| Vlad III Tepes was born in 1430 or 1431, at Sighisoara, in Transylvania, his parents being Vlad II Dracul and Lady Chiajna. He had three brothers: Mircea, from a previous marriage of his father, Vlad (half-brother, later known as Vlad IV the Monk) and Radu, the youngest one, later known as Radu the Handsome. |
When Vlad II came back in Wallachia, the sultan Murad II threatened him with invasion so he would become the Turks’ vassal. Vlad had to accept and sent his two younger sons to Istanbul in 1442 as a token of his loyalty. Radu quickly accepted the Turks habits and became a favourite of the soon to be sultan Mehmed II, while Vlad developed a deep hatred against the two of them. Legends say that he pretended to want to enroll the Ottoman army, so that he can find out everything about its organization, tactics and other inside things that would later help him win over the Turks.
At the death of Vlad II and his son Mircea in 1447, the young Vlad Tepes has been set free and informed about the situation in Wallachia. The actual king was Vladislav II, guilty of the two murders. Willing to revenge, full of hatred and pain, Vlad tries to become king and kill Vladislav, with the help of the sultan, who gave him a small Ottoman army so he can become the puppet voivode of Wallachia, at the orders of Murad. Unfortunately, Vlad is chased from the throne two months later by Vladislav. Until 1456, he lives at the court of Iancu de Hunedoara, also known as Ioan Huniade or John Hunyadi, where he meets and becomes friend of Stephan, future king of Moldavia under the name of Stephan the Great.
The only existing representation of Vlad II
| In 1456, Vlad finally becomes king of Wallachia. His first actions are meant to ensure his power in the country. After killing Vladislav II, Tepes decides to punish the aristocrats (more known as boyars) from the capital Targoviste, that had betrayed and murdered his father and his brother. During the Easter meal, Vlad arrested all the boyars, condemned the oldest to impaling and forced all the others to make all the way to Poenari, at 100 km away, and build a fortress. The ones that died there have been replaced, and this way Vlad created a new aristocracy and a fortress for the future emergencies. |
A legend says that Vlad has called to him all the boyars and asked every one of them how many kings of Wallachia they had seen until then. But apparently none of them had met less than seven. Vlad has got angry, saying that their complots were the cause of the weakness of Wallachia – and ordered the impalement for all the boyars.
Another legend, Slavonic this time, speaks about Vlad’s disapproval of beggars, stating that the king was considering them as thieves that brought no good to the country. Vlad had once called all the beggars, the poor ones, the vagabonds, all those that did not belong to a community, to a royal meal. After generously feeding them, he would have closed the doors and set them all on fire. But Vlad applied the same treatment to all those he found guilty: boyars, traitors, thieves, liars, criminals and everyone that broke the laws, without exceptions, so that the executions become examples for the people. His measures were tough indeed, but they were only adapted at the circumstances, and they brought the order in the country. They weren’t dictated by cruelty, but by justice, but the will to make things better in a country he had found in ruins, haunted by bands of thieves, shred by endless feudal wars, ripped off by the Turk mercenaries always looking for plunder. Let's try to imagine how the country should have looked like: peasants not able to have a house because of the soldiers always burning it down, not having food because the Turks and the aristocracy took almost everything, often tortured, killed or taken in slavery by the Turks, with their daughters and wifes raped and taken to become slaves in the harems. It was the anarchy. Those that got on the throne sucked off everything they could, for their fortune and for the heavy taxes for the Empire, the boyars did the same so they can be rich and pay at the same time the taxes towards the king and the turks, and so on, a vicious circle that the country could not break without tough measures.
|Having no allies and an army three times lesser than the sultan’s, Vlad had to retreat to Targoviste, burning down the fields and poisoning the fountains to cut off the Turks’ resources. and lead a guerilla war. When finally Mehmed arrived in front of the capital, he was confronted to a horrifying view: the impaled heads of 20.000 Turks looking at him with their dead eyes, a scene that remained in history under the name of “Tepes’ Forest”. Tired, hungry and with their nerves tensed to the limit, the sultan and the majority of his officers decided to retreat. Such a surprising event, that even Victor Hugo mentioned it in his “Legends of the Centuries” (“Légendes des Siècles”). On his way home, Mehmed II left Vlad’s younger brother, his favourite Radu, on the throne in Bucharest, along with some of the army, so he can continue the campaign. Radu followed Vlad during his retreat for the fortress of Poenari; fortunately, Vlad managed to escape through a secret tunnel through the mountains, then, with the help of some peasants, he reached the Arefu village, and from there he left for the Bran castle in Transylvania, seeking for help from the king of Hungary, Matei (Mathias) Corvin, successor of John Hunyadi (which, you might recall, had offered Vlad shelter and help years before).But, surprisingly, the king ordered the arresting and imprisonment of Vlad at Visegrad, not far from Pesta. The reason? Fake letters brought to the king by the boyars that disapproved Vlad’s political decisions, saying that the voivode would have made a deal with the sultan, promising help for conquering Hungary in change for the throne of Wallachia.|
| Chronicles |
Born in 1423, Laonic Chalcocondil is one of the most respected historians who wrote about Mehmed II and his expedition against Wallachia in 1462, based on oral-transmitt
A synthesis of the stories spread by the Germans from Transylvania is Michael Beheim’s poem “About a Tyrant Named Dracula from Wallachia” (1462). Inspired by the same stories, Fischaret mentions Vlad as a bloodthirsty beast in his “Flohhatz". Victor Hugo, inspired by Dimitrie Cantemir’s “History of the Ottoman Empire”, mentions Vlad in his “Soultan Mourad” (1743) as a Wallach boyar that refused to pay the tribute. Of course, Bram Stoker and his novel “Dracula” is the writer that has become the most famous after exploiting the character Dracula. But Stoker inspired from the German stories, which (if you remember their hatred towards Vlad) describe the voivode as a cruel tyrant. He has never been either to Transylvania, nor to Wallachia, hence he could not know anything about the real Vlad. Moreover, the one who reads carefully the novel will see that Dracula says about himself being related to Vlad Tepes, and not Vlad (approximate quote: “Who was, if not one my family, the voivode that crossed the Danube and beaten the Turks on their own territory?”). Quod erat demonstrandum.
2007-12-23 [Merlin Mab]: Applause..and agreement
2007-12-26 [Skydancer]: This is a really excellent wiki, my admiration for your work and your detailed presentation.
2008-02-27 [Chrysilla]: Thank you :)
2008-02-28 [Chrysilla]: Aww that is really a great honour! *bows ceremoniously to the Mayor*
2008-09-10 [Linn Scarlett]: This is a beautiful wiki indeed, and with so much information *hugs it* I love it! I have a question though (albeit not related to Vlad at all) how did you inline the images in the text?
2008-09-10 [Chrysilla]: I used the table tags and created columns. It seems this can be done easier by adding "r" or "l" in the img tag, like this: < limg: url > :)
2008-09-10 [Linn Scarlett]: Ah I knew there was a trick like that, I just didn't know where to put the obvious input of an L or R :3 Thanks! Compliments to the site, once more, it's really good :) It brings to mind how we have a national hero here (netherlands) who is actually a much hated rival if you look to france, spain and italy :3 as he plotted against them for our countries independance way back in the 15th ^_^
2008-09-10 [Linn Scarlett]: Hm, I'd give a lot to hunt after the historical Vlad's burial place with some of my friends (who are also archaeologists). It intrigues me that you just 'lose' someones body somehow, even though he's very important and aparently much loved. *ponders*
2008-09-11 [Chrysilla]: Well, at the time of his death, his followers were pursuited by Vlad's ennemies, so I guess the situation was difficult enough admit that they might have buried the body somewhere "for the moment", then got killed before telling someone else where it was. But you'd be welcome if you want to look for it :D
2008-09-11 [Linn Scarlett]: Don't act surprised when I might actually do so in the future XD
2008-09-11 [Linn Scarlett]: Also, I'd like to meet the historians that came with the "the church is too poor" motivation. Because that's just the biggest bollocks I've heard in a while :3
2008-09-11 [Chrysilla]: it's not *the* Church, but just the church of Cumana, because there are still little parishes or monasteries that are poor. Anyway, back in the times Tepes died, there weren' many rich monasteries, with the Turks plundering them regularly...
2008-09-11 [Linn Scarlett]: That's not what I meant. I meant to say that using the reason "he was buried there and there because it's likely/logical
2008-09-18 [Linn Scarlett]: Oh which reminded me, that I wanted to make a note about the name origins. I presume you are aware that the name Dragulesti/Dra
2008-09-27 [Chrysilla]: Yes, I indeed knew that, and thanks for adding this extra info for the other readers :)
2008-10-04 [Linn Scarlett]: *bows* I fear I am in a hook here, working on an article and getting to deep into all of this (its already influencing my art... :O) I even took the trouble of looking up a copy of the excavation reports from the digging at the beginning of the previous century >.>'
2008-10-04 [Chrysilla]: For some reason I feel flattered :) Good luck with all the work :)
2008-10-05 [Linn Scarlett]: In the course of research for this article about Vlad I've noticed to my chagrin that most people -even various of my professors- don't even know there is a historical person called thus and that its not just a figment of Stoker's imagination. *nod* so I fear I am questing against ignorance now >.>'
2008-10-05 [Chrysilla]: If you need a hand, I'll gladly help. I had a problem with someone here on ET who claimed to have done serious research on him, but her article was full of errors; so we argued because she kept saying I was wrong and I had no right to say her work wasn't good. This is how this wiki was created. *sigh*