In a bloody six year reign, Prince Vlad Dracula, first heir to the throne of Romania, was more than just the inspiration to one of the world’s most marvelous, renowned horror tales. He is best known as the real Count Dracula, drinking the blood of his dead or still dying victims. A dictator who went to the upmost extremes to keep his country running, he is by far one of the most monstrous people in history. To this day he is referred to as Vlad tepish, translating into ‘Vlad the impailer’ in favor of his favorite method of killing.
Prince Vlad Dracula was not your average Ruler. When he was thirteen years old his father the King of Romania sent Vlad and his younger brother Radule to Turkey to be held as life time prisoners. He did so on the premise that he would not start a war between the two countries of Romania and Turkey.
Vlad was young and being held hostage in a strange, foreign land, it affected him as he grew, imprinting a raw, ravenous rage towards anything and everything. With his sense of abandonment and betrayal he spawned hatred for the Turkish sultan and his court, and for his father who had imprisoned him. Being the former Prince of Romania and having to resort to bearing chains, he wanted to regain the former power he once had. To Vlad, independence and leadership was everything, being strong willed and controlling he thirsted for power. Vlad was overly intelligent, he learnt to analyze the enemy and knew exactly how to manipulate those around them.
He began to fake his approval and admiration towards the Sultan and eventually, the sultan took the two Romanian brothers under his wing. He gave them a military upbringing (warfare, combat, archery, horseback riding and swordsmanship) and treated them like they were his own children. By using manipulation, Vlad had turned the sultan into his own little, adoring puppet, all the while brewing his temped up rage into a violent, silent storm. The Sultan even took them along to public executions designed to induce fear and showcase the sultan’s power, it was here Vlad’s sadistic nature began to show itself as he grew jealous of the sultan having all the power.
In 1448, Vlad’s father the King was murdered by a beautiful female assassin whose specialty was to seduce powerful men and poison them. Vlad was speculated to have hired her in a plot for Vlad to take his rightful place on the thrown as the true blood king. After 6 years in exile and at 19 years of age, his chance had finally come to rule. Using his manipulative skills and connections he influenced the Turks to raise an army and put Vlad as the new, true King of Valackia Transylvania. They were hoping for peace between the two feuding countries, but within 3 years Vlad betrayed them and threw the Turks out of what was now his kingdom. Prince Vlad Dracula had began his infamous and bloody rein.
Vlad had absolute power now that he was the King. His position overshadowed the sultan, thus giving him influence over Turkey. He knew he had absolute power and abused that in every way possible. Even from a young age Vlad manipulated people to do things for him, mentally twisting their arms until they did as he commanded.
Once in power he built watch towers, battlements and underground tunnels turning Transylvania into a gothic looking fortress, this was where the stereotypical look of ‘count Dracula’ originated from. He knew he was on the brink of war with the Turks and took every measure to help in his favor.
To ensure absolute loyalty and submission among his people Dracula employed a terror tactic he witnessed in captivity, public execution using a foul tactic; Impalement. Although his methods were highly unnecessary they did their job more than well, there was absolutely no crime in Transylvania and no one dared speak out about him. Cocky and eager to test how powerful his influence was, he placed a priceless golden chalice in each of his districts, unguarded, every hour of every day. In the entire duration of his rein not once was one of them stolen.
Soon, Vlad became impatient; he thrived on watching people mindlessly carry out his each and every whim. He controlled his country by inducing fear and revoking all independence. Impalement wasn’t just to keep order, to him; the executions were a leisurely pass time. He would impale women for nothing, his reason being they weren’t working hard enough. Some say he took sexual pleasure from this. He even impaled the children and the elderly because to him, they were useless. He killed people on a whim and hung the corpses around his kingdom from trees and walls and the roof tops. The unbearably foul stench of death filled Valackia; turning the capitol into a grim, unbearable graveyard. Every time an old corpse was cut down a new one would replace it. Nobody could leave, they would be impaled. Vlad used his power to make the people lived in fear.
Vlad took care in ensuring his victims had the worst, most horrific death imaginable, worse than crucifixion even. Disgustingly so Vlad also had a strange appetite. He would summon soldiers to gather the blood of his recent victims and put the foul liquid in golden bowls. Then sitting alone, he would dip his bread into the bowls, slurping up the glugging liquid like it was merely gravy. This made him feel like he had the ultimate power, the power over life and death, in his mind, he was like God himself.
Vlad was using his power to sadistically murder and torture innocent human beings, purely for the sake of his entertainment. He envisioned that staking’s would rid Valackia of crime, but somewhere along the lines he became unhinged and mentally unstable. Vlad was now in absolute control, fear let him control the lives of thousands, giving him a greater sense of empowerment and importance.
Soon the Turks had enough, they gathered an army that tripled Vlad’s and invaded Transylvania. Vlad did everything he could to stop the invasion; he burnt crop fields and poisoned wells, even if it meant that his people would also suffer. He burnt villages and left the victims to pass on the fearful word, all because he was selfish and frightened of the prospect of death.
Crossing the border into Romania the Turks had to go through a real life physical vision of hell. A forest of 20,000 dead and dying, wailing, impaled bodies blocked their path. Many Turkish soldiers turned back and fled, but the brave still carried on.
After a bloody battle with the loss of more than half their men, Vlad was killed by being beheaded. As proof his bloody, severed head was taken back to the Sultan who raised him and Vlad’s younger brother Radule, whom had stayed loyal to the Turkish army and become a General. Vlad’s long and bloody rein had ended and peace filled Europe once again. It is said that whilst Dracula was King the Pope supported him in his bid to eliminate all crime, once has to think of whether the Pope realized just how harsh Vlad’s methods were.
In several ways, Vlad’s influence in the place of leadership had both productive yet horrific consequences. During the six years of his rein, there was absolutely no crime at all within Romania and Transylvania. Petty crimes were punishable by death, so his people were on their best behavior. But whilst in power his death toll reached into the near hundreds of thousands, most of them being innocent human beings (the majority children and elderly). To me, Vlad had an intriguing story yet was undeniably a sick human being. Taking the lives of hundreds upon thousands of people is unforgivable, giving him a firm place in history as one of the most ruthless, notorious monsters who ever ruled in power.
- by Kat Anset, 10ENG