Ur-Tepes (x)



The Black Death was no stranger to Europe during the fifteenth century. Populations were still struggling to recover from the Second Pandemic of the mid fourteenth century. In 1450 there were undoubtedly fewer people in most European cities than there were in 1325. Germany remained particularly depopulated. Ghost towns were commonplace across Europe.

Plague outbreaks were recorded across Europe in 1438–1439; 1456–1457; 1464–1466; and before and beyond. England’s population was decimated in 1471. There was no year of the fifteenth century where plague was not active somewhere on continental Europe.


The lifetime of Dracula saw many changes in the world. The printing-press was one; the gun, in its most primitive form, another. There were three religious conflicts which had particular affect upon the Wallachian world. They were the Schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism; the rebellion of the Hussites; and the syncretism of Bedreddin.


In 1054, Christendom divided. The Metropolitanate, the Greek Rite, Mount Athos; the Pontificate, the Latin Rite, Rome. With Constantinople still a Christian state, Orthodoxy remained a significant political power in Europe.

From 1431 to 1439, the Council of Florence (et. al.) met to discuss relations between the two churches. At its end it concluded an agreement of detente. This was a purely political maneuver, brought about by the Ottoman threat. It was not supported by the Orthodox countries, and in 1481 was officially repudiated.

The Council also elected an Antipope, Felix V, though he never had support outside of some isolated areas in Western Europe. He resigned his pontifical claims in 1449, accepting the cardinal’s hat in their stead.


In 1415, the reformist preacher Jan Hus attended the Council of Constance. He spoke of his beliefs, and was put to death.

His followers in Bohemia reacted more strongly than the Church had prepared for. They were thrown into open revolt. From 1419 to 1434 the so-called Hussites fought a war against other parties. This was a war in part of independence and in part of conquest; in part of belief and in part of gain; but mostly it was a conflict without a clear goal, and it ended slowly and poorly for all.

The Hussites fought with themselves, with their countrymen, and with the forces of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor. Sigismund launched a series of Crusades against these perceived heretics, to lesser or greater effect. The more radical Hussites, known as Taborites after their city center, were lead by one Jan Zizka. He routed Imperial forces at every turn.

Žižka’s dying wish was to have his skin used to make drums so that he might continue to lead his troops even after death.

These wars were notable for their employment of handguns, gunpowder-launched arrows, and armored war-wagons. The Bohemians would often raid deep into Europe, not to preach, but to pillage.

After Zizka’s death, the Taborites were defeated in battle by the more moderate Utraquists. They signed a peace treaty with Sigismund and with representatives of the Church. The Utraquist Creed became the accepted rite of the Bohemian church, though it was much displaced by Lutheranism and Calvinism some decades later.

At the time, it dominated Eastern Europe, and particularly the affairs of Emperor Sigismund.


There was a man in early 14th-century Eurasia. His name has been variously given as Sheikh Bedrettin, Seyh Bedreddin, Shake Badraldin, ad confundam. His father was Jewish, his mother Christian, and he was raised a Muslim. He studied fiqh and science in Cairo. He became quickly noted for his scholarship and breadth of learning, becoming a tutor to Burquq (founder of an Egyptian dynasty) and marrying a princess of his family.

During the Ottoman Interregnum he was appointed as chief of the military’s judiciary. At the end of the interregnum the new Sultan sent him into political exile. While in isolation he formulated a philosophy which sought to unify Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It spread like wildfire through eastern Anatolia and as far north as the battleground states of Dobruja, the Bulgarian Tsardoms, and the Serbian Despotisms.

The Ottomans crushed the movement as heretical. The Christians, Orthodox and Catholic alike, treated it likewise. The only place where it seemed to find favor was in the court of Mircea cel Batran of Wallachia – grandfather of Vlad III Tepes.

It was so popular that the Turks could not kill its leader. Instead they sent him to the Karaburun Peninsula like Napoleon to St. Helena. Here he continued teaching his unified religion and anti-Imperial philosophy. This led the Turks to invade Karaburun, rounding up him and about 10,000 of his followers in a field and putting them all to the sword. The field is now known in Turkish as the Vale of Torment.

His two most senior followers, both former Turkish nobles, were crucified. He was taken to his hometown and hanged until dead.


~ by davekov on 29 May 2011.

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