Brought to you by Dracula Untold
Dracula. You can’t read that name without associating it with tween romances. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when the vampiric creature was something to be feared. Although Bram Stoker brought Dracula into the limelight and inspired the likes of Bela Lugosi, Anne Rice and Joss Whedon, he only gave his audiences part of the story.
Vlad Tepes, the true Prince of Wallachia was a man so cunning and cruel that his legend has lived on for centuries. The tales of the hardships that he had to endure, and the treachery that arose from it, are some of the most ridiculous and unbelievable stories that you’ll ever get a chance to hear.
Luckily for us, Dracula Untold is coming to DVD on February 3rd, so you’ll get a chance to see the master of darkness in all of his glory. But, until then, let us tide you over with the some history about the Vlad the Impaler.
Vlad was born in Transylvania in 1431. During that same year, his father traveled to Nuremberg and became a member of the Order of the Dragon – a knighthood dedicated to the protection and preservation of Christianity. In doing so, Vlad’s father was given the name Dracul, or “dragon.” That name was passed onto Vlad.
When he was only 13, the Turks took young Vlad captive. While their political prisoner, he was given instruction in the Quran, logic and Turkish. His captors tried to convert Vlad to Islam. As a legacy member of the Order of the Dragon, Vlad didn’t take kindly to this, and when he eventually returned to Wallachia, he took the opportunity to ensure that they would not incorporate his land into their empire.
In 1459, the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the II sent envoys to ask Vlad to pay tribute. Because these men would not take off their hats to Vlad (the men wore turbans), he had their headpieces stapled to their skulls.
During his time ruling over Wallachia and fighting against the Turks, Vlad was rumored to have killed 100,000 men. His favorite method of execution? Impaling people on stakes and watching them suffer… for days. Apparently, there’s even a report of Mehmed the II returning from a conquest of Wallachia in disgust, after witnessing 20,000 corpses on stakes outside of Vlad’s capital.
Vlad’s bloodlust was something of legend. He is said to have killed woman and children, destroying everything and everyone that he encountered. His allies and (and their descendants) praised his brutal tactics and his ability to succeed in combat despite being outnumbered and outflanked. But the fear that he instilled in his enemies is something that lived on.
And how did this man die, you ask? Well, there is much speculation, but one story in particular stands out from the rest. Apparently, after being reinstated as the ruler of Wallachia for the third time, he was only on the throne for two months before the Turks attacked him again. He rode out to fight them with only 4,000 men on his side. And he was killed having sex with one of the Turks surrounded by the corpses of his Moldavian bodyguards…
It doesn’t get much darker than that.