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Post Info TOPIC: The Real Dracula: Vlad the Impaler

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The Real Dracula: Vlad the Impaler

One of the most influential books in the horror genre is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. Stoker, who was a manager of the world-renowned Lyceum Theatre in London, supplemented his income by writing stories. His books include The Lair of the White Worm, The Jewel of Seven Stars, and The Mystery of the Sea. However, it is his narrative about the vampire Count from Romania who invaded London for which the Irish author is most well remembered.

Stoker often researched his subjects carefully and included descriptions of real places and people in his stories. Dracula is no exception. Stoker was inspired by folktales from Eastern Europe about vampires and incorporated many of these legends into the novel. He had almost completed his book under the original title of The Un-Dead when he came across a historical figure that changed both the label of the book and the name of the main character. The figure was a 15th century Prince of Wallachia named Vlad III. Because his father was a member of the Order of the Dragon and had taken the name Dracul, Vlad was often referred to as "the son of Dracul" which in Latin was Dracula. Because of his preferred method executing his enemies, however, he was commonly known as "Vlad the Impaler."

The Impaler Prince

Vlad III was born late in the year 1431 in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara. His father, Vlad II, was a nobleman living in exile. The same year Vlad II was born his father was inducted into the secretive "Order of the Dragon." The order, founded in 1410 by Sigismund the Holy Roman Emperor, demanded the members defend Christianity and resist the Ottoman Turks who were Muslims.

In 1436 Vlad's father took over the throne of Wallachia, a region of what is now Southern Romania. He was removed from power six years later by rivals and decided the best way to get the throne back was to switch sides, betray his oath to the order, and ally himself with the Ottoman Sultan. As proof of his new loyalty, Vlad's father sent two of his sons, Vlad III and his younger brother Radu, to the court of the Sultan to be held hostage. Radu (known as "Radu the handsome") did well at the court and eventually converted to Islam. Vlad, however, was a problem child. He didn't get along with his tutors and trainers and was angry at his father for favoring his older brother, Mircea, and betraying his pledge to the Order of the Dragon (into which Vlad III had also been inducted at age 5). He was also angry at his younger brother for leaving Christianity. His bad attitude earned him beatings, imprisonment and this gave him a hatred for the Ottoman Turks.

Eventually, Dracula was released on the promise of good behavior and continued his education at the Court, learning how to handle weapons and ride horses as well as getting an education on subjects like religion and logic. He also became fluent in several languages.



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