The Middle Ages encompass one of the most exciting periods in European History. The names of famous Medieval people scatter the History books.
Vlad III or Vlad Tepes was born in November or December of 1431 in the Transylvania. It was located in a prosperous neighborhood surrounded by the homes of Saxon and Magyar merchants and the townhouses of the nobility. Vlad Dracula was cruel and totally merciless.
King Sigismund of Hungary, who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410, founded a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Its emblem was a dragon, wings extended, hanging on a cross. Vlad III’s father (Vlad II) was admitted to the Order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. From 1431 onward Vlad II wore the emblem of the order and later, as ruler of Wallachia, his coinage bore the dragon symbol.
The word for dragon in Romanian is "drac" and "ul" is the definitive article. Vlad III’s father thus came to be known as "Vlad Dracul," or "Vlad the dragon." In Romanian the ending "ulea" means "the son of". Under this interpretation, Vlad III thus became Vlad Dracula, or "the son of the dragon."
Wallachia was founded in 1290 by Rudolph the Black. It was dominated by Hungary until 1330, when it became independent. The first ruler of the new country was Prince Basarab the Great, an ancestor of Dracula. Dracula’s grandfather, Prince Mircea the Old, reigned from 1386 to 1418. s.
In 1431 King Sigismund made Vlad Dracul governor of Transylvania, a region directly northwest of Wallachia. (Vlad III was born during this time, in the latter part of 1431.) Vlad was not content to serve as mere governor, and so gathered supporters for his plan to seize Wallachia from its current occupant, Alexandru I, a Danesti prince. In 1436 he succeeded in his plan, killing Alexandru and becoming Vlad II.
The prince of Wallachia was officially a vassal of the King of Hungary and Vlad was still a member of the Order of the Dragon and sworn to fight the infidel. At the same time the power of the Ottomans seemed unstoppable. Vlad was forced to pay tribute to the Sultan.
In 1442 Vlad attempted to remain neutral when the Turks invaded Transylvania. The Turks were defeated, and the vengeful Hungarians under John Hunyadi—the White Knight of Hungary--forced Vlad Dracul and his family to flee Wallachia. In 1443 Vlad regained the Wallachian throne with Turkish support, but on the condition that Vlad send a yearly contingent of Wallachian boys to join the Sultan’s Janissaries. In 1444, to further assure to the Sultan his good faith, Vlad sent his two younger sons--Vlad III and Radu the Handsome--to Adrianople as hostages. Vlad III remained a hostage in Adrianople until 1448.
In 1444 Hungary broke the peace and launched the Varna Campaign, led by John Hunyadi, in an effort to drive the Turks out of Europe. Hunyadi demanded that Vlad Dracul fulfill his oath as a member of the Order of the Dragon and a vassal of Hungary and join the crusade against the Turks, yet the wily politician still attempted to steer a middle course. Rather than join the Christian forces himself, he sent his oldest son, Mircea. Perhaps he hoped the Sultan would spare his younger sons if he himself did not join the crusade.
The results of the Varna Crusade are well known. The Christian army was utterly destroyed in the Battle of Varna.
Vlad III then began his main reign of Wallachia, which stretched from 1456-1462
More than anything else the historical Dracula is known for his inhuman cruelty.
Vlad Dracula died in December of 1476.
How did Count Dracula become a vampire?
After fighting an important battle against Ottoman Turks. Vlad Tepes returned to his castle to find his beloved dead. She had killed herself when rumors of his death preceded his arrival. The priest foolishly announced that she was damned because she took her own life. Vlad, in the midst of his passion, he renounced God and swore to rise from his death to avenge hers with all the powers of darkness and He drank blood.. Shortly after this he was referred to as a vampire.
Dracula is an 1897 epistolary novel by Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula. Bram Stoker based his novel upon the historical figure of Vlad Tepes
The fictional Dracula and the historical Dracula share the same name. There can be no doubt that Bram Stoker based his character upon some reference to Vlad Dracula.
Bran Castle, the real Dracula's castle is supposedly the structure Bram Stoker used as inspiration for his Dracula's castle.
For the basis of Stoker's "Count Dracula," there was a real Dracula. Not a count, but a prince, one whose life is the topic of much controversy even today. Though there is no historic connection between Prince Dracula and vampires, his actions could almost be seen as vampiric. For it was his actions that inspired Bram Stoker to subtly base his 1897 novel on the mysterious Vlad Dracula. Other references in the novel may also be related to the historical Dracula. For example, the driving of a stake through the vampire’s heart may be related to Vlad’s use of impalement.
Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature
Despite the popular success of more contemporary works like Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight and The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, Dracula remains in place as the pre-eminent vampire story. Yet, when first published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s tale of the Transylvanian nobleman and his thirst for blood was not a best seller. Indeed, several decades passed before it approached the status it holds today.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
“The story Dracula (1897) begins with a young solicitor, Jonathan Harker, on his way to Transylvania to meet Count Dracula, who is buying property in London. Harker endures a nightmarish stay at Dracula’s castle, which foreshadows some bizarre events in England.
First, a huge wolf like creature is seen to leap from the deck of a ship which has run aground on the shores of Whitby, its captain dead at the helm and its crew mysteriously absent; and then Lucy a friend of Harker’s fiancée, Mina develops a strange wasting disease and red marks on her throat.
Vampire expert Professor Van Helsing convinces Harker and his friends that if Mina is not to share the same fate as poor “undead” Lucy, Dracula must be caught and ritually killed.”