If you’re a fan of Gothic horror novels than you have probably read Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) from cover to cover. There’s no denying that the bloodsucking protagonist, Count Dracula, has formulated the conventional appearance, motivations and backstory of many typical, modern-day vampires — feeds on blood, immortality, heightened senses, ability to morph and is weakened by sunlight — but it’s also believed that the inspiration for these fictional beings has derived from a part of ancient Romanian history. So, horror fans rejoice! It’s time that you learned about the legend of Dracula.
Who was Vlad the Impaler?
This medieval ruler (Vlad III) was born around the year 1428 in Wallachia — the geographical region of modern-day Romania. He was the second son of Vlad Dracul (meaning dragon) and was a gruesome warrior that had a conflict with Transylvanian Saxons — another group of people that called Romania home. When Vlad III plundered the Saxons villages, he was known for taking prisoners captive and bringing them back to Wallachia to be impaled. This was the inspiration behind his historical surname, Vlad the Impaler.
How did he inspire Dracula?
He had a reputation for cruelty, carried out mass murders and was considered to be a bloodthirsty madman that had many ancient stories and poems written about his injustices — some even spoke about him drinking the blood of his enemies, which was the perfect characteristic to create a vampire story.
Stoker’s title, Dracula, literally translates from Gaelic (Celtic language of Scotland) into the phrase bad blood and also translates from Roman into the son of Dracul, which is why Vlad III was often referred to as, Dracula.
Was there other folklore to pull from?
There an aura of mystery that surrounds the region of Transylvania. Some locals even believe that it lies on one of Earth’s most powerful magnetic fields. Vampires are believed to hang around the crossroads near Bran Castle, a fortress that sits at the end of winding roads, through a dense, thick forest and over atop a mountain pass.
Do you know any other fun facts about the legend of Dracula? Drop a comment below if you want to share them with our readers.