House Of Ice
Vlad Tepes/Dracula/The Impaler

Napoleon Bonaparte

Vlad Dracula, Dracula actually means "son of Dracul", was born during the year of 1430. Contrary to popular belief he did not have pointy ears or unusually sharp teeth. Vlad Dracula is considered the base character in Bram Stoker's epic story Dracula, and he was born in Schassburg (also Sighisoara), a town in Transylvania. His life was surrounded by war, barbarism, and extreme savagery and encouraged him to commit the violent acts that made up his legend. Soon after his birth, his father-also Vlad- was anointed with the insignia of the Order of the Dragon. This oath swore Vlad Dracul to defend the Christian lands from the Islamic Turks, their sworn enemies. Thus the Vlad we know as "Dracula" became Vlad Dracula. Vlad Dracul was a claimant to the throne of Wallachia. He was able to wrest the throne from his half-brother in 1436.

The Ottoman Alliance

Two years later, against his oath to the Order, Vlad Dracul allied with the Turks: an alliance that called for sending two sons to the Turks to be kept as insurance that Vlad would not turn on them. Vlad Dracula and his brother Mircea were kept in house arrest. While he was incarcerated, Vlad Dracula managed to learn the Turkish language and customs, a testament to his intelligence. While the young Dracula was learning new languages, his father and the Turks were being routed in battle. Vlad Dracul's father Prince Mircea and his older brother were captured by the Boyars, the ruling elite of Wallachia, and handed over to John Hunyadi (aka Ioande Hunedoara.) The eyes of the captives were removed and both were killed (his brother was burned alive). Vlad Dracul should have been the successor, but Hunyadi appointed Vladislav II, a member of another branch of the family, the ruler of Wallachia. Vlad reclaimed the throne in 1448 for a few months, but was repulsed into Moldavia. In 1451, while in the Moldavian capital, Vlad was assassinated. For unknown reasons, Vlad Dracula allied with Hunyadi, the man who ordered his father's assassination.

The New King of Wallachia

The Alliance between the two was made possible by Vladislav II's pro-Turkish policy, which alienated Hunyadi. Vlad fought beside Hunyadi, and, through his charisma and loyalty, pursuaded Hunyadi to acknowledge Vlad Dracula as rightful heir to King of Wallachia. On August 11, 1456, Hunyadi died, and Vlad immediately defeated Vladislav II, who Vlad killed on August 20.

The Wrath of Vlad Tepes

In the spring of 1459, Vlad committed his first major act of revenge. On Easter Sunday, the Boyar families were arrested. All of the old Boyars were impaled, and the rest of the Boyars were ordered to build a new outpost overlooking the Arges River. This outpost was to be known as Castle Dracula. After the castle was built, Vlad impaled these Boyars as well. While eating his lunch, Vlad was seen gathering blood from the impaled victims, dipping his bread in the cups of blood, and eating the bread. His revenge for the death of his father and brother was swift and complete. This led to his characterization as a vampire.

Vlad the Impaler Earns his Name

The Boyars were not his only impaled victims. Vlad also attacked the Roman Catholic Monastaries and the Orthodox church, impaling all who opposed him. When he felt that Transylvania was not obeying his trade laws, he raided the merchants and impaled them outside the city walls to serve as a reminder. During this impalement, documents of his drinking the blood of the impaled again resurfaced. He then took over Bucharest and built thick city walls. He continually fortified the city because of the potentially wealthy plains to the south. During his 6 year reign, Vlad was credited with 40,000 impalements.

The Beginning of the End

In 1461, Vlad Tepes (Tepes="the Impaler") attacked the Turks, attempting to push them from the Danube River Valley. After initial success, Vlad's offensive waned, and the Turks counterattacked with overwhelming numbers. On June 17, in desperation, Vlad led an after-sunset attack on the Sultan's tent. Unfortunately, he attacked the wrong tent, and the Sultan survived. The Turks pushed Vlad back to Tirgoviste where the Sultan viewed hundreds of impaled, decomposing bodies. The Sultan was horrified by the scene. He left the battle to Vlad's younger brother Radu, now the Turkish favorite for the Wallachian throne. Vlad was pursued back to his Castle at the Arges River. His wife committed suicide, but Vlad fled through an underground secret passage to safety. He was arrested in Transylvania by the new king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, because of the rumors of the atrocities Vlad had committed. He was imprisoned for 9 years until he was annointed once again as King of Wallachia. In 1475, he attacked Serbia and then the Turks. After a few successful battles, Vlad the Impaler was assassinated either in late December 1476 or early January 1477. The assassination was kept secret until late January.

Myths and Legends

The actual location of Vlad's burial site is unknown. It is believed to be located at the Snagov monastery. However, excavations have proved inconclusive. A tomb near the altar thought by many to be Vlad's resting place was empty when opened in the 1930's. A second tomb near the door contained a body richly garbed and buried with a crown. The empty grave, of course, immediately contributed to a rebuffed vampire legend. Since his death, Vlad has been the source of numerous literary works, most famously in Bram Stoker's Dracula. However, how much of this story is true? He was born, he became enraged at the Ottoman Empire, he defeated many Turkish armies, and he died mysteriously. That is all that is truely known. The rest of his life is mere speculation, and speculation from the wrong source. The information available to the world is mainly the heresy or written works of those who defeated Vlad Tepes. It is commonplace for opposing forces to make their opponents look like hideous villains to their populace. The impaling and eating of blood were more than likely just the images that the Turks wanted history to see Vlad Tepes as. History is written by those who conquer, not those conquered, and you should always keep that in mind when you are researching controversial, or maybe even relatively controversial, material.


Most of the information on this page is a compilation of writing from The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead by J. Gordon Melton.