VLAD THE IMPALER - DRACULA
For almost a millenium, the lands in the Carpathian-Danubian-Pontic area were ploundered by the migratory people. Beginning with the 10th and 11th centuries, the Eastern part of Europe begins to be threatened by the last large migratory vallum, made of Turkish nations. Towards the 16th century, a great danger seems to appear at the Europen borders: the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.
In those times, Romania was divided into three provences: The Romanian Country (Wallachia), Moldavia and Transiylvania. The Romanian Country had the Black Sea in the East, the Ottoman Empire in the South and Moldavia and Transylvania in the North. Between 1389-1402 the ruler of the Ottoman Empire was Sultane Baiazid (nicknamed The Lightning). The Romanian Country was ruled by Mircea the Old, one of the greatest leaders of the Romanian army, who defeated two large military expeditions commanded by Baiazid. After his death (1418) a period of high political instability breaks out and there are also internal fights regarding the heirs of the throne, between two royal families: the Danesti and the Draculesti.
Vlad Tepes Dracula is the son of Vlad Dracul, one of the illegitimate sons of the Mircea the Old. In this period, at Nurenberg, Vlad Dracul obtains the alliance and the support of the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg in order to gain the throne of the Romanian Country and he spends a period in Transylvania, being the protege of the great emperor. Now he gets married with one of the daughters of Moldavia's ruler and he lives, for a period, in Sighisoara. He has two sons, Mircea and Vlad, who get a special education, the Occidental influence interfering with the Oriental one.
In 1436, Vlad Dracul becomes the ruler of the Romanian Country, supported by Iancu of Hunedoara. In the meantime the Ottoman army is in a great rising, The Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg dies and his death leads to the weakening of the anti-Ottoman front. The Turkish army conquers a part of Transylvania; Vlad Dracul has to join the Ottoman army but he is suspected for treason and is summoned to The Sublime Porte together with two of his sons. The contact with the Ottoman world is dour but it gives him the opportunity of finding out the Ottoman organization, habits and military technics and of learning the Turkish language. While Vlad Dracul and his sons, Vlad and Radu, are hostages here, the throne of the Romanian Country is under the rule of his elder son, Mircea. In 1443 he comes back to his throne, but his two sons Vlad and Radu are still kept hostages until 1448, when their father is killed.
The name of Vlad Dracula is connected to the day of 8 February 1431, when his father, Vlad I, was invested by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg with the Order of Dragon ( Ordinis Draconis ) for having protected the catholicism against the Turcs. It consisted in badges and two flags with a cross on them; at ceremonies the Dragon knights used to wear red suits and a green silk mantie and, on Fridays, they were dressed in black. The necklace they had at their necks was made of two chains joint by a cross that would uphold a dragon; on the length of the cross was written " O quam misericors est Deus " (" Oh, how merciful God is ") and on its breadth was written " Pius et justus " (" Kind and just "). The symbol of dragon, "draco" in Latin, was frequent in the prehistoric art at the Euro-Asiatics and, later, it was often used in different family or town escutcheous. In the Roman antiquity, the dragon, a fantastic animal,was dedicated to Minerva Goddess, meaning the idea that reason and wisdom never fall asleep.In the Christian world the dragon was used to personify the spirit of evil and the force of the demon. The knights of the Middle Ages adopted it as a symbol of different obstacles that had to be overcome or as a sign of power. It is this ancient symbol of the Order of Dragon from which the name of " Dracul " is supposed to be assigned to Vlad I, as a nickname, the origin of which is a Europen noble rank and that became a name itself later. The name Dracula, given to the son of Vlad I, derives, according to the tradition the Romanian names are being formed, from his name Dracul, to which was added the inflexion " a ", which proves the fact that Dracula is Dracul's son.
In the Romanian historiography, Vlad II, is generally known as Tepes / tsepesh / which means the Impaler; it is a nickname assigned to him in the 15th century, as a consequence of his preference for impalement as a way of punishing guilty people. Using this cruel method of punishment he managed to impose in front of the internal evildoers and the external enemies. The motivation in using this punisment can be found in the objective necessities of establishing an order in the country according to his aspirations of justice and independence. The nickname " Tepes " was accepted by the historiography and transformed into a name.
In 1448, Vlad Tepes comes to the throne of the Romanian Country, but only for a short time, because the circumstances make him leave it; he goes to Moldavia and in 1451 he runs away to Transylvania. Iancu of Hunedoara appoints him commander of the border army in the South Transylvania; in 1456 he defeats Vladislav II and becomes ruler of the Romanian Country. He organizes the country on social, political and cultural levels; he takes measures in order to centralize the power of the country and to increase its potential of defence and prosperity. A lot of legends and stories would be inspired from the actions he would initiate under the sign of authoritative rule. In order to asure the calm and the internal unity, Vlad punishes the tracherous landowners and boyars impaling them, as well as the thiefs, the liars, the greedy and faithless merchants, the slanderous priests and monks, the spies, the conceited and the contemptuous heralds, the sluggards or the cowards. The honest and hardworking people, the patriots, the brave ones are rewarded with generosity. The measures he took, transformed the Romanian Country into an organized, powerful, and united state. He also organized the army consisting in a cavalery and pedestrians, ruled and trained by Vlad himself. His policy of the strong hand aims the independence of the country and the Ottomans don't seem to like it too much.
He died in December 1476, during a battle against the Ottomans, which was, in fact, the single battle he had lost. His head was sent to Sultane Mahomed, at Tarigrad, as a remedy against the terror he had caused to the Ottomans, and his body was slaughtered with sadism. The mortal remains of his body were burried, in secretly, by some faithful people, at Snagov Abbey.
So, one of the legendary hero-ruler of this nation vanishes, sacrificing himself on the altar of freedom and independence of his country.