Vlad Dracula

Vlad Dracula was born around the year 1431 in Sighisoara, Transylvanea. His father was Vlad Dracul, which meant "Vlad the Dragon". He was given that name because he was in the Order of the Dragon, a group of soldiers who protected Christinanity and the land of Eastern Europe from the Turks(Muslims). The suffix "a" added to "Dracul" means "son of", so the name "Dracula" meant "son of the Dragon". Dracula ws everntually known by another name, but more on that later.
Dracula spent the earlist years of his adolescent life in his father's court. He was most likely trained in various physical disciplines and was taught to endure severe dardships that all future rulers must be able to endure. The throne of Walachia, which would one day be his father's, would also eventually be Dracula's, and his father must have wanted his son to be prepared. The discipline was not necesary; Dracula had apparently been born with a strong mindset of his own.
From when he was very young, Dracula supposedly enjoyed watching criminals being taken from their cells to the courtyard to be executed(usually by hanging). That sadistic tendency was probably amplified when, at a young age, Dracula and his brother Radu were kept as hostages by the Turks to guarantee that Dracul would keep a pact he made with the Turkish Sultan. One can only imagine how cruelly he was treated and how he would have been affected by the treatment.
We will not get into the historical details of how Dracula everntually became ruler of Wallachia, as that part of his life takes us out of the scope of this piece. Instead, let's look at his cruel behavior, which Stoker uncovered when researching Romanian legends.
Dracula was a sadistic ruler. Under his reign, crime eventually became non-existent because the punishement for any crime was death, usually by impalement, which took different forms. Normally, a tall, sharp, wooden stake was placed firmly into the ground. Criminals were then thrown on top of it, with their abdomens or backs facing the point, and were left there, their weight and the sharp points doing the rest. Another variation of the execution method included placing the victim vertically on the stake and having it enter through his or her rectum.
Dracula punished his subjects on other ways as well, but impalement was generally his perferred form of execution, and for that reason he was called Vlad Tepes, which means "Vlad the Impaler". H still preferred to call himself Dracula, however.
But what about blood drinking? Even though Romanian tales of Dracula do not label him a vampire, Radu r. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally have found mention of Dracula drinking the blook of his victims. Dracula often had dinner wile he watched the execution he had ordered, and on one documented occasion, he included the blood of one of the executed in his meal(it is believed that he dipped his bread into it). However, there is not enough available evidence to show that he drank blood at any other time in his life.
If Dracula really did drink blood, it might have been to show his tltimate power over his subjects. Because of the lack of other evidence, Dracula is the least likely candidate for a true mortal blood drinker. Unlike some of those whose descriptions follow, Dracula did not seem to thrive on the act of drinking blood, but rather on tis shedding. He is included in here to show how Stoker's model for a fictional vampire acutally did drink blood, at aleast once. However, Dracula provides another mystery that warrants his inclusion in this book.
Stoker said in his novel(through the medium of Dr. Van Helsing) that Dracula possessed such willpower that combined with the strange occult forces of the land from which he came, he was able to return from the dead as a vampire. That willpower, Stoker mentions, certainly was a trait of the real Prince Dracula, and as for returning from the dead, there is a mystery surrounding Vlad Dracula's death and burial.
Dracula was supposedly assassinated and beheaded in 1476, probably by one of his political enemies. His corpse was then said to have been buried in the island Monastery of Snagov at the foot of the chapel altar. When that "grave" was opened during the course of diggings in 1931-32, it was found to contain some animal bones and a few artifacts. In another part of the monastery, a grave with a headless body was found, and the rotted clothes do seem to match those of a prince. Was Dracula's corpse moved? Was the headless body found in the other grave buried to throw Dracula's enemies off? We'll never know, although I'm sure that more than one fan of vampire fiction would like to believe that Dracula had really risen from the grave.

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