemies - the Germans and Hungarians.

The fact that his own people had a very different view of him indicates these stories may have been biased.

It was a violent, cruel age, and a Choirboy is not the kind of character needed to deal with the Turks who were a violent and aggressive enemy.

I think westerners should re-appraise Dracula and regard him in the same light as other Christian leaders who fought to keep the Muslim enemy from defiling European soil with their polluted presence. And for a time,e he did succeed. The Turks learned to fear the man called Vlad Tepes.

Modern Europeans could learn a lot from Vlad "Dracula" Tepes.
May God bless you Vlad Tepes, wherever you are. Europe owes you a debt of gratitude.
15 posted on 08/05/2005 9:45:17 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: dts32041

"twenty thousand prisoners and impaled them all. "

I don't even want to thing about how bad that smelled or the flies and illness it caused to the survivors.

Must have been horrific and bothered the locals as well.


16 posted on 08/05/2005 9:47:17 AM PDT by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: dts32041

"Do you suppose this might work in Iran or Syria?"

Yep! It would work with all of crazy Islamic Wahabbism. Vlad had the perfect solution to deal with these animals.


17 posted on 08/05/2005 9:53:45 AM PDT by DarthVader (Islam is not something to be understood, it is something that must be utterly destroyed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
As king of Trannsylvania, Vlad declared war on poverty. He invited all the poor people and beggars to a grand feast in a castle. He then locked all of the exits and burned the castle down. He even said, "I did this so there would be no poor in my realm."

(sarcasm) I knew I like this guy for some reason.

How is that for a solution to poverty...

18 posted on 08/05/2005 9:56:49 AM PDT by Paul C. Jesup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
What about the idea for vampirism?
Vampirism is one of many superstitions that were held by the illiterate peasants of Trannsylvania during the middle ages. The human mind needed explanations for the enigmatic occurences of everyday living.

Except for one small problem...

Every culture on Earth...INCLUDING those previously undisturbed Aboriginal tribes...have stories of Vampirism and Lycanthropy.

The stories are world-wide, and span ALL cultures.

19 posted on 08/05/2005 10:00:25 AM PDT by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xsmommy

This book sucks totally! It should be sub-titled how liberals fight vampires. Most of what this article states was in the book with the exception of Vlad having a brother. What till you get to the ending why Draculas kidnapped the college professor. I will not spoil it for you but you come back after your are finished and let me know if you thought it was scary! Dracula is a scary book and the revised version by Stephen King - 'Salems Lot - is also scary. The Historian is a complete bore!


20 posted on 08/05/2005 10:01:47 AM PDT by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: 7thson

thanks for not spoiling it, bc i am truly loving the book. i am on page 481 and i have found it gripping from page one. i am on vacation and have had a ton of time to read. i will definitely look for you to discuss it with when i am finished, bc i don't know anyone else who has read it : )


21 posted on 08/05/2005 10:07:37 AM PDT by xsmommy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: PeterPrinciple

I am not sure where this information comes from, but I have never heard of that indcident. When he took the throne, he did invite all the royal administrators that were left over from the previous administration and kill them at a banquet to vanquish his enimies within the government.

Also, the name he was tagged with was Dracool, not exactly Draula, as we say it now.


22 posted on 08/05/2005 10:08:58 AM PDT by auntyfemenist (Show me your papers...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: robowombat; All

Actually, Vlad ruled in Wallachia, not Transylvania, though I believe that he had held lands in Transylvania.


23 posted on 08/05/2005 10:17:47 AM PDT by Jacob Kell (Regan 3:16: He whooped Communism's ass!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Focault's Pendulum
No - I am Spartacus!

CA....

24 posted on 08/05/2005 10:22:38 AM PDT by Chances Are (Whew! It seems I've once again found that silly grin!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: ZULU

Wasn't Vlad then succeeded in power by his brother Shishka Bob? LOL


25 posted on 08/05/2005 10:41:35 AM PDT by '61 Libertarian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Jacob Kell

Right. He was from Wallachia. Wallachia and Transylvania are both in modern day Romania.


26 posted on 08/05/2005 10:52:44 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: '61 Libertarian

Funny.

I guess a lot of people would "get the point".


27 posted on 08/05/2005 10:53:29 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
I read somewhere that Transylvania was at one time a center of powerful christianity (during the Reformation?).

Amazing that now it is known as a satanic center. I had a feeling the Muslims were involved somehow.

28 posted on 08/05/2005 11:13:42 AM PDT by July20
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: July20

Just read the article. Now I know more.


29 posted on 08/05/2005 11:21:24 AM PDT by July20
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: ZULU

For more, see also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad

"He was greatly disliked, but the bufferzone between Central Europe and the Ottoman Empire made Vlad a crucial player in the defense of Christendom.

At times, he and his army would pass over the frozen Danube and invade Ottoman territory (mainly in present-day Bulgaria) and cause great mayhem. In one of his invasions, he is supposedly to have killed more than 20,000 Turks. This, in turn, caught the attention of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who himself laid siege on Targoviste. Vlad fled but left impaled corpses of Muslims and used the scorched earth policy. He ordered the burning of crops, the poisoning of wells, and the killing of all domestic animals. He freed convicted criminals and encouraged those who were afflicted with leprosy and the bubonic plague to mingle among the Turks.

Mahmud Pasha lamented that "for six leagues not a drop of water was to be found. The intensity of the heat caused by the scorching sun was so great that the armor seemed as if it would melt like a lighted candle."


30 posted on 08/05/2005 11:32:28 AM PDT by bwteim (Begin With The End In Mind)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: bwteim

"Another anecdote tells of a foreign merchant who was in Vlad's capital city. The merchant left his wagon out, knowing the strict punishment for breaking the law. When he came back to the wagon in the morning he found that 16 ducats were missing. He went to Dracula and told him of the stolen money. Vlad told him he would have his money by sundown. He then told the people that if they did not find the thief, then he (Vlad), would burn down the city. He then told one of his servants to place 17 ducats in the merchant's wagon. After the merchant discovered the ducats, he went to Dracula and told him that there was an extra ducat. At this point the thief was brought to Dracula who ordered him impaled, and Dracula also told the merchant that if he had not returned the extra ducat, he would have been impaled along with the thief."


"On a kinder note, another story tells that Vlad placed a golden cup at a well-travelled spring so travelers could drink. Not once during his entire reign was the cup ever stolen. The legend also says that the very day people saw the cup missing they knew that Vlad was gone."

I think Vlad was the kind of ruler the Wallachians needed and appreciated at the time.

He was a Christian warrior holding the gates of Europe against the Turks.

By the way, young Vlad probaly learned about impalements while kept hostage by the brutal Turks.

Using their own techniques against them was fair play.


31 posted on 08/05/2005 11:57:53 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

Contrary to the popular conception that vampires are a real pain in the neck, Dracula was a real pain in the a$$.


32 posted on 08/05/2005 12:00:15 PM PDT by punster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: auntyfemenist

I'm with you,
I know about him killing the 'nobles' or administrators after a feast, but I've never heard this story before.

Vlad and the whole 'Dracula' legend is one on my favorite bits of history.


33 posted on 08/05/2005 12:05:14 PM PDT by najida (OK, now its Ice ICE BABY! Then I party.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: ZULU

Exactly,
What the Turks did as common practice was very similar to what he did.

It was a brutal time (glad I wasn't there) but he was the right person for the era.


34 posted on 08/05/2005 12:06:56 PM PDT by najida (OK, now its Ice ICE BABY! Then I party.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: ZULU

Thanks. You got me searching.

See

http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Cavern/3987/1.html
for extensive pages.


35 posted on 08/05/2005 12:18:45 PM PDT by bwteim (Begin With The End In Mind)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
...he liked to impale small animals

bla
36 posted on 08/05/2005 12:25:54 PM PDT by evets (4,149)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: punster
Hehe. One story I recall is about some emissaries from somebody. They refused to remove their skull caps in
Vlad's presence, so he had the caps affixed with short nails so that they wouldn't get lost on the way back.
37 posted on 08/05/2005 12:27:46 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Calvin Locke

they were Turkish envoys..


38 posted on 08/05/2005 12:30:42 PM PDT by dznutz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

wasn't there a part of the story where at one point while treating with turks, he ordered them to remove their turbins, and when they refused he nailed their turbans to their heads?


39 posted on 08/05/2005 12:34:17 PM PDT by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

Intersting background. Thanks.


40 posted on 08/05/2005 3:11:09 PM PDT by Siena Dreaming
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
Bram Stoker

I keep getting that name confoosed with that airline/music/whatever guy....the one that sponsors the around-the-world balloonists.

41 posted on 08/05/2005 3:15:08 PM PDT by ErnBatavia
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

very interesting!


42 posted on 08/05/2005 3:17:30 PM PDT by EsmeraldaA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: feinswinesuksass

Interesting article.


43 posted on 08/05/2005 8:10:15 PM PDT by Thombo2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
Interesting story. Some new facts for me. I think Vlad the Impaler will be the new name of one of Mr. Ditters bulls.
44 posted on 08/05/2005 8:19:35 PM PDT by Ditter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

This also has some great info:

http://www.donlinke.com/drakula/vlad.htm


45 posted on 08/05/2005 9:02:45 PM PDT by Feiny (Practice random and senseless acts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat
I can never remember if it was Vlad or one of the other sadistic bastards like Ivan that ordered noble families that were suspected of treason to have a feast at the castle.

The people told their children that they most likely would not be coming home.

So as they were eating they were waiting for the orders for them to be taken out and executed. Finally the meal was over and they were asked by their host how they liked the food, and they of course said they enjoyed it.

They were then informed that the meat was their children.

46 posted on 08/05/2005 9:27:12 PM PDT by CARDINALRULES (Tough times never last -Tough people do. DK57)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CARDINALRULES
This sounds like a similar story about how Amir Abdur Rahman the so called Iron Amir of Afghanistan dealt with some rebellious tribesmen. One wonders if either happened but the effect of putting such stories about in a preliterate society would certainly be smart pysch ops.
47 posted on 08/08/2005 5:04:39 AM PDT by robowombat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]


 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks robowombat.

Note: this topic is from 8/5/2005.

Blast from the Past.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


48 posted on 06/06/2012 4:32:08 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson