By Rachel Campbell
Vampire novels have seemed to become rather popular as of late. Many bookstores have an entire section devoted to the blood sucking demons. While many vampire stories are intriguing, the original story was told by Bram Stoker, about the blood-lusting fiend obsessed with a young woman, causing English citizens to look over their shoulder.
Dracula was not necessarily a fictional character. The story about rising from the dead to drink blood and turn others into undead demons is fiction, but Dracula was actually the name of an awful, ruthless Romanian prince: Vlad Tepes Dracula.
Vlad Tepes was the son of Vlad Dracul, the military governor of Transylvania, a region of North West Romania. The name Dracul means "dragon" and was given to the elder Vlad when he was inducted into the Order of the Dragon.
As young Dracula was growing up, the Ottoman Empire was embarking on a massive military campaign against much of Eastern Europe. Because his father was such a huge military threat, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire took Dracula and his younger brother as political hostages, leaving a bitter taste in Dracula’s mouth toward the Ottomans.
Around the age of seventeen, an escaped Dracula managed to rustle up a band of men to attack and seize Wallachia, another province of Romania. He took his place on its throne and began his rule of terror. Vlad Dracula was not merciful to his opponents, domestic and foreign. He would often impale is victims from "stem to sternum" and watch them die while drinking their blood, which was a sign of power in Romanian tradition.
He was so cruel, that when he was finally killed in battle, the Sultan requested that Dracula be beheaded and his head brought to Constantinople (present day Istanbul) as proof of his demise. It was believed by many that because of his horrific crimes that caused his excommunication, Dracula’s soul was lost forever and, in revenge, he took the form of a blood sucking demon. For more on Dracula, check out the many articles online.