Who was Vlad the Pfaehler?

Vlad the Impaler

But what made this man the namesake of the "head of all bloodsuckers"? To find the answer, one has to look deeply into the events of his existence. Much is now known about him, some is still in the dark or has not been proven one hundred percent. In Romanian literature, the word "probabil" - in German: presumably - is therefore often to be read. It is fairly certain, however, that he was born in 1431 in Sighisoara (Schäßburg) in Transylvania (Transylvania) as the son of the noble Wallachian landowner Vlad II Dracul.

The life of Draculea, the "son of the dragon", took a decisive turn in the early 1440s. He was taken hostage by the Turks, who were among his father's worst enemies. From then on he grew up at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II. According to historians, it was there that he appropriated his cruel and inhuman manner, with which he would instill fear into later opponents. After years of imprisonment, Draculea was released again.

Cruel deeds, terrible end

In 1447 Vlad lost both his father and his older brother Mircea II. Both were murdered by the Turks. A year later, Draculea succeeded for a short time in seizing power in Wallachia before his predecessor, Vladislav II, drove him from the throne again. But already in 1456 he took over the management again. Six years of reign of terror followed, a time in which he lived up to his nickname "Tepes" ("the Impaler"), which he was only given after his death. "The Impaler" was based on Vlad's passion to have enemies and criminals impaled on wooden stakes. The sight of the dead should scare off crooks and opponents alike.

Just like the citizens of Wallachia, harmless ambassadors and court officials also felt his anger. For example the members of a Turkish embassy. When they met the prince in person on a visit to the Wallachian court, he asked why they didn’t pull their turbans in front of him. They replied, without harboring any evil thought, that it is a custom in one's own country to keep one's headgear on even in front of the Sultan. Seeming to be deeply angry about this statement, Draculea instructed his bodyguards to nail the turbans to the heads of the diplomats. His message to Sultan Mehmed II was that he would not allow any foreign customs to be imposed on him.

Draculea understood it as a good custom to dine near the impaled. One day when a cupbearer asked him whether he was uncomfortable with the smell of corpse while eating, he was also impaled.

The dreaded prince finally found his death around the turn of the year 1476 / 1477. To this day, historians argue about the exact cause of death. What is certain, however, is that he was beheaded and his head soaked in honey in order to preserve it and bring it to Constantinople. Meanwhile, the place where his body was buried remains an unsolved mystery.

Since then, many authors have taken on the stories about Vlad Tepes. However, it was only a man named Abraham "Bram" Stoker who made him really famous. In his novel "Dracula" from 1897, the Irish writer describes, among other things, the transformation of Vlad into a bloodthirsty vampire. This begins with the prince going to war against the Ottomans. While Vlad was able to successfully fight the battle and survived, the Ottomans sent his wife a death message. Then she takes her own life. When Vlad returns and finds his wife dead, he turns away from belief in God and makes a pact with the devil. From Vlad III. becomes Count Dracula, an immortal bloodsucker.