I’m writing a story with a vampire element in it and this fellow Vlad Tepes is mentioned in it. He was not the nicest guy. He had the nick name The Impaler and I don’t think the ladies meant it in a good way.
Even during his lifetime, Vlad III Țepeș became famous as a tyrant taking sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing. He is shown in crypto-portraits made during his lifetime in the role of cruel rulers or executioners. After Vlad’s death, his cruel deeds were reported with macabre gusto in popular pamphlets in Germany, reprinted from the 1480s until the 1560s, and to a lesser extent in Tsarist Russia. As an example of how Vlad Țepeș soon became iconic for all horrors unimaginable, the following pamphlet from 1521 pours out putative incidents like this one:
“er liess kinnder praten die musten ire mütter essen. Und schneyd den frawen den prüst ab den musten ire man essen. Darnach liess er sie all spissen.”
He roasted children, whom he fed to their mothers. And (he) cut off the breasts of women, and forced their husbands to eat them. After that, he had them all impaled
Estimates of the number of his victims range from 40,000 to 100,000. According to the German stories the number of victims he had killed was at least 80,000. In addition to the 80,000 victims mentioned he also had whole villages and fortresses destroyed and burned to the ground.
Impalement was Vlad’s preferred method of torture and execution. Several woodcuts from German pamphlets of the late 15th and early 16th centuries show Vlad feasting in a forest of stakes and their grisly burdens outside Brașov, while a nearby executioner cuts apart other victims. It was reported that an invading Ottoman army turned back in fright when it encountered thousands of rotting corpses on the banks of the Danube. It has also been said that in 1462 Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, a man noted for his own psychological warfare tactics and the impalement of subjugated peoples in the Ottoman Empire, returned to Constantinople after being sickened by the sight of 20,000 impaled corpses outside Vlad’s capital of Târgoviște.
Allegedly, Vlad’s reputation for cruelty was actively promoted by Matthias Corvinus, who tarnished Vlad’s reputation and credibility for a political reason: as an explanation for why he had not helped Vlad fight the Ottomans in 1462, for which purpose he had received money from most Catholic states in Europe. Matthias employed the charges of Southeastern Transylvania, and produced fake letters of high treason, written on 7 November 1462.