Man behind the myth

Lacey Spaenhower, Staff Writer

Stalking victims in the dead of night and sucking blood and wearing a black cape-there scream of  the classic vampire myth, Dracula. What many people don’t realize is that Dracula was based loosely on a real man named Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler.

Vlad III/Vlad the Impaler however you wish to see him, was born in the Transylvanian city of Sighisora in December of 1431, where his father was living in exile.  Vlad was born into a house of nobility along with his older brother Mircea and younger brother Radu, “the handsome.”

Like his father before him, Vlad joined the famous Order of the Dragon, which was founded by Emperor Sigismund to defend the Cross and to battle against its enemies, mainly the Turks.

Not much is known about Vlad’s early life, but when he was young, he was sent into captivity until 1448. In 1456, Vlad the Impaler began his rule as Voevod (Warlord- Prince) of Wallachia in his capitol city of Tirgoviste.

During his reign, Vlad was respected because of everything he did to protect his people from the invading armies, mainly Turks.  He was feared because of all the atrocities he did while he committed while he was ruler.

One thing he was known for was impaling his victims on long wooden poles and leaving them to a slow and painful death. Another was when he killed scores of the poor and sick of his kingdom in fiery blaze after he locked them within his court so they couldn’t escape.

His main goal was to bring order to his home, and to defend his actions he said; “My sacred mission is to bring order to Romania. If someone lies or commits any injustice, he is not likely to stay alive, whether noblemen, priest, or common man. There must be security for all in my land. If they say I am a vindictive man, they fear me. And that is well. When a prince is powerful at home, he will be able to do as he wills. If I am feared by the right people, Romania will be strong.”

This was what he lived by to help justify everything that he did, and though he kept his people safe from outside armies, the reign of Vlad the Impaler ended in 1462.  His reign may of ended, but he kept fighting every chance he got.  In the end that wasn’t enough and in December of 1476 he was killed in the town of Bucharest.

Even though he was seen as monster by some, others saw here as a hero for Christianity and for his people.  The next time you hear the name Dracula, remember that there is a man behind the myth.