The fifteenth-century Romanian Prince Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler, is among the most intriguing personalities in medieval history. Already during his lifetime, his true story became obscured by a veil of myths. As a result, he has been portrayed both as a bloody tyrant — who degenerated down throughout the centuries into the fictional vampire of the same name created by Bram Stoker at the end of the nineteenth century — and as a national and Christian hero who fought bravely to defend his native land and all of Europe against the invading Turkish infidels. Even in recent times, communist and nationalist historiography has continued to obscure the real history of Dracula.
This book, widely regarded as the authoritative biography of the historical Dracula, presents the life and times of this remarkable personality of medieval Europe. The author uses all extant Romanian, Turkish, Russian, and German sources in reconstructing the history of this famous prince. Despite his short reign, Vlad created a name for himself both in the history of his own country and in world history. A portrait of the historical Dracula emerges, providing the reader with a better understanding of this enigmatic figure of medieval history and the times in which he lived. The author also discusses the development of the Dracula myth. Translations of key documents in the appendixes and a series of original illustrations by Romanian artist Octavian Ion Penda enhance this biography of the historical Dracula.
The author, Kurt W. Treptow, is a noted specialist in East European history. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. His other books include A Historical Dictionary of Romania, From Zalmoxis to Jan Palach: Studies in East European History, and A History of Romania.