Publication Sighisoara

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The old and beautiful medieval city of Sighisoara made me understand important parts of my country's history, a fact which also described me a more accurate image of my culture with it's customs and …

The old and beautiful medieval city of Sighisoara made me understand important parts of my country's history, a fact which also described me a more accurate image of my culture with it's customs and traditions.

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  • 1. Sighisoara - Transylvania revolutionary Hungarian “The House with Antlers” army led by Josef Bem was has been brought into the defeated by the Russian army possession of the Messerschmitt led by Luders on 31 July Foundation with the help 1849. A monument was of the Romanian constructed in 1852 to the Government and the town Russian general Skariatin, council of Sighisoara in who died in the battle. The April 2000, defrauding Hungarian poet Sandor Petofi the legitimate heirs, the descendents is generally believed to have Leicht-Bacon (with been killed in the battle, and a English roots), who are monument was constructed in mentioned in the cadaster his honor at Albesti in 1897. of Sighisoara as owners After World War 1 Sighisoara before the communist passed with Transylvania dispossession of 1950. urban economy, as well as from Austria-Hungary to the uring the 12th century,building the fortifications Kingdom of Romania. Central In 2001-2003 the D German craftsmen and merchants known as protecting it. It is estimated that during the 16th and the Sighisoara has preserved in an exemplary way the features of construction of a Dracula theme park in the ‘Breite’ the Transylvanian Saxons 17th centuries Sighisoara a small medieval fortified city, nature preserve near were invited to Transylvania had as many as 15 guilds it has been listed by the Sighisoara was considered by the King of Hungary to and 20 handicraft branches. UNESCO as a World Heritage but ultimately rejected, due settle and defend the frontier The Baroque sculptor Elia Site. Each year, a Medieval to the strong opposition of of his realm. The chronicler Nicolai lived in the city. The Festival takes place in the old local civil society groups Krauss lists a Saxon Wallachian prince Vlad citadel in July.The houses and national and settlement in the actual Dracul(father of Vlad the inside Sighisoara Citadel show international media as well Sighisoara by 1191. By Impaler (Dracula), who the main features of a as politically influential 1280 it was known by the lived in exile in the town, let craftsmen’s town. However, persons, as the theme park Latin name of Castrum Sex, minted coins in the city there are some houses which would have detracted from and by 1298 by the Saxon (otherwise coinage was the belonged to the former the medieval style of the name of Schespurch resp. monopoly of the Hungarian patriciate, like the Venetian city and would have Schaesbrich. By 1337 kings in the Kingdom of House and the House with destroyed the nature Sighisoara had become a Hungary) and issued the Antlers. preserve.g royal center for the kings, first document listing the who awarded the settlement city’s Romanian name, urban status in 1367 as the Sighisoara. The city was the Civitas de Segusvar.The setting for George I city played an important Rackoczi‘s election as strategic and commercial Prince of Transylvania and role at the edges of Central King of Hungary in 1631. Europe for several centuries.Sighisoara suffered military Sighisoara became one of occupation, fires, and the most important cities of plagues during the 17th and Transylvania, with artisans 18th centuries. from throughout the Holy Roman Empire. The The nearby plain of German artisans and Albesti was the site of the craftsmen dominated the Battle of Segesvar, where the
  • 2. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler “dragon” and derives from the his native country was Latin word “Draco”, also Wallachia to the south, the meaning “dragon”. family lived in exile in Transylvania as his father The people of Wallachia gave Vlad II the surname “Dracul”. His son Vlad III would later use the surname “Drãculea” in several documents. Through various adaptations (“Draculea”, “Drakulya”) Vlad III eventually came to be referred to as “Dracula”. His post-mortem had been ousted by moniker of “Tepes” pro-Ottoman boyars. In the (“Impaler”) originated in his same year as his birth, his preferred method for father was living in executing his opponents, Nuremberg, where he was continuation... known for the exceedingly impalement, as popularized by vested into the Order of the cruel punishment he medieval Transylvanian Dragon. At the age of five, imposed as ruler of pamphlets. In Turkish, he was young Vlad was also lad III, Prince of V Wallachia, commonly known as more Wallachia; however, the people of Romania refer to Vlad as a savior to their known as “Kazýklý Voyvoda” which means “Impaler Prince”. Vlad was referred to initiated into the Order of the Dragon. Vlad’s father was under considerable Vlad the Impaler (in as “Dracula” in a number of political pressure from the Romanian Vlad Tepes , or nation and continue to justify documents of his times, Ottoman sultan. Threatened his method of torture as not mainly the Transylvania with invasion, he gave a simply Dracula (c.1431 – uncommon for that period in December, 1476), was a Saxon pamphlets and “The promise to be the vassal of history. Annals of Jan Dlugosz”. Vlad the sultan and gave up his Wallachian (present-day southern Romania) voivde. was very likely born in the two younger sons as His first reign as crown In the citadel of Sighisoara , hostages so that he would English-speaking world, Vlad Transylvania in 1431. He was keep his promise. Vlad prince took place at age 17, the second son of Vlad Dracul developed a well-known III is perhaps most commonly during the same year of his known for inspiring the name and Princess Cheajna, hatred for Radu and for release from Turkish of the vampire in Bram daughter of Alexander the Mehmed, who would later captivity, in 1448. His main Stocker’s 1897 novel Dracula. Good of Moldavia. Although become the sultan .g reign took place in 1456 and As prince, Vlad maintained an ended in 1462. His final independent policy in relation reign was accomplished with to the Ottoman Empire and the aid of the Hungarian was a defender of Wallachia throne in 1476 and he ruled against Ottoman until his assassination Expansionism. His Romanian months later within the same surname “Drãculea” means year. Vlad the Impaler is “Son of the dragon” and is derived from his father’s title, Vlad the Dragon (see Vlad II Dracul); the latter was a member of the Order of The Dragon, created in Serbia prior to the battle of Kosovo (1389), and re-instituted by Emperor Sigismund in 1408. The word “Dracul” means “the Devil” in modern Romanian but in Vlad’s day also meant
  • 3. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler war had led to rampant crime, transgressing his falling agricultural production, authority impaled.Vlad and the virtual disappearance of III was constantly on trade. Vlad used severe guard against the methods to restore order, as he adherents of the Dãnesti needed an economically stable clan, and some of his raids country if he was to have any into Transylvania may chance against his external have been efforts to enemies. capture the clan’s would-be princes. Several The early part of members of the clan died Vlad’s reign was dominated at Vlad’s hands. by the idea of eliminating all Vladislav II of Wallachia possible threats to his power, was murdered soon after mainly the rival nobility Vlad came to power in groups, i.e. the boyars. This 1456. Another Dãnesti was done mainly by physical prince, suspected to have elimination, but also by taken part in burying his reducing the economic role brother Mircea alive, was the new sultan Mehmed II, of the nobility: the key captured during one of continuation... Hunyadi pardoned him and positions in the Prince’s Vlad’s forays into took him in as an advisor. Council, traditionally Transylvania. Rumors ccording to McNally and A Florescu, he also distrusted his own father Eventually Hunyadi picked Vlad as the Kingdom of Hungary’s candidate for the belonging to the country’s greatest boyars, were handed to obscure individuals, some (spread by his enemies) say thousands of citizens of the town that had for trading him to the Turks throne of Wallachia. of them of foreign origin, but sheltered his rival were and betraying the Order of the who manifested loyalty impaled by Vlad. The Dragon’s oath to fight them. In 1453, the Ottomans, towards Vlad. For the less captured prince was Vlad’s father was under Mehmed II, took important functions, Vlad forced to read his own assassinated in the marshes near Constantinople after a also ignored the old boyars, eulogy while kneeling Bãlteni in December 1447 by prolonged siege, thus putting preferring to knight and before an open grave rebellious boyars allegedly under an end to the final major appoint men from the free before his execution. the orders of Hungarian regent Christian presence in the peasantry. A key element of Following family John Hunyadi. Vlad’s older eastern Mediterranean. the power of the Wallachian traditions and due to his brother Mircea was also dead at Ottoman influence began to nobility was their old hatred towards the this point, blinded with hot iron spread from this base through connections in the Ottomans, Vlad decided stakes and buried alive by his the Carpathians, and began to Saxon-populated to side with the political enemies at Târgoviste. threaten mainland Europe. autonomous towns of Hungarians. To the end of To protect their political power in Transylvania, so Vlad acted the 1450s there was once the region, the Ottomans invaded In 1456, Hungary against these cities by again talk about a war Wallachia and the Sultan put invaded Serbia to drive out eliminating their trade against the Turks, in the Ottomans, and Vlad III Vlad III on the throne as a puppet privileges in relation with which the king of simultaneously ruler. His rule at this time would invaded Wallachia and by organizing Hungary Matthias be brief; Hunyadi himself Wallachia with his own raids against them. In 1459, Corvinus would play the invaded Wallachia and ousted contingent. Both campaigns he had several of the German main role. Knowing this, him the same year. Vlad fled to were successful, although settlers (Saxons) and Vlad stopped paying Moldavia until October 1451 and Hunyadi died suddenly of officials of the tribute to the Ottomans in was put under the protection of the plague. Nevertheless, Transylvanian city of 1459 and around 1460 his uncle, Bogdan II. Vlad was now prince of his Kronstadt who were made a new alliance with native land.Vlad III’s Corvinus. This angered Bogdan was actions after 1456 are the Turks, who attempted assassinated in 1451 by Petru well-documented. to remove him. They Aron, and Vlad, taking a failed, however; later in gamble, fled to Hungary. the winter of 1461 to 1462 After the death of his Vlad crossed south of the Impressed by Vlad’s vast grandfather (Mircea the Elder) knowledge of the mindset and in 1418, Wallachia had fallen Danube and devastated inner workings of the Ottoman into a somewhat chaotic the area between Serbia Empire as well as his hatred of situation. A constant state of and the Black Sea. ” g
  • 4. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler the Bishop of Oradea. Vlad IV Dracula was a claimant to the continuation... Wallachian throne, but never ruled. The Hungarian branch n response to this, Sultan I Mehmed II, the recent conqueror of of his descendants married into nobility off and on, but none would ever rule Constantinople, raised an army of around 60,000 troops and Wallachia. The Romanian 30,000 irregulars and in the branch of his descendants spring of 1462 headed towards would continue to rule off and Wallachia. Other estimates for on until 1627, when the last the army include 150,000 by descendant, Alexandru Michael Doukas, 250,000 by Laonicus Chalcond. Mehmed Coconul, would fail to was greeted by the sight of a produce an heir.Vlad Dracula veritable forest of stakes on was killed in battle against the which Vlad the Impaler had Turks near the capital city of impaled 20,000 Turkish through the window into Vlad’s Diplomatic correspondence Bucharest in 1476. It is said prisoners. With his army of main quarters, with a message from Buda during the period in that he was decapitated by the 20,000–40,000 men Vlad was warning him that Radu’s army question also seems to support unable to stop the Turks from Turks and his head sent to was approaching. McNally and the claim that Vlad’s actual entering Wallachia and Florescu explain that the archer Istanbul where the Sultan had period of confinement was occupying the capital was one of Vlad’s former relatively short. The openly it displayed on a stake as proof Târgoviste (4 June 1462), so he servants who sent the warning pro-Turkish policy of Radu that the Impaler was finally resorted to guerrilla warfare, out of loyalty, despite having (who was prince of Wallachia dead. He was reportedly constantly organizing small converted to Islam to escape during most of Vlad’s buried at Snagov, an island attacks and ambushes on the enslavement by the Turks. captivity), was a probable Turks. The most important of monastery located near Upon reading the message, factor in Vlad’s rehabilitation. these attacks, The Night Vlad’s wife threw herself from Bucharest. However, it should During his captivity, Vlad also Attack, took place on the nights the tower into a tributary of the converted to Catholicism, in be noted that it is unclear who of June 16–17, when Vlad and Arges River flowing below the contrast to his brother who actually killed Vlad Dracula. some of his men allegedly castle. According to legend, she converted to Islam. In the When he came to power, Vlad entered the main Turkish camp remarked that she “would years before his final release in immediately had all the (wearing Ottoman disguises) rather have her body rot and be 1474, when he began and attempted to assassinate assembled nobles arrested. eaten by the fish of the Arges preparations for the reconquest Mehmed. Unable to subdue than be led into captivity by the The older boyars and their of Wallachia, Vlad resided Vlad, the Turks left the country, Turks”. Today, the tributary is with his new wife in a house in families were immediately leaving Vlad’s half-brother, called Râul Doamnei (the the Hungarian capital. impaled. The younger and Radu the Handsome, to “Lady’s River”, also called the healthier nobles and their continue fighting. Despite Vlad Princess’s River). families were marched north achieving military victories, he Vlad and his first wife had alienated himself from the had at least one child, a son, from Târgoviste to the ruins of nobility, which sided with Mihnea cel Rãu, who would rule Poienari Castle in the The exact length of Radu. By August 1462 Radu Vlad’s period of captivity is Wallachia 1508 to 1510. After his mountains above the Arges had struck a deal with the open to some debate, though first wife’s death, Vlad III would River.g Hungarian Crown. indications are that it was from Consequently, Vlad was not marry again until after his 1462 until 1474. He was able to imprisonment in Hungary in the imprisoned by Matthias gradually win his way back into Corvinus. the graces of Hungary’s 1460s. His second wife, Countess monarch, and eventually marry Ilona Szilágyi (the cousin of King His first wife, whose a member of the royal family. Matthias of Hungary) bore him name is not recorded, died His second wife, Countess Ilona two sons, Vlad IV Dracula and during the siege of his castle in Szilágyi (a cousin of Matthias), another son whose name is 1462. The Turkish army bore him two sons, Vlad unknown. Neither of his sons by surrounded Poienari Castle, led Dracula & another son whose by Radu. An archer having seen name is unknown, who were Ilona Szilágyi would succeed the shadow of Vlad’s wife about ten years old when he him. The unidentified younger behind a window, shot an arrow reconquered Wallachia in 1476. son died in 1482 while living with
  • 5. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler continuation... persecutors of Christianity like Herodes, people were impaled at a single time. One Nero, Diocletian and all other pagans such claim says 10,000 were impaled in lad was determined to rebuild this combined hadn’t even thought of.” V ancient fortress as his own stronghold and refuge. The enslaved Impalement was preferred method of torture and Tepes’s the Transylvanian city of Sibiu (where Vlad had once lived) in 1460. Another allegation asserts that during the previous boyars and their families were forced to execution. His method of torture was a labor for months, rebuilding the old castle horse attached to each of the victim’s legs year, on Saint Bartholomew’s Day (in with materials from another nearby ruin. as a sharpened stake was gradually forced August), Vlad had 30,000 of the According to tradition, they laboured until into the body. The end of the stake was merchants and officials of the the clothes fell off their bodies and then usually oiled, and care was taken that the Transylvanian city of Brasov impaled for were forced to continue working naked. stake not be too sharp; else the victim breaking his authority. One of the most Very few of the old gentry survived the might die too rapidly from shock. famous woodcuts of the period shows ordeal of building Vlad’s castle. Normally the stake was inserted into the body through the anus and was often f Vlad feasting in a forest of stakes and Throughout his reign, Vlad their grisly burdens outside Brasov, while systematically eradicated the old boyar orced through the body until it class of Wallachia. The old boyars had emerged from the mouth. a nearby executioner cuts apart other repeatedly undermined the power of the However, there victims. prince during previous reigns and had been were many responsible for the violent overthrow of instances wh Vlad Tepes is alleged to have several princes. Vlad was determined that his own power be on a modern and committed even more thoroughly secure footing. In place impalements and other tortures of the executed boyars, Vlad against invading Ottoman promoted new men forces. It was reported that an from among the free invading Ottoman army peasantry and middle turned back in fright when class, who would be loyal only to their prince. it encountered thousands of rotting corpses Vlad Tepes’s impaled on the banks reputation was considerably darker in Western Europe of the Danube. It has than in Eastern Europe and also been said that in Romania. In the West, Vlad III 1462 Mehmed II, the Tepes has been characterized as a conqueror of Constantinople, a man tyrant who took sadistic pleasure ere noted for his own psychological in torturing and killing his enemies. victims warfare tactics, returned to The number of his victims ranges were impaled from 40,000 to 100,000. According to through other Constantinople after being sickened the German stories the number of bodily orifices or through by the sight of 20,000 impaled victims he had killed was at least the abdomen or chest. Infants corpses outside Vlad’s capital of 80,000. In addition to the 80,000 victims were sometimes impaled on the Târgoviste. Many of the victims were mentioned he also had whole villages stake forced through their mother’s Turkish prisoners of war Vlad had and fortresses destroyed and burned to chests. The records indicate that victims previously captured during the the ground. These numbers are most were sometimes impaled so that they likely exaggerated. hung upside down on the stake. Turkish invasion. The total Turkish casualty toll in this battle reached over 40,000. The warrior sultan The atrocities committed by Vlad in the German stories include impaling, Death by impalement was slow and turned command of the campaign torturing, burning, skinning, roasting, and agonising. Victims sometimes endured for against Vlad over to subordinates and boiling people, feeding people the flesh of hours or even days. Vlad often had the stakes returned to Constantinople, even their friends or relatives, cutting off limbs, arranged in various geometric patterns. The though his army had initially drowning, and nailing people’s hats to most common pattern was a ring of outnumbered Vlad’s three to one and their heads. His victims included men and concentric circles in the outskirts of a city was better. The German stories women of all ages, religions and social classes, children and babies. One German that constituted his target. The height of the circulated first in manuscript form in account includes the following sentence: spear indicated the rank of the victim. The the late 15th century and the first “He caused so much pain and suffering corpses were often left decaying for manuscript was probably written in that even the most bloodthirstiest months.There are claims that thousands of 1462 before Vlad’s arrest.g
  • 6. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler continuation... was skinned and impaled in a square in Târgoviste with her skin lying on n addition to the manuscripts and a nearby table. Vlad also insisted I pamphlets the German version of the stories can be found in the poem of that his people be honest and hard-working. Merchants who Michel Beheim. The poem called “Von cheated their customers were likely ainem wutrich der hies Trakle waida to find themselves mounted on a von der Walachei” (“Story of a stake beside common thieves.The Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula Russian or the Slavic version of the of Wallachia”) was written and stories about Vlad Tepes called performed at the court of Frederick III, “Skazakie o Drakule voevode” Holy Roman Emperor during the winter (“The Tale of Warlord Dracula”) is of 1463. To this day four manuscripts Ottomans, but because of a conflict with thought to have been written and 13 pamphlets are found as well as Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor sometime between 1481 and 1486. Frederick III, he couldn’t afford the the poem by Michel Beheim. The military support for the fight. Copies were made from the 15th surviving manuscripts date from the last century to the 18th century, of which quarter of the 15th century to the year By making Vlad a scapegoat, some twenty-two extant Corvinus could justify his reasons for not 1500 and the found pamphlets date from taking part in the war against the manuscripts survive in Russian 1488 to 1559–1568. Ottomans. He arrested Vlad and used a archives. The oldest one, from 1490, forged letter in which Vlad announced his ends as follows: “First written in the Eight of the pamphlets are loyalty to Mehmed II, as well as horror year 6994 (1486), on 13 February; incunabula: they were printed before 1501. stories about Vlad, to justify his actions to then transcribed by me, the sinner The German stories about Vlad Tepes the Pope. In 1462 and 1463, the court in Elfrosin, in the year 6998 (1490), on consist of 46 short episodes, although none Buda fostered negative stories of Vlad in of the manuscripts, pamphlets or the poem central and Eastern Europe, and 28 January”. The Tales of Prince of Beheim contain all 46 stories. All of capitalized on the horrors attributed to Dracula is neither chronological nor them begin with the story of the old him. The stories eventually changed from consistent, but mostly a collection governor, John Hunyadi, having Vlad’s propaganda to literature and became very of anecdotes of literary and father killed, and how Vlad and his brother popular in the German world in the 15th historical value concerning Vlad renounced their old religion and swore to and 16th centuries. Part of the reason for Tepes. There are 19 anecdotes in The protect and uphold the Christian faith. this success was the newly-invented After this, the order and titles of the stories printing press, which allowed the texts to Tales of Prince Dracula which are differs by manuscript and pamphlet filter to a wide audience. longer and more constructed than the editions. The German stories were written German stories. It can be divided into most likely for political reasons, especially In later accounts of these two sections: The first 13 episodes are to blacken the image of the Wallachian non-chronological events most likely ruler. The first version of the German text stories, Vlad’s atrocities against the people of Wallachia have sometimes closer to the original folkloric oral was probably written in Brasov by a Saxon scholar. According to some researchers, been interpreted as attempts to enforce tradition about Vlad.The last six the writer expressed the general feelings of his own moral code upon his country. episodes are thought to have been the Saxons in Brasov and Sibiu who had According to the pamphlets, he appears written by a scholar who collected borne the brunt of Vlad’s wrath in to have been particularly concerned them, because they are chronological 1456–1457 and again in 1458–1459 and and seem to be more structured.g with female chastity. Maidens who lost 1460. their virginity, adulterous wives, and Against this political and cultural unchaste widows were all targets of backdrop, it is quite easy to understand the hostility towards Vlad Tepes. Vlad’s cruelty. Such women often had Although there is historic background for their sexual organs cut out or their the events described in the German breasts cut off. They were also often stories, some are either exaggerated or impaled through the vagina on red-hot even fictitious. The Hungarian king stakes that were forced through the Hunyadi Mátyás, also called Corvinus, body until they emerged from the also had political reasons for promoting Vlad’s image as an evil prince. Corvinus mouth. One report tells of the had received large subsidies from Rome execution of an unfaithful wife. The and Venice for the war against the woman’s breasts were cut off, then she
  • 7. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler actually knew little about the Prince of Wallachia. Some have claimed that the novel owes more to the legends about Elizabeth Báthory, a 16th century Hungarian countess who allegedly murdered hundreds of her servants. The legend of the vampire was and still is deeply rooted in that region. There have always been vampire-like creatures in various stories from across the world. However, the vampire, as he became known in Europe, largely originated in Southern Slavic folklore — although the tale is absent in Romanian culture. A veritable epidemic of vampirism swept through Eastern Europe beginning in the late 17th century and continuing through the 1700s. The number of reported cases rose dramatically in Hungary and the Balkans. From the Balkans, the “plague” spread westward into Germany, Italy, France, England, and Spain. Travelers returning from the Balkans brought with them tales of the undead, igniting an interest in the vampire that has continued to this day. Philosophers in the West began to study the phenomenon. It was during this period that Dom Augustine Calmet wrote his famous treatise on vampirism in continuation... Hungary. It was also during this period that authors and playwrights first began to explore the vampire legend. he stories begin with a short introduction and the anecdote Stoker’s novel was merely the culminating work of a long T about the nailing of hats to ambassadors heads. They end with Vlad’s death and information about his family. Of the series of works that were inspired by the reports coming from the Balkans and Hungary. Given the history of the vampire 19 anecdotes there are ten that have similarities to the German legend in Europe, it is perhaps natural that Stoker should stories. Although there are similarities between the Russian and the German stories about Vlad, there is a clear distinction with place his great vampire in the heart of the region that gave the attitude towards him. The Russian stories tend to give him a birth to the story. Once Stoker had determined on a locality, more positive image: he is depicted as a great ruler, a brave Vlad Dracula would stand out as one of the most notorious soldier and a just sovereign. Stories of atrocities tend to seem to rulers of the selected region. He was obscure enough that few be justified as the actions of a strong ruler. Of the 19 anecdotes, would recognize the name and those who did would know only four seem to have exaggerated violence. Some elements of him for his acts of brutal cruelty; Dracula was a natural the anecdotes were later added to Russian stories about Ivan the Terrible of Russia. candidate for vampirism. The nationality and identity of the original writer of the anecdotes Dracula is disputed. The two most plausible Romanian folklore and poetry, on the other hand, explanations are that the writer was either a Romanian priest paints Vlad Tepes as a hero. His favorite weapon being the or a monk from Transylvania, or a Romanian or Moldavian stake, coupled with his reputation in his native country as a from the court of Stephen the Great in Moldova. One theory man who stood up to both foreign and domestic enemies, claims the writer was a Russian diplomat named Fedor gives him the virtual opposite Kuritsyn. symbolism of Stoker’s vampire. It is most likely that Bram Stoker found the name In Romania, he is considered one for his vampire from William Wilkinson’s book, An of the greatest leaders in the Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia: country’s history, and was voted with various Political Observations Relating to Them. It is one of “100 Greatest Romanians” known that Stoker made notes about this book. It is also in the “Mari Români” television suggested by some that because Stoker was a friend of a series aired in 2006. Hungarian professor (Arminius Vambery/Hermann His famous contemporary Bamberger/Ármin Vámbéry) from Budapest, Vlad’s name portrait, rediscovered by Romanian might have been mentioned by this friend. Regardless of historians in the late 19th century, how the name came to Stoker’s attention, the cruel history had been featured in the gallery of of the Impaler would have readily lent itself to Stoker’s horrors at Innsbruck’s Ambras purposes. However, recent research suggests that Stoker Castle. g
  • 8. Sighisoara - Transylvania Vlad III the Impaler continuation... is image in modern Romanian culture has been established H in reaction to foreign perceptions: while Stoker’s book did a lot to generate outrage with nationalists, it is the last part of a rather popular previous poem by Mihai Eminescu, “Scrisoarea a III-a”, that helped turn Vlad’s image into modern legend, by having him stand as a figure to contrast with presumed social decay under the Phanariotes and the political scene of the 19th century (even suggesting that Vlad’s violent methods be applied as a cure). This judgment was in tune with the ideology of the inward-looking regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, although the identification did little justice to Eminescu’s personal beliefs. All accounts of his life describe him as ruthless, but only the ones originating from his Saxon detractors paint him as sadistic or insane. These pamphlets continued to be published long after his death, though usually for lurid entertainment rather than propaganda purposes. It has largely been forgotten until recently that his tenacious efforts against the Ottoman Empire won him many staunch supporters in his lifetime, not just in modern day Romania but in the Kingdom of Hungary, Poland, the Republic of Venice, and even the Holy See, not to take into account Balkan countries. A Hungarian court chronicler reported that King Matthias “had acted in opposition to general opinion” in Hungary when he had Dracula imprisoned, and this played a considerable part in Matthias reversing his unpopular decision. During his time as a “distinguished prisoner” before being fully pardoned and allowed to reconquer Wallachia, Vlad was hailed as a Christian hero by visitors from all over Europe. Unlike the fictional Dracula films, there have been comparatively few movies about the man who inspired the vampire. The 1975 documentary In Search of Dracula explores the legend of Vlad the Impaler. He is played in the film by Christopher Lee, known for his numerous portrayals of the fictional Dracula in films ranging from the 1950s to the 1970s. In 1979, a Romanian film called Vlad Tepes (sometimes known, in other countries, as The True Story of Vlad the Impaler) was released, based on his six-year reign and brief return to power in late 1476. The character is portrayed in a mostly positive perspective though the film also mentions the excesses of his regime and his practice of impalement. The lead character is played by Stefan Sileanu. Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula, a film released in 2000, tells the life story of Vlad the Impaler mostly accurately while ending fictionally with Vlad rising from the grave and gaining eternal worldly life as supernatural abilities, implying that he has now become the fictional Dracula. Vlad is played in the film by Rudolf Martin. Numerous film adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and original works derived from it have incorporated Vlad the Impaler’s history into the fictional Count Dracula’s past, depicting them as the same person, including, among others: the 1972-1979 comic book series The Tomb of Dracula from Marvel Comics, the 1973 film Dracula, starring Jack Palance, and the 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, starring Gary Oldman.g