Will the real Count Dracula please stand up? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 31, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 31, 2017

Will the real Count Dracula please stand up?

In the history of horrors, very few names have manifested the terror of monsters in the human hearts than the Dracula. Even though the character was created by Bram Stoker's eponymous 1987 novel, Dracula, it is partially based upon a real life historical figure known as Vlad III, a prince of Wallachia. Born in what is now known as Transylvania, the central region of current Romania, this fifteenth century Prince was known for his similar taste for blood and his unpleasant ways of torturing his enemies, earning him the title of Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler.

More than anything, he preferred the horrible ways of impalement to torture and execute his enemies. Moreover, to warn his enemies of his strict moral code, he would create a display of the decaying corpses, hanging from the stakes.

His father Vlad II who was a member of The order of the Dragon, a fraternal order of knights founded to uphold Christianity and to defend the Roman Empire from the Ottoman Turks, came to be known as Vlad Dracul. This translates as Vlad the Dragon. 

In Romanian the ending “ulea” means “the son of.” So, under this interpretation Dracula means “Son of the dragon” which again had a double meaning of “Devil”, shedding light upon the atrocities inflicted by him. 

It follows that Vlad the Impaler not only showed great cruelty towards his political and military enemies, but also relished in a sadistic amusement when it came to punishing them. 

While dispensing people in his most favourite way of impalement, he used to witness the slow and painful death of the people while he dined. Rumor has it that he even drank the blood of his enemies. 

Vlad's reign of terror ended after he was captured by the Turks and sent to exile in Hungary for 12 years. Even in his confinement it is said that he could not help but inflict torture upon little birds and mice, proceeding to behead and mutilate them. He was finally killed near Bucharest in 1476 and his head was chopped off and taken to Constantinople to be presented to the Sultan. 

Stoker found the inspiration for his blood thirsty character from his frightening subhuman monster, on account of his violent nature and propensity to cause terror among the people.


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