A Brief History
Okay, so we know Abraham Lincoln created the Thanksgiving holiday on this date in 1863, but what do Wallachians have to be thankful for?
Digging deeper, we find Vlad Tepes, later referred to as Vlad the Impaler, known to us more popularly as Dracula, having declared his third reign as ruler of Wallachia (modern Romania) winning the battle that made him ruler for the third time.
Vlad had actually been ruler and been deposed twice before, re-seizing power each time. His father was Vlad II Dracul, making The Impaler technically Vlad III Dracula. The name Dracula is what is known as patronymic, where a son is named partially after the father’s name, similar to the Scottish “MacDonald” or Son of Donald, the Russian “Ivanovich” or Son of Ivan, or the English “Robertson” which by now you surely get! The Impaler part of his “title” stems from his alleged penchant for forcibly sitting his enemies on wooden stakes set in the ground, thus impaling them!
Although revered in Romania for his fierce defense of the church and the people, our popular view of him is as the mythical count of the Bram Stoker book, the blood sucking vampire Dracula! His other popular title, The Impaler, comes from a description of his bloodthirsty cruelty toward his enemies. He was not called “the Impaler” during his life, but only after his death. Probably for political and nationalistic reasons, Vlad was portrayed in other countries as a murderous fiend, with fantastic stories and drawings produced and distributed, starting a legend that grew over time into the whole vampire thing.
Thus, despite his legacy as a patriot in Romania, the rest of the world knows him as an undead vampire flying around as a bat and sucking humans’ blood, spawning an incredible amount of books, TV shows, and movies, as well as Halloween costumes!
Question for students (and subscribers): Was the historic Vlad the Impaler a hero or a villain? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more on the historic Dracula, please see…
Abernathy, Evelyn. The Real Dracula: Historical Origins of Bram Stoker’s Vampire. Evelyn Abernathy, 2013.
Florescu, Radu R and Raymond T. McNally. Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times. Back Bay Books, 1990.
Goldberg, Enid A. and Norman Itzkowitz. Vlad the Impaler (A Wicked History). Franklin Watts, 2008.