Since it’s almost Halloween, I thought I would write about Dracula. Well, not Dracula per se, but a very famous historical character upon whom the legend of Dracula is based.
Dracula means “Son of the Dragon.” Dracula was known in Romania as Vlad Tepes (“Vlad the Impaler”) or Vlad III, Voivode of Wallachia, a region of modern day Romania. His father, Vlad II, was a knight in the Order of the Dragon, and was charged by the Pope with protecting Christianity from it’s enemies. Vlad Tepes inherited this throne of his land in 1447 when his father was murdered.
At the time, the Ottoman Turks were trying to overtake Romania. Vlad Tepes refused to to pay tribute to them. This enraged Sultan Mehmed II, who sent thousands of troops to overtake Romania. because Vlad had actually lived with the sultan as a younger man and spoke their language, he knew their methods and he could infiltrate their camps easily. This caused a lot of havoc. In another scenario the Turks actually retreated after seeing thousands of their country men impaled at one location. It turns out that impaling was a Turkish custom that Vlad Tepes adopted. I think he might have done this as part of psychological warfare.
The reason I am writing about this is that I had a past life with Vlad Tepes. I was there in his army. I think he was a relative. I remember being in a cave that had bats in it. I think we were on horses. We were waiting for the sultan’s army to arrive and we were trying to stay hidden so that we would have the element of surprise when we attacked. This resulted in incredible devastation. Most legends have an element of truth to them. Over time, some details get lost or twisted, and others exaggerated. I could easily see how the details of such accounts (like being in a cave filled with bats) would give rise to the Dracula character in Bram Stoker’s book.
Unfortunately, mixed in with all this was a great deal of secrecy. I have trouble remembering much more than what I have already related. I don’t know if that’s because it was so horrible, whether I just don’t want to or whether part of it was due to our oath of secrecy. what I am trying to figure out is whether what was said of Vlad Tepes was true. Some called him a murderer and others considered him a saint. There were apparently two sets of stories published (most likely by his enemies) in Germany. I think this first account is what Bram Stoker used for Dracula. The other set was published in Russia and painted him in a more favorable light, as a hero and savior to the people. I think he is still well thought of in Romania as a savior to the people to this day.
Vlad Tepes loved Romania, which was an incredibly beautiful place. He did everything he could to keep the Turks out of it because he knew what would happen otherwise. He had also sworn an oath to protect Christianity. He felt that the Romanian noblemen were largely responsible for the downfall of Romania and he wanted to punish them for it. In the end though, they betrayed him and he lost his life. Although his methods were extreme, they were justified in his mind. Vlad Tepes is still a mystery to me, and I think, to a lot of other people. the Dracula character is obviously an exaggeration of who he was, but there are some elements of truth in it.
I hope some day this mystery gets solved and we find out the truth about him so that all this can be put to rest. Will the real Vlad Tepes please step forward?