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Vlad the Impaler, Ruler of Wallachia


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An insight into the reign and controversial legacy of Vlad III (also known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad the Impaler), the voivode (prince, local ruler) of Wallachia three times (1448; 1456–1462; 1476). Vlad is infamously known for savagely executing his enemies; in spite of this, he is viewed as a hero for countering Ottoman invasion and expansion in fifteenth-century Europe. Modern scholars believe that Vlad was the inspiration for Count Dracula.

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Vlad the Impaler, Ruler of Wallachia

  1. 1. { Vlad the Impaler, Ruler of Wallachia
  2. 2. Overview  Vlad the Impaler, known formally as Vlad III Dracula (Romanian: Vlad III Drăculea or Vlad Țepeș) or simply as Vlad III (c. 1431 – c. 1476), was the voivode (military governor , or prince) of Wallachia three times (1448; 1456–1462; 1476).  His brutal practices of punishing his enemies attained infamy in fifteenth-century Europe.  Some scholars have implied that Count Dracula, the title character in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, was inspired by Vlad III.
  3. 3.  Vlad was the second of four sons born into the noble family of Vlad II Dracul.  His nickname Dracula (meaning “son of Dracul”) originated from the Latin word draco (“dragon”) after his father’s initiation into the Order of the Dragon, founded by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund for the protection of Christian Europe against the Ottoman Empire.  Vlad moved to Târgoviște, Wallachia, in 1436 when his father gained control of the Wallachian voivodate (principality).  In 1442, Vlad and his younger brother were sent to the court of Ottoman Sultan Murad II as safeguards to assure the sultan (a Muslim ruler) that their father, in a change from his prior stance, would back Ottoman policies.  Vlad returned in 1448, having learned of the killing of his father and older brother at the hands of Wallachian boyars (nobles) the previous year. Early life and ascension to power
  4. 4. Vlad’s birthplace, Sighișoara
  5. 5. Portrait of Vlad II Dracul
  6. 6. Ottoman Expansion: 1451–1566
  7. 7.  Vlad subsequently went on the first of a lasting succession of battles to reclaim his father’s former seat.  His adversaries included the boyars as well as his younger brother, who had the support of the Ottoman sultan.  He emerged momentarily triumphant in 1448 but was ousted after only two months.  In 1456, following an eight-year struggle, Vlad again claimed the voivodate. First and second reigns (1448, 1456–1462)
  8. 8.  It was during this period of his reign that he carried out the killings for which he is best known.  His desire for stabbing his enemies on stakes in the ground and leaving them to die earned him the notorious name Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș).  He imposed this form of cruelty on foreign and domestic enemies equally: particularly, as he withdrew from a battle in 1462, he left a meadow filled with thousands of pierced victims as an obstacle to chasing Ottoman forces.  That year, he evaded Ottoman apprehension, but was seized by Hungarian forces and confined by Matthias I of Hungary.  Vlad regained his seat again in 1476, but was murdered in battle the same year.  He remained a folk hero in the region for his struggles against Ottoman invasion. Second and third reigns (1456–1462, 1476) and death (1476)
  9. 9. Corvin Castle (Romanian: Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Corvinilor; Hungarian: Vajdahunyadi vár), where, according to legend, Vlad was imprisoned
  10. 10. Black and white illustration of stake torture of Vlad’s victims
  11. 11. Modern theories: Vlad and Dracula  It often has been speculated that Bram Stoker based the title character of Dracula (first edition, published in 1897, shown right) on Vlad.  Although Stoker’s records for the novel do contain references to “Dracula,” the historical account from which the notes were taken references only the name, not the evil deeds for which its name’s owner was known.  Some academics have considered that Stoker’s exchanges with a distinguished historian, Hermann Bamburger, may have provided him with information on Vlad’s vicious personality, but there is no existing evidence to support or prove that theory.
  12. 12. Dracula, Dover Thrift Editions, 2000
  13. 13. Bran Castle, one of several castles tied to the Dracula legend
  14. 14.     References
  15. 15.   the-impaler-17980.html  Vlad Dracula Documentary: For more on Vlad the Impaler