Ur-Tepes (ix) (fin)

DRACULA, PART FOUR

 We speak of the imprisonment of Dracula, his final reign, and his death.

From his capture in 1462 to around 1473 Dracula was imprisoned in Visegrad Castle near Buda. Little is known of his life during incarceration.

Matthias Corvinus allowed great slanders to be made against him. The recent invention of moveable-type printing caused these libels to be circulated across Christendom. They were particularly useful to Corvinus for justifying his betrayal of an ally, and a Christian. They were particularly useful to the Saxons in Transylvania to revenge themselves upon a perceived enemy. They were useful to booksellers as perhaps the first bestselling stories in the world. They had little basis in fact.

At some point Dracula married, to Corvinus’ sister as was before arranged; at some point he allowed himself to be baptized, and become a Catholic. It is unknown how long it took himself to find such favor – or for it to be needed that he demonstrate such obsequy. Some stories suggest he gradually returned to favor. Others that these two events happened some few weeks before his return to the throne.

In 1473 Stephen cel Mare of Moldavia invaded Wallachia, ousting Radu cel Frumos and installing Basarab Laiotia cel Batran on the throne. He captured much of the princely coffers as well as Radu’s wife and daughter. The latter, Maria Voichita, would become his wife and Princess of Moldavia. Less than a month later Radu rode back into Wallachia with the Turks behind him and retook the throne. They traded thrones back and forth until 1475 when Radu died, presumably of disease or poison.

In 1475 Moldavia, its border in Wallachia seeming secure, stopped paying tribute to the Porte. The Ottomans invaded. Basarab turned on Stephen and supported the Ottoman invasions. Stephen dragged the Turks into his country, exhausted them, and then crushed them.

They could not have done it alone. They worked with the Hungarians, their old enemies. If they were to remove Basarab from the throne of Wallachia they needed a new pretender. This was Dracula.

Corvinus first launched a campaign in Bosnia. He gave Dracula command of his armies. Dracula captured Sreberinca, won many battles, and was a holy terror upon the Turkish lands.

With Laiotia again on the throne, Dracula marshalled his forces in Transylvania. His attack included Transylvanian and Moldavian forces. He drove Laiotia south to the Porte. A month or two later the Ottomans returned. Dracula met them in the field. He was cut down by Sipahis, though they reported that he fought well, for an old man.

Thereafter Laiotia ruled for a year; he was replaced by Basarab Laiotia cel Tanar, Laiotia’s nephew. Cel Tanar, called Tepulus or ‘little impaler,’ ruled for three years with Turkish support; he traded crowns with Vlad Calugarul, Dracula’s brother, who then killed him, and took the throne of Wallachia for himself.

Calugarul ruled Wallachia for 13 years, which seem to have been years of peace and plenty. His son Radu, called The Great, ruled for another 13 years. It was the most peace and stability that Wallachia had seen since Mircea cel Batran… or would see before its subjugation to Napoleon, and later the Congress of Europe.

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~ by davekov on 26 May 2011.

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