Monday, February 26, 2007

Castle Of Orthodox Christian Hero ,Vlad Tepes, "Dracula" , For Sale

I came across the news thanks to a post on Serb Hellenic Forums.

The nations of Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria resurrected themselves as if rising from the tomb after the long struggles for liberation from a foreign oppressor. Turkey’s legacy in the Balkans includes discriminatory laws prohibiting Orthodox Christians from walking on the same street as a Muslim, from wearing bright clothing, from reading and writing their native languages. Not to mention the merciless lack of lawful justice that left their women and children and even men prey to Turkish brutal rapes, almost never punished by the Turkish State. The Orthodox Christians were infidels, ‘gracious’, sub-humans to be used and abused.

A Byzantine-era crowned prince, named Vlad Tepes, who hailed from the province of Wallachia in Romania, was said to have made a fitting statement towards Turkish customs, when two Turkish emissaries of the Sultan visited Vlad in order to obtain five hundred Christian boys for the Janissaries. Vlad noted the emissaries did not show respect by removing their Turbans. The Turks replied that as Muslims they could not remove them for infidels. Prince Vlad ordered that their Turbans be nailed into their heads. This prince was named Dracula, "Son of The Dragon". Westerners weaned on Hollywood know Dracula, a resistance figure and a Balkan hero, as the gaudy Hollywood movie based on Irishman Bram Stoker’s book from 1897….

Dracula is a great warrior who once blinded an entire Turkish battalion but spared every hundredth man , so they could lead the blinded men back home to their Turk leaders. These are OUR historical leaders , whose legacy we must honor and keep.


Anonymous ted said...

I do agree that Vlad was a true orthodox hero who has been slandered over the years. We should fight to tell the real story and honour this hero.

One correction the blinding of the 100 men was a byzantine king Basil II the bulgar slayer. of course the bulgars he slayed were not todays people but a turkish tribe that was unchristian and savage. the bulgars eventually settled and were absorbed by the slavic people we call today bulgars.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Crvena Zvezda said...

I believe his greatest act is the impaling of 40,000 Turkish soliders near the city of Nagyszeben. But not only that, how about the fact that he impaled over 30,000 corrupt aristocrats, catholics, protestants. He allegedly did many such acts against non-orthodox christian religions, turks, and other enemies. But he should not be looked at as a blood thirsty monster, he is the inspiration for dracula. He should be looked at as a true social reformer because his brutal method of justice was equally thrust open nobles and peasants.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Hellenian said...

As noted above, it was not Vlad Tepes who blinded captives of war and it was not Turks who were blinded but rather Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer who blinded Bulgars:

"Grimly resolved to bring the struggle to a close and animated with the vindictiveness born of a lifelong, deadly feud, Basil was now guilty of an act which filled even his rude contemporaries with horror and won him in history the crimson title of the Bulgar-killer. The recent victory had delivered into his hands some fifteen thousand Bulgar captives. These, incredible as it sounds, he caused to be blinded and divided into hundreds; then, appointing as leader of each hundred a man who, in order to act as a guide, had in hideous mockery been deprived of only one eye, he set the blank, staring faces homeward to carry the message of his omnipotence to his beaten adversary. When the ghastly procession approached the tsar's capital the people crowded the walls to see, and the tsar, as though struck with a bolt, sank to the ground in a stupor and died without recovering consciousness". (Source: "A History of the Balkans" by Ferdinand Schevill")

However, despite what was written above by another commentator, the Bulgars had already fused with the Slavs at this time and had converted to Orthodox Christianity as well.

I'm not certain if Vlad Tepes ever nailed turbans onto the heads of Turks, but I know that that he nailed the skullcaps of Genoese ambassadors to their heads when they did not remove them:

"I have found that some Italians [i.e., Genoese] came as ambassadors to his court. As they came to him they took off their hats and hoods facing the prince. Under the hat, each of them wore a coif or a little skullcap that he did not take off, as is the habit among Italians. Dracula then asked them for an explanation of why they had only taken their hats off, leaving their skullcaps on their heads. To which they answered: 'This is our custom. We are not obliged to take our skullcaps off under any circumstances, even an audience with the sultan or the Holy Roman Emperor'. Dracula then said, 'In all fairness, I want to strengthen and recognize your customs'. They thanked him bowing to him and added, 'Sire we shall always serve you with your interests if you show us such goodness, and we shall praise your greatness everywhere'. Then in a deliberate manner this tyrant and killer did the following: he took some big iron nails and planted them in a circle in the head of each ambassador. 'Believe me', he said while his attendants nailed the skullcaps on the head of the envoys, 'this is the manner in which I will strengthen your customs'." (Source: An excerpt from Michael Beheim cited in "Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times" by Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally)

As for Vlad Tepes being an "Orthodox Christian hero", I have to strongly disagree. Regardless of whether or not he is considered a Romanian national hero, the fact remains that he converted to Catholicism and died a Catholic. To quote a Russian narrative cited in the same book as the previous excerpt, "Dracula loved the sweetness of the earthly world much more than the eternal world, and he abandoned Orthodoxy and thereby forsook the truth and the light and accepted darkness, ending his life in heresy". Vlad's parents were both Catholics but it is believed that he was secretly baptized Orthodox, even though he attended mass at a Catholic monastery at first. It is presumed that, after he grew up, his religious convictions were not deep, even if he was often seen in the company of Romanian Orthodox monks. After all, in order to secure a military alliance with the Hungarians, Vlad expressed his readiness to marry a member of the Hungarian royal family, which meant he would need to convert to Catholicism. Instead, Vlad was imprisoned by the Hungarian king. Eventually, the king sent an emissary to Vlad asking him if he wished to become a prince of Wallachia again and if he would be willing to convert to Catholicism, the stipulation being that if he didn't he would die in prison. Vlad agreed, abandoned Orthodoxy, and the king finally accepted Vlad's proposal to marry a member of his extended family, which Vlad did. Thus, Vlad died a Catholic.

4:07 PM  

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