Vlad the Impaler’s Gore Inspires Lore

Vlad Courtesy of National Authority of Tourism The medieval citadel of Sighisoara

On this day, 550 years ago, the Ottoman Turks faced the wrath of Vlad Dracula also known as Vlad the Impaler.

Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, had invaded Wallachia with the intention of controlling the lower Danube. The odds were stacked against Vlad as the Ottomans heavily outnumbered the Wallachians.

Undeterred, Vlad surprised the Turks by unleashing a night attack on their camp on June 17, 1462. Some sources claimed that he intended to kill Mehmed, but he got the wrong tent.

The Wallachian cavalry massacred approximately 15,000 Turks in a hit and run type of skirmish. The Turks’ morale sank.

Mehmed continued campaigning but Vlad’s tactics kept the invaders on their toes. The turning point came after the Ottomans entered the deserted Wallachian capital only to find the streets lined with thousands of impaled Turks. It was too much for Mehmed who decided that Wallachia was a bit too extreme for his taste.

The technique of impaling was actually practiced by the Turks too, but Vlad applied it on a mass scale. By this method, he killed tens of thousands of people, and he was an equal opportunity executioner.

For Romanians, Vlad is a national hero, for the Turks he was an infidel in dire need of medication. Either way, Bram Stoker’s story of the blood thirsty vampire doesn’t do him justice. Vlad himself was way scarier than Count Dracula.

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