→Vlad the Impaler
====Vlad the Impaler====
In Stoker’s work, the Count is speculated to be the voivode (prince) of Transylvania. This would seem to indicate that the Count was the revenant of the ghost of an infamous Romanian hero and monarch. This was Vlad Tepes in Romania or as he is known in English, Vlad the Impaler. He was the son of the prince of Wallachia, which is now in modern Romania and some of which encompassed the Transylvania<ref>, Trow, M. J. Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula (Leeds, The History Press, 2003), p. 6</ref>
. Vlad was the second son of the Prince of Wallachia and he was sent as a hostage to the court of the Ottoman Sultan. He came under pressure to convert to Islam, but he refused but he also served with distinction in the elite corps known as the Janissaries. In 1447, the famous Hungarian war leader John Hunyadi invaded Walachia and killed Vlad’s father and brother and occupied the area. Vlad with Ottoman support entered Wallachia and tried to defeat the Hungarians who had made his cousin a puppet ruler <ref>Trow, p 45</ref> . He was unable to oust the usurper and he was forced to become a wandering exile. In 1456, the Hungarians abandoned their protégé and they gave Vlad support, and this allowed him to become the ruler of Wallachia. Vlad was opposed by many including German settlers. He dealt with then ruthlessly and he impaled the rebels, and this led to him being called Vlad the Impaler. Later he murdered any poor person or beggar in his realms, believing they were social parasites. He attacked the Ottoman Empire and massacred tens of thousands of people, impaling many Christians. The prince fought several battles with the Turks and at the night-battle of Tagoviste, nearly captured the Sultan and killed almost twenty-thousand Turks <ref>Trow, p 56</ref> . The Wallachians at this stage were more afraid of their own ruler than the Ottomans and they began to desert him, and he was later forced from power and imprisoned by the Hungarians. Later he attempted to regain his crown but was killed in battle in 1477. As we can see there are similarities between Vlad the Impaler and the fictional Count Dracula, they both fought the Turks, for example. However, the Count was once a tolerant and beneficent ruler and person and that was not the case with Vlad the Impaler. Then there is the issue of impaling, the Count was never shown to have impaled anyone while Vlad Tepes had many thousands impaled. However, the Count’s name is derived from the cognomen of the terrifying ruler of Wallachia<ref>Trow, p 78</ref> . His father's name was Vlad Dracul or Vlad the Dragon, this cognomen was adopted by him after he became a member of the chivalrous Order of the Dragon. This name became the surname of Vlad’s family and indeed it became the dynastic name of the princely rulers of Wallachia. It appears that Stoker adapted the surname of Dracul and transformed it into Dracula.