Vlad Tepes

Essay by isidahmedCollege, Undergraduate April 2003

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Vlad Tepes

We all heard of Bram Stoker's Dracula. The stake through the heart and the black cape are all part of the legends we grew up with. Where did these legends come from? Who was the real Dracula, his life, how did he set the basis for Bram Stokers Dracula. First let me start with Dracula or Vlad Tepes.

Vlad Tepes was born in November or December 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. His father, Vlad Dracul, at that time appointed military governor of Transylvania by the emperor Sigismund, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order - which could be compared to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John or even to the Teutonic Order of Knights - was a semimilitary and religious society, originally created in 1387 by the Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Barbara Cilli.

The main goals of such a secret fraternal order of knights was mainly to protect the interests of Catholicism, and to crusade against the Turks. There are different reasons why this society is so important to us. First, it provides an explanation for the name "Dracula;" "Dracul," in Romanian language, means "Dragon", and the boyars of Romania, who knew of Vlad Tepes' father induction into the Order of the Dragon, decided to call him "Dracul." "Dracula," a diminutive, which means "the son of Dracul," was a surname to be used ultimately by Vlad Tepes.

In the winter of 1436-1437, Dracul became prince of Wallachia (one of the three Romanian provinces) and took up residence at the palace of Tirgoviste, the princely capital. Vlad Tepes followed his father and lived six years at the princely court. In 1442, for political reasons, Dracula and his younger brother Radu...