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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-48 next last
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]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-48 next last

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