Vlad III the Impaler, The Historical Dracula Part 1
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Uploaded on Aug 6, 2008
His Romanian surname Drǎculea, is derived from his father's title Dracul, meaning 'son of Dracul'. (see Vlad II Dracul); the latter was a member of the Order of the Dragon created by Emperor Sigismund. The word "dracul" means "the Devil" or "demon" in modern Romanian but in Vlad's day also meant "dragon", and derives from the Latin word Draco, also meaning "dragon"..
The old Romanian word for serpent (Cf. drac) is nowadays the most common and casual reference to the devil — while the people of Wallachia did give Vlad II the surname Dracu (Dracul being the more grammatically correct form), any connection with a dark power was most likely coincidental. .. His son Vlad III would later use in several documents the surname Drăculea. Through various translations (Draculea, Drakulya) Vlad III eventually came to be known as Dracula (note that this ultimate version is a neologism).
The reputation of Vlad Ţepeş was considerably darker in Western Europe than in Eastern Europe and Romania. In the West, Vlad III Ţepeş has been characterized as an exceedingly cruel madman. The number of his victims ranges from 40,000 to 100,000. Much of the information about his atrocities and cruelty comes from the German stories written about him, which were for the most part politically, religiously and economically inspired propaganda against Vlad Ţepeş. Although some of the stories have some basis in reality, most of them are either fictional or exaggerated. According to the German stories the number of victims he had killed was at least 80,000. In addition to the 80,000 victims mentioned he also had whole villages and fortresses destroyed and burned to the ground. These numbers are most likely exaggerated. For example in one episode in the German stories Vlad impaled 600 merchants from Braşov and confiscated all their goods. A document written by Vlad's rival Dan III in 1459 mentions that forty one merchants were impaled. It is highly unlikely that a rival of Vlad's would have reduced the number of Vlad's victims.
The atrocities made by Vlad in the German stories include impaling, torturing, burning, skinning, roasting, and boiling people, feeding people human flesh (their friends or relatives), cutting off limbs, drowning, and nailing of hats to the heads of people. His victims included men and women of all ages, religions and social classes, children and babies. The exaggeration of cruelties in the German stories is quite clear when compared to the Russian or the Romanian stories about Vlad Ţepeş from which the meaningless violence and cruel atrocities are almost absent. The exaggerated and propagandistic view is especially clear in one sentence in the stories: He caused so much pain and suffering that even the most bloodthirstiest persecutors of Christianity like Herodes, Nero, Diocletius and all other pagans combined hadn't even thought of.
His post-mortem moniker of Ţepeş (Impaler) originated in his preferred method for executing his opponents, impalement — as popularized by medieval Transylvanian pamphlets. In Turkish, he was known as "Kazıklı Voyvoda" (pronounced [kɑzɯkˈɫɯ]) which means "Impaler Prince". Vlad was referred to as Dracula in a number of documents of his times, mainly the Transylvanian Saxon pamphlets and The Annals of Jan Długosz.
Vlad Dracula was killed in battle against the Turks near the town of Bucharest in December of 1476. Some reports indicate that he was assassinated by disloyal Wallachian boyars just as he was about to sweep the Turks from the field. Other accounts have him falling in defeat, surrounded by the ranks of his loyal Moldavian bodyguard. Still other reports claim that Vlad, at the moment of victory, was accidentally struck down by one of his own men. The one undisputed fact is that ultimately his body was decapitated by the Turks and his head sent to Constantinople where the sultan the recent conqueror of Constantinople Mohammad Al Fatih (Mehmet II) had it displayed on a stake as proof that the horrible Impaler was finally dead. He was reportedly buried at Snagov, an island monastery located near Bucharest.
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