Vlad the Impaler: Son of the Devil, Hero of the People
Vlad III, warlord of Wallachia has enjoyed a curious immortality as Dracula, the fictional Prince of Darkness. Yet for modern Romanians, this is a gross act of historical libel, which has transformed a national hero into a Gothic caricature. This illuminating new study untangles myth from fact to expose a fascinating figure. A ruler who combined the characteristics of a true Renaissance prince and the most barbarous dark age despot, an inspired tactician driven by an insatiable thirst for revenge. Bram Stoker's "Dracula" was the first Hollywood film to depict the link between the medieval warlord and his undead namesake, while Vlad has been portrayed as a dashing patriotic hero in Romanian film and fiction, and a psychopathic villain in Turkish popular culture. His life, characterised by epic carnage, driven by raw passions, and clouded by dark conspiracies, has inspired the imaginations of generations. Nicolae Ceausescu, the infamous Communist dictator whose brutal reign brought Romania to its knees, saw in Vlad a kindred spirit, a political survivor caught between the East and West. From the days when he defended the gateway to Christendom from the Ottoman Empire with implacable savagery, through his curious position as a nationalist icon during the Cold War, to contemporary friction between Islamic and European values, the original Dracula's shadow endures.
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