Friday, January 16, 2009

Vlad III The Impaler

This Post is about one of the two different people of two different Eras, whose life story(allegedly) is the inspiration for the greatest Victorian period Myths. The story is not very beautiful to be admired but surely is unbelievable and deserves attention, read on your own .

Vlad III the Impaler:

He was the Prince of Wallachia and the Military commander for Wallachia. He reigned Wallachia thrice, 1448, 1456–1462, and 1476, during his period of reign he became famous for his Cruel punishments (Though some say he was not cruel, but a distorted image of his).

He and his Father Vlad II(again disputed, he supposedly joined the turks) were instrumental in fighting the Ottoman empire and saving the Christian rule over the region. Vlad III’s Childhood was not like what other prince’s of his time would have had. But lets not get into the History but to the reasons what forged this image into a popular belief.

Vlad got the title of Impaler because this was his favorite method of killing, the main reason could be because it assures a slow and painful death, his list of killing has all kind of people, merchants, peasants, Ambassador, women, children. He used to impale the stake through bottom till reaches the mouth, but this was not the case always, other body orifices were also used. He used to have Stakes in different geometric patterns around the city in the outskirts. The height of the spear showed the rank of the victim. In 1461, Muhammad II the ruler of Constantinople returned back after seeing the rotting corpse of 20,000 Turkish prisoners on the outskirts of the city.

Tales about Vlad III

Killing of the poor and Sick
Vlad wanted his kingdom to be healthy and rich and took care that everyone contributed to the development of the country. He noticed that the poor and sick were not doing anything but only draining the country’s resources, so he called all the sick and poor for a grand feast. He explained to them that he dint want anyone to sleep hungry and be sad, so he has arranged this feast. After the feast he asked them if they wanted to be without cares and lack nothing in this world, and as they nodded their heads in agreement, he set the room on fire and left. No one escaped the fire, he justified his act to his subject as the cleansing of the city and they will further not be burden on other humans.

Nailing the Hats
It is believed that once a foreign ambassador came to his court, where he disagreed to remove his hats, in the presence of the prince. So Vlad ordered to nail the hat to his head, such that he never has to remove them.

Vlad was popular for his insistence of Honesty and truth. He even had a Golden cup open in the city which was never stolen or damaged during his reign. Knowing the honesty of the region once a merchant left his gold laden cart in the streets unguarded for the night. When he turned up the next morning he found that 160 ducats were missing from the bags. He went to Vlad to report of the theft, where he was assured by the king that his money will be returned to him. Vlad then sent a proclamation to city that return the thief or the city will be destroyed. Meanwhile he ordered to place 160 + 1(extra ducat) in the merchant’s cart in the night. When the Merchant found that his money was returned with an extra ducat he went to king to report of the return of the money. By then the thief was caught and stolen money returned and he was impaled. The merchant was told that if he had not returned that extra ducat he would also had been impaled alongside the thief.

St Bartholomew’s Day in 1459
On St Bartholomew’s Day in 1459 Vlad ordered for the impalement of 30000 Transylvanian merchants and noble men just to enjoy his feast among the corpses, he was joined by a noblemen (Identity disputed, some say he was sent to ask the Vlad to spare the cities and its men and some say it was one of his boyars). Whilst the man was appealing Vlad was enjoying his feast and the agony of the dying few on the stakes. After this the story has two versions,

1. The man was holding his nose to alleviate the smell of blood and Emptied bowels. The vlad being unhappy about this ordered for his impalement on the longest stake so that the stench doesn’t reach him.
2. In another version the nobleman was almost overcome by the ordeal and so Vlad asked him if he found the stench oppressive. The nobleman, seeing an opportunity to get on Vlad’s side of things responded that his only concern was for the health and welfare of the prince. Vlad was then angered at the nobleman’s dishonesty and of course (I bet you’ve guessed already) had him impaled once again high above the stench.

Vlad kept a mistress in the back streets of Tirgoviste. The woman was madly in love with the prince and would do anything for him. One day Vlad came to her depressed and to cheer him up and claimed to be pregnant with his child (she did this knowing full well how upset he got over dishonesty). Vlad warned her that she should not joke over a matter so serious but she stuck with her lie. Vlad then ordered her to be examined by the bath matrons to determine if she was telling the truth or not. He was soon informed of her lie and then slit the poor woman open from her groin to her breasts leaving her to die a slow horrible death and wishing for his people to see what happens to a liar.

Polish Nobleman
Benedict de Boithor, a Polish nobleman in the service of the King of Hungary, visited Vlad The Impaler at Tirgoviste in September of 1458. At dinner one evening Vlad ordered a golden spear brought and set up directly in front of the royal envoy. Vlad then asked the envoy if he knew why this spear had been set up. Benedict replied that he imagined some boyar had offended the prince and that Vlad intended to honor him. Vlad responded that the spear had, in fact, been set up in honor of his noble, Polish guest. The Pole then responded that if he had done anything to deserve death that Vlad should do as he thought best. Vlad The Impaler was greatly pleased by this answer, showered him with gifts, and declared that had he answered in any other manner he would have been immediately impaled.

The two monks
There is some discrepancy in the telling of this anecdote. The various sources agree, however, as to the basic story. Two monks from a foreign land came to visit Vlad The Impaler in his palace at Tirgoviste. Curious to see the reaction of the churchmen, Vlad showed them rows of impaled corpses in the courtyard. When asked their opinions, the first monk responded, "You are appointed by God to punish evil-doers." The other monk had the moral courage to condemn the cruel prince. In the version of the story most common in the German pamphlets, Vlad rewarded the sycophantic monk and impaled the honest one. In the version found in Russian pamphlets and in Romanian verbal tradition Vlad rewarded the honest monk for his integrity and courage and impaled the sycophant for his dishonesty.

Lazy Woman
Vlad pointed out a man working in a field who was wearing a too short caftan. The prince stopped and asked if the man had a wife. He replied “yes”. Vlad ordered the wife be brought before him and asked her how she spent her days. The terrified woman answered that she spent her days washing, baking and sewing. Vlad pointed out to her the husbands short caftan as evidence of her laziness and dishonesty and ordered the poor woman impaled despite her husband’s protest that he was well satisfied with his wife and she certainly was not lazy. The woman was not spared and Vlad ordered another woman to marry the peasant warning her to work hard or she would suffer the same fate.

These were some of the anecdotes about the king. The post is to be continued by the second person's story.


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