Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen.
This thread began a few months ago out of a basic question. That question was, “If Vampires drink blood, and Vampire hunters Impale the Vampires,
How then can Vlad ‘the Impaler’ Dracula logically be A, much less, the FIRST Vampire and couldn’t he have been a Vampire hunter instead?”.
The idea of Vlad Dracula being a Vampire has been accepted in modern times due to the novel “Dracula” written by Bram Stoker. So I decided to
research how this came to be. First I researched the ancient and modern understandings of what a Vampire was/is. Then I researched Vlad Dracula (his
life, as it turns out, if you overlook his atrocities, reads like an exceptional Adventure movie, imo. And there is no mention of him singling out
Vampires) Then I looked at the evidence for and against the case of “Dracula” actually being based on Dracula. I therefore submit my findings in
all three categories and leave the evidence to you to decide for yourself.
Vampires: A Basic History
Stories of the undead drinking the blood or eating the flesh of living beings have been found in nearly every culture around the world for many
centuries. Almost every culture has associated blood drinking with some kind of deity or demon. Today we consider them as
, but in ancient times, the term vampire did not exist, in fact it was not coined until the
early 18th century(somewhere between 1725 and 1732CE) in a variety of spellings(vampire, Vampir (вампир), upír, wąpierz, upiór, упир
(upyr)) and it may have come from the Turkic
term ubyr which means "witch" (which becomes
important when I cover Vlad the Impaler a little later). Blood drinking and similar activities were attributed to demons or spirits who would eat
flesh and drink blood and even the devil was considered a vampire.
The oldest known written reference, I have been able to find, of a vampire type being is a 2400BCE tablet known as
"The Sumerian King List"
. It is a list of all the kings of
, the years of their rule and their lineage. One specific entry is for the famous
and that his father was a
. According to Sumerian myth, there were several
beings who, like the incubi
sleeping individuals in order to mate with them. Lillu is one of the incubi (male). One of the succubi (female) was
(some claim to be a forerunner of Lilith
Ancient Babylonia had stories of the mythical Lilitu as well. She was considered a demon who sustained herself on the blood of babies, however her
Jewish counterpart(Lilith) was said to feed on men, women, and newborns. Sumer is the first civilization to develop
, therefore there is no written histories prior to Sumer, so we must look to the
mythologies around the world to go any further.
The Ancient Indian deity Kali
a.k.a. Kālikā has fangs, a necklace of skulls and she was linked with
drinking blood. Her name comes from Kala, which means black, time, or death. Within the
(basically a collection of books) stories of
, which are ghosts or spirits that inhabit a persons body, can be found in the
a.k.a. Vetala Panchavimshati("Twenty five tales of Baital"), also, in another
section there are stories of King Vikramāditya
, basically the first Vampire hunter, as he
went out each night in the attempt to catch pishacha
(the spirits of evil-doers or those who died
insane who have returned and inhabit bodies who also have vampiric attributes).
Egypt had its blood-drinking goddess Sekhmet
. As the story goes,
, the King of the Gods, became angry with Mankind and in his wrath he ripped out his own eye and threw it
at Mankind(which brings in a whole other conversation of the all seeing eye, but that is a conversation for another thread). That eye became the
Goddess Sekhmet(the lion headed goddess), who in the form of a lioness, began slaughtering humans and drinking their blood.
There are reports of Persian
pottery shards that have depictions of demons attempting to drink blood
from men but I have been unable to locate any definitive examples (maybe some of you may have better luck).The Mesopotamian region is rich with these
stories and can be classified as one of, if not the, oldest reference to what we would call Vampires.
In ancient Greek mythology there is Empusa
, the beautiful daughter of the goddess Hecate and the spirit
Mormo, who would feast on blood by seducing young men and feeding as they slept. Lamia
, a beautiful
queen of Libya who became a demon, she would suck the blood of children in their sleep(her name later became used for any creature that would drink
blood or feast on the flesh of Mankind), and Striges
a.k.a. the Strix of Roman mythology
were described as a kind of nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood.
The legend of vampires was, and still is, deeply set in the Balkan region
, however the vampire, as we
know them today, for the most part, began in Eastern Europe in the late 17th century and continuing through the 18th century. As reports of Vampires
began to skyrocket the stories began to spread west into Italy, Germany, France, Spain and England. This spreading has caused the interest in Vampires
that we see today and in turn further defined the vision of the Vampire in the Balkans. It was at this time that
Father Abbot Dom Antoine Augustin Calmet
wrote his famous "Dissertations sur les
apparitions, des anges, des démons et des esprits, et sur les revenants et vampires de Hongrie, de Boheme, de Moravie et de Silésie", published as a
2 volume set in 1751(there is a translated version printed in 1850 titled “The phantom
world: the history and philosophy of spirits, apparitions, &c., &c
) hinting at the possibility of the existence of Vampires and how to kill
them, although not stating it outright. It was also during this period that authors and playwrights first began to explore the vampire
myth(or is it?
Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” was simply a conglomeration of a long series of works that were inspired by the reports coming from the region.
There is no surprise that Bram Stoker chose the Balkans as the setting for his famous Vampire because the Balkans where, basically, still medieval at
the time he wrote his novel and the superstitions of the Dark Ages were still prevalent. For now I am going to put Bram Stoker and his novel "Dracula"
on hold and give a history of the area of the Balkans and the man that is presumed to be his insperation.
Vlad Dracula: An Overview
This section of the thread will be about the area of Wallachia
, a section of the
which is modern day Southern Romania
, Vlad III(the Impaler
and their struggles with the Ottoman Empire
during the 15th century
had been, for almost a thousand years, the protector of the
(East Roman Empire). It blocked
access to Europe and Christendom
allowed to thrive, but in 1453, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror
brought Constantinople down
and Europe was, for the first time, threatened by the Ottoman Turks
reached its apex at this same time and assumed the
responsibility as the defender of Christendom. Wallachia was then forced to play a delicate game in order to survive. They made alliances with both
sides in order to achieve their interests.
of Hungary, who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410, began a
secret fraternal order called the Order of the Dragon
. Their main purpose was to uphold
Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Its emblem was a dragon, wings extended, hanging on a cross. Vlad II was admitted to the
Order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. From 1431 onward Vlad II wore the emblem of the order. The word for dragon in Romanian
is "drac" and "ul" is considered the definitive article. Vlad II thus came to be known as "Vlad Dracul," or "Vlad the dragon." Vlad III was born in
late 1431 and because the Romanian suffix –ulea means “the son of” he became known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad Son of the Dragon. Incidentally in
Romanian the word Drac also means Devil giving their name a double meaning for their enemies. Although there is a lot of back and forth between
Hungary, Wallachia, and the Turks we jump to 1444 with a slight mention of 1442. In 1442 Vlad Dracul attempted to remain neutral when the Turks
. When the Hungarians prevailed, he was forced to flee with his family, due
to possible retribution for not taking Hungary’s side, but retook the throne with the support of the Turks conditionally. The condition was that
Vlad Dracul was to send a contingent each year of boys from Wallachia to join the Sultans
. In 1444 Vlad dracul, in the attempt to please the Sultan further, sent his 2 younger
sons, Vlad Dracula and Radu cel Frumos
(Radu the Fair) to
Vilayet of Adrianople
*On a side note, I personaly think it was specifically due to him knowing what was coming next because later that year Hungary broke the peace and
launched the Varna Campaign
The Battle of Varna was led by John Hunyadi
and was basically an effort to drive the Turks out of
Europe. John Hunyadi demanded Vlad Dracul fulfill his oath to the Order of the Dragon and join the battle. Instead, Vlad Dracul sent his eldest son,
. The Battle of Varna ended in a massive defeat of the Christian army and as a
result Hunyadi held a grudge against Vlad Dracul and his son Mircea. In 1447 he sent assassins to kill Vlad Dracul and his oldest son. The
and merchants of Tirgoviste
apparently buried Mircea alive. Hunyadi then appointed his own candidate, a member of the Danesti clan, to the throne of Wallachia. Upon hearing this
the Turks freed Vlad Dracula so that he may reclaim his throne which he did in 1448 for a brief period of time.
After only 2 months Hunyadi forced Vlad Dracula to run to his cousin, Bogdan II
Prince of Moldavia. As fate would have it the successor that Hunyadi put in place,
immediately turned pro-Turkish and it angered Hunyadi greatly. Vlad
Dracula was then forced to form an allegiance with Hungary to retake the throne by force. Vlad Dracula received the Transylvanian
once ruled by his Father and remained there until the time to strike had come to regain the
throne of Wallachia. In 1453 a shock went through the Christian world as Constantinople had its final fall to the Ottoman Turks. In 1456 Hunyadi
invaded Turkish Serbia in the Battle of Belgrade and simultaneously, Vlad Dracula, having been trained by an elderly boyar who had fought against the
Turks at the Battle of Nicopolis
and therefor all the skills of war and peace that were
deemed necessary for a Christian knight, took back Wallachia killing Vladialv II. Hunyadi failed and was killed in the battle and his army was
defeated. Once back in power he installed Tirgoviste as the capital city and began building his castle in the mountains near the
. Vlad Dracula ruled Wallachia from 1456-1462, this is the period in which he
installed strict policies, stood up against the Turks, and began his reign of terror by way of impalement.
**In this section I will be describing what impalement is. In order to give an idea of what people went through during this process I
cannot maintain a PG13 rating and therefore am giving this warning. I have made the text for this description the same color as the page for those
that wish to skip it. Most people understand that impalement is driving a stake through the human body but the techniques he used are unique. If you
wish to skip this section please just scroll down to where the text returns to the normal color, for those that wish to read it simply highlight the
empty space by left click and hold until the whole area is highlighted and release the left click. To remove the highlight simply click anywhere on
Of everything that Vlad Dracula did it was his cruelty that he is most known for. Impalement was his execution of choice and it was
quite possibly the most gruesome way to die as it was, by his methods, typically slow and extremely painful. He would typically attach a horse to
each leg and would slowly drag the body of the victim onto the pole. Care was taken that the pole was oiled and not too sharp as a dull point would
push the organs to the side rather than puncture them. It was driven through the body and out the sternum so the chin could rest on the point
stopping the body from sliding further when it was stood up unless he just didn’t care how long they suffered and then it would exit through the
mouth. It is said that he is responsible for the deaths of between 40,000 to 100,000 people this way. Normally the pole was inserted through the
buttocks or in the case of females through the vagina but records show that sometimes he cut the skin in front of the anus and inserted it there.
Some were impaled upside down beginning in the mouth and a few others were impaled pretty much anywhere he said to insert it. Infants were sometimes
impaled on the stake that exited through their mother’s chests.
Although impalement was his favorite form of torture, it was not his only method. The list of tortures he used reads like a demons torture manual in
hell: cutting off of limbs, cutting off of noses and ears, blinding, strangulation, burning, nails in heads, mutilation of sexual organs (especially
in the case of women), scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to wild animals, and burning alive. He apparently was quite concerned with
female chastity. Maidens who lost their virginity, adulterous wives and unchaste widows were all targets of Vlad’s cruelty. He often had their
sexual organs cut out or their breasts cut off, and were often impaled through the vagina on red-hot stakes. One report tells of the execution of an
unfaithful wife. Vlad had the woman’s breasts cut off, then she was skinned and impaled in a square in Tirgoviste with her skin lying on a nearby
Vlad Dracula would create geometric patterns with the poles. His most common choice was concentric circles. He would place them in the outskirts of
his target cities. He did show respect of sorts to the higher ranked victims as they were given taller poles, the taller the pole the higher the rank.
The bodies were usually left up for months at a time and it was reported that an invading Turkish army was turned back in fright when the encountered
thousands of impaled bodies on the banks of the Danube
. On St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1459, 30,000
merchants and boyars were impaled outside Brasov
, Transylvania. 10,000 were impaled in the
Transylvanian city of Sibiu
in 1460. Mehmed II returned to Constantinople after being sickened by the
sight of 20,000 impaled Turkish prisoners(known in the history books as "the Forest of the Impaled.") outside the city of Tirgoviste in 1461. No one
was safe from his attentions. His victims included women, children, peasants, merchants, great lords, ambassadors from foreign powers. However, the
vast majority of his victims came from the merchants and boyars of Transylvania and his own Wallachia.
Although his reasoning for killing his enemies was sound his desire to cause pain and suffering went, in many peoples opinion, beyond insanity. His
motivations included revenge on those that conspired in the assassination of his Father, protecting his people from the Turks, Hungarians, German
Saxons(seen as parasites), “out of town” merchants, protecting his political interests from competitors, nationalism and his own Wallachians that
broke the law. Although the laws of his rule were extremely strict his people truly loved him for the relatively short period of time he ruled. They
understood the reasoning behind the strict moral code and that all Vlad really wanted was people to be honest and work hard. Merchants who cheated
their customers found themselves on a stake beside common thieves.
An example of his revenge happened early in his reign. He gave a feast for Easter and invited his boyars and their families. He was very much aware
than many of these nobles were part of the plot against this father and older brother as well as many that were involved in overthrowing many
Wallachian princes. Once the feast is underway he asked the boyars present how many Wallachian princes had ruled in their lifetime. All those present
had outlived no less than 7 princes. Vlad immediately had them all arrested and those that were older boyars and their families were impaled right
there in the courtyard. The rest he sent off to repair the ruins of his castle in the mountains above the Arges River by using materials from another
nearby ruin. According to the reports they worked until their clothes fell off and then were forced to continue working naked. Very few survived this
ordeal. Throughout his reign Vlad continued to systematically eradicate the old boyar class of Wallachia. Apparently Vlad was determined that his own
power be on a modern and thoroughly secure footing. In the place of the executed boyars Vlad promoted new men from among the free peasantry and middle
class; men who would be loyal only to their prince.
In 1462 the Turks threatened Wallachia. With no support from Hungary and dwindling resources Vlad was forced to flee the attack. It is said that his
wife jumped from the castle into the icy waters of the Arges river, committing suicide rather than becoming a prisoner to the Turks. Vlad escaped
through a secret passage and fled into Transylvania seeking asylum from the Hungarian King Mathias
(Those of you that familiar with Crypto lore may recognize this person but that is another thread all together). Vlad was immediately
arrested and imprisoned in the royal tower. There is debate as to how long he was actually imprisoned but by best guess he was only imprisoned until
1466. Most scholars will say he was imprisoned until 1476 however if you take into account that he married a member of the royal court(quite possibly
the sister of Corvinus) and had a child, who was 10 in 1476, and the fact that a prisoner was most likely not allowed to marry a royal family member
than we can safely assume he was released in 1466 but stayed in Transylvania.
During his imprisonment, The Turks appointed Vlads own brother Radu to the throne of Wallachia and is quite possibly what changed Vlads thinking. By
the time he was released and left Transyvania his brother had died and was once again replaced with a member of the Danesti clan,
. With the help of Prince
of Transylvania(yep there is another name that rings bells, but again for
another thread) Vlad and a small army made a bid to retake Wallachia. Upon seeing Vlads army approaching Basarab fled allowing Vlad to retake the
throne unhindered. Soon after, Prince Bathory and his portion of the army returned to Transylvania, leaving Vlad with fewer men and little resources.
Before he could gather what he needed, a large Turkish army attacked, and in December of 1476, in a nearby town called
, Vlad Dracula met his end. There are a few different stories as to how it actually
happened. For instance, one says he was killed at the moment of success by a non-loyal boyar. Another says he fell in defeat. Yet another says , at
the moment of victory he was accidentally killed by one of his own men, but either way he was beheaded and his head was sent to Constantinople where
it was displayed on a pike. He was reportedly buried at Snagov
, an island monastery located near
Bucharest. He was succeded by his brother Vlad IV Călugărul
or Vlad the Monk
There are many other stories about his life and deeds that I have left out of this little narritive but they all basically deal with how he dealt
with his moral code and his fairness in judgement or acts for the greater good of his people. Was he a brutal man? Yes for sure. His practices and
punnishment were to the extreme and many report show that he really enjoyed what he was doing Was he fair and just? Yes for the most part he cared and
looked out for his people. Had he not done things the way he did the European Union could, quite possibly, be Islamic based rather than Christian
based today. Was he a Vampire? Although there are reports and even pictures(see above) of him eating near, around, or within the impaled, there are no
credible sources that say he drank the blood or ate the flesh of anyone. Therefore it is my opinion that No he was not nor did he attempt to show
himself as such.
Bram Stoker and the character “Dracula”
It is commonly accepted, even among scholars, that Bram Stoker based his fictional character Dracula on Vlad Dracula. There are some evidence that
shows he could have and some that shows he didn’t. I would like to take this section to give you both sides of debate so you can make the decision
First the Pro:
1. Both the fictional character and the real man have the same name.
Next the Con:
2. Bram Stoker researched prior to writing his novel. Some of this research was done at the
library of Whitby and the British
museum, therefore it is possible he found references and information on Vlad Dracula.
3. Stoker met with his friend and Hungarian professor, Armin Vambery, on multiple
occasions and it is possible that he was given information on the historical Dracula.
4. The descriptions within the novel dealing with fighting off the Turks and Vlad Draculas general description are very similar.
5. During his imprisonment Vlad Dracula denounced the Orthodox Church and embraced Christianity. It is possible that Stoker derived his characters
distaste for religious objects from this action.
1. Stoker kept meticulous notes in regards to his references while creating Dracula, and none of the references have specific details about Vlad
Dracula in life or actions. The only reference in Stokers notes is a book he checked out by
William Wilkinson called
“An Account of the Principalities of
Wallachia and Moldavia” (1820). It contains a reference to "Voivode Dracula" (who attacked
Turkish troops) not Vlad and it is marked in the footnotes of the book that “Dracula” means Devil, and the only known source for Stokers
information is The Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia.
2. Stokers notes only document 2 meatings with Vambery and no evedence of a conversation regarding Vlad Dracula, Vampires, or Transylvania.
3. In regards to the similarities in discription it is possible that Stoker took ques from earlier literature villians or even his own boss
4. It is fairly safe to say that had Stoker known about Vlad Draculas attrocities he commited against his enemies they surly would have played a role
in the novel.
So there you have it. A history of Vampires and Vampire type creatures through multiple cultures and mythologies, A history of Vlad Dracula and how he
chose to rule and protect his lands and people, and both pros and cons as to whether or not Bram Stoker based his character "Dracula" on Vlad Dracula.
The decisions are now up to you to find, Was Vlad dracula a Vampire or even the first? Was Vlad dracula even the inspiration for Bram Stokers novel
other than coinsidence?
Thank you for reading and I look forward to your replies.
The Vampire: A Case Book
Stokers hand writen notes
edit on 2-1-2013 by Agarta because: (no reason given)