Thousands of people were often impaled at a single time; ten thousand were impaled in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu in 1460; in 1459, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Dracula had thirty thousand of the merchants of the Transylvanian city of Brasov impaled.
Dracula had the stakes arranged in the outskirts of the targeted city and the height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The decaying corpses were often left up for months. One story tells that an invading Turkish army turned back in fright when it encountered thousands of rotting corpses impaled on the banks of the Danube River.
In 1979, a Romanian movie called 'Vlad Tepes' ('The True Story of Vlad the Impaler') was released. Vlad Dracula is portrayed in a positive perspective, though the film also mentions his terrible practice of impalement. Below is a fragment from the original movie, where you can see a 'forest' of impaled corpses.
Many historians tried to justify Dracula's acts of cruelty as efforts to strengthen the government in a time of political necessity. Many blamed his strong nationalism, as most of his victims were Saxon merchants who were seen as parasites preying upon Romanian natives. Other targets for Vlad Dracula were the boyars, who had proven their disloyalty time after time. Even Dracula's own father and older brother were murdered by unfaithful boyars.
In 1462 a Turkish army overwhelmed Wallachia and forced Dracula to flee to Transylvania to get help from the King of Hungary. The story tells that his first wife committed suicide by leaping from the towers of Dracula's castle into the waters of the Arges River, rather than surrender to the Turks. Instead of receiving the help, Dracula was imprisoned by the Hungarian king and remained prisoner for several years. While he was incarcerated, his brother, Radu the Handsome, ruled Wallachia as a puppet of the Ottoman sultan. When Radu died, the sultan appointed Basarab the Old, a member of a rival clan, as prince.
Dracula regained the favor and support of the Hungarian king and once again invaded Wallachia and regained the throne in 1476. However, the Turks soon attacked his small army with overwhelming force and Dracula was killed in the battle in December 1476. His head was sent to Constantinople where the Sultan had it displayed on a stake to prove that he was really dead. Vlad Dracula was reportedly buried at Snagov, an island monastery located near Bucharest.
Vlad Dracula, called “Tepes” in Romanian language, is a 15th century prince of Wallachia, a provence of Romania. The name Dracula comes from the Romanian word “dracul” which means devil. Initially, this name originated from his father's Order of the Dragon, which was a knightly order given by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg. The emblem of the order was a dragon, symbol of evil, which is “drac” in Romanian language.
Legends and tales about Vlad Dracula are a big part of Romanian folklore, and had been passed down from generation to generation. Among the Romanian peasantry Dracula is remembered as a prince who defended his people from foreigners and a fighter against the oppression of the boyars. Dracula's fierce insistance on honesty and his efforts to eliminate crime from his country are proverbial. However, despite the more positive interpretation, the Romanian folklore also remembers Dracula as an exceptionally cruel ruler.
The life of Vlad Dracula is directly related to the bloody fifteenth century political life of Wallachia, where alliances with powerful neighbors and assasination were common means of eliminating rivals. Dracula ruled as Prince of Wallachia on three separate occasions. He first claimed the throne with Turkish support in 1448, but he ruled for only two months, being exiled for several years. In 1456 he returned to Wallachia to kill his rival and reclaimed the Wallachian throne with Hungarian support.
Vlad Dracula's main reign of Wallachia stretched from 1456-1462. It was during this period that he instituted his strict policies, strengthened the army, stood up against the Turks and began his reign of terror by impalement. Most of the atrocities associated with Vlad The Impaler took place during this time.
Well known for his inhuman cruelty, Dracula used all kind of tortures on his victims, like nails in heads, cutting off limbs, blinding, strangulation, burning, mutilation of sexual organs, scalping, skinning, and so on. His preferred method of execution was the terrible impalement, as death by impalement was slow and painful. Victims often suffered for hours, even days. He had horses attached to the victim's legs, while a stake was forced into the body.