When you read or hear the word Dracula, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Vampires? It does for me. I think of a dark castle with an ancient vampire roaming the dank halls, hungry for blood.
But what is the origin behind the myth? How did it start? How does Vlad Dracula fit into it?
There are those who feel Vlad Dracula is the father of the vampire myth. Some even believe that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is modeled after Vlad. The theory is Bram Stoker learned about Vlad Dracula from a book and then developed his protagonist, Count Dracula. There are many reasons why Vlad Dracula could have been used to portray an evil blood-thirsty monster.
Here’s a little peek into Vlad.
King Sigismund of Hungary founded a secret fraternal order of knights called The Order of the Dragon. This order was founded to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against Ottoman Turks.
The word dragon in Romanian is drac and ul means the. Vlad III’s father was known as Vlad Dracul or Vlad the dragon. In Romanian the ending ulea means the son of. So Vlad III was known as Vlad Dracula or The Son of the Dragon.
The word drac also means devil in Romanian.
Vlad III was born in November or December of 1431 in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara. His father was exiled in Transylvania.
Vlad III or Vlad Tepes (tepes means impaler) was known for his cruelty. Impalement was his favorite method of torture and execution. It was a slow and painful death.
During his short reign, Vlad tortured and killed thousands. He would tie a victims spread legs to horses and a sharp stake was forced into the body. The stake was normally inserted through the rectum, up through the body, until it came out the mouth. Other body orifices were used as well. Infants were impaled on a stake through their mother’s chests.
Vlad Tepes used other forms of torture besides impalement: nails through the head, cutting of noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs, scalping, skinning, and many more. His victims included, women, children, peasants, great Lords, ambassadors and merchants. It is told that Vlad would also roast and boil his victims and then feed their flesh to their surviving friends and relatives. It is also reported that Vlad Tepes would drink the blood of his victims.
With all Vlad’s cruelty it is easy to see why Bram Stoker may have fashioned his character Dracula after Vlad Dracula.
The lore of Vampires goes back even farther than Vlad the Impaler. The myth can be traced as far back as the creation of man. To biblical times.
Here’s a peek into what I found. Lilith was the first woman created for Adam. Lilith didn’t like to be dominated so she uttered the holy name of God and then vanished. God then created Eve.
Cain is the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. He was banished from the land of his parents because he killed his brother.
According to the vampire legend, Cain wandered until he found Lilith—Adam’s first wife—who resided by the Red Sea. She took him in and kept him alive by feeding him her blood.
For more info on Cain and Lilith, here is a link. www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com/page/vampire+origins.
From the beginning of history, vampire-like spirits and beings have been recorded. Tales of vampires come from almost all cultures. Most European myths have Slavic or Romanian origins.
Early Romanians believed vampires looked like werewolf type creatures that turned away from God and fed off the moon and the blood of others.
Slavic vampires were thought to be people born on certain days, born with a caul, teetj—tail—had an irregular death or improper burial rites.
The ancient Chinese wrote about hopping corpses which would go around and devour a victim’s life essence.
Ancient Egyptian lore told of a story where the goddess Sakhmet was consumed with bloodlust.
One thing all the legends have in common is vampires are evil, undead, blood thirsty monsters.
In my current novel, I portray vampires completely different. In fact, my vampires are the chosen ones who fight for honor and sacrifice their lives to keep humans from losing their souls to Lucifer. My vampires slay the evil dragons or demons in this case.
There is literally tons of documented vampire lore. I could have gone nuts and wrote a ten page blog, lol, but I kept it brief and focused mainly on Vlad Dracula. If you’d like to learn more, type in Origins of vampires. Amazing and informative sites will be at your fingertips.