Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Vlad The Impaler

Vlad III reigned on and off, as Prince of Wallachia, between 1448-1476. He was born, the son of Vlad II, in Transylvania. Wishing to assert his authority in an untamed world, Vlad II had been an early believer in the rallying power of images, and, had thus, used the Dragon, symbol of Order, as the logo of his reign. The people began calling him Vlad Drakul, meaning Vlad the Devil, a name which he seemed to have liked.

When Vlad III ascended to power, he signed his name to documents, Vlad Drakulea, meaning Son of the Devil.

Yes, this Vlad III, or Vlad Drakulea, is the inspiration behind the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. And with good reason, for he seems to have been a blood-thirsty man, both literally, and figuratively. Legend has it, a favorite delicacy was bread dipped in pig's blood. Whether or not that was true, Vlad Drakulea was an extraordinarily cruel ruler. And, guess where he learned much of his cruelty from?

Yes, that's right; the Muslims.

His father's reign as Prince of Wallachia was troubled by the need to balance the competing interests of the Hungarians of the realm with that of the invading Ottoman Empire. Vlad II chose appeasement much of the time, and thus, he was assasinated on the order of John Hunyadi, regent of Hungary.

This left Vlad III with no father, and, as those who assassinated his father did not trust his family, no throne.

In the years leading up to the assassination of his father, Vlad III had lived in Turkey and had familiarized himself with the customs, lifestyle, and military structure of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the language. Thus, when he found himself cut off from his royal lineage he turned to the Turks to help him successfully regain what he believed was rightfully his.

His reign was troubled from there on in. All told he gained and lost the throne three times, spending some years in prison during one fall from grace. One constant, though, was his reputation for cruelty. One of his nicknames was Vlad Tepes, which meant Vlad the Impaler.

The process of impaling an enemy is particularly gruesome. This, from Wikipedia is not for the fainter flowers among us:

Impalement was Dracula's preferred method of torture and execution, which he had learned in his youth as a prisoner of the Turks. It was and is one of the most gruesome ways of dying ever imagined.

Dracula usually had a horse attached to each of the victim's legs as a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. The end of the stake was usually oiled and care was taken that the stake not be too sharp; else the victim might die too rapidly from shock.

Normally the stake was inserted into the body through the
anus and was often forced through the body until it emerged from the mouth. However, there were many instances where victims were impaled through other bodily orifices or through the abdomen or chest.

As expected, death by impalement was slow and painful. Victims sometimes endured for hours or days. Dracula often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of a city that constituted his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The corpses were often left decaying for months.

Vlad was known for many of the other cruel punishments he levied on his subjects. He would cut out the genitals of women who committed adultery. He once invited a large group of the sick and the lame to a big banquet, and at the culmination of the banquet, put the question to them, "Would you like to live with no care in the world?" When they answered in the affirmative, he had the doors locked and the building burned to the ground. There were no survivors. He then told his court that he had done what he had done, because he didn't want weak people in his land.

One lesson he seemed to have learned from the Turks was the hudna. For after just a few years of aligning himself with the Turks in order to establish his power, he turned on them.

The most famous scene of Vlad's life came in a battle against the Ottoman forces of one Sultan Mehmed II. Here is a description:

In the beginning of 1462, Vlad launched a campaign against the Turks along the Danube river. It was quite risky, the military force of Sultan Mehmed II being by far more powerful than the Wallachian army. However, during the winter of 1462, Vlad was very successful and managed to gain many victories.

To punish Dracula, the Sultan decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Wallachia. Of course, his other goal was to transform this land into a Turkish province and he entered Wallachia with an army three times larger than Dracula's.

Finding himself without allies, Vlad, forced to retreat towards Tirgoviste, burned his own villages and poisoned the wells along the way, so that the Turkish army would find nothing to eat or drink.

Moreover, when the Sultan, exhausted, finally reached the capital city, he was confronted by a most gruesome sight: thousands of stakes held the remaining carcasses of some 20,000 Turkish captives, a horror scene which was ultimately nicknamed the "Forest of the Impaled."

This terror tactic deliberately stage-managed by Dracula was definitely successful; the scene had a strong effect on Mehmed's most stout-hearted officers, and the Sultan, tired and hungry, admitted defeat.

Now, see, I know you were thinking to yourselves, "Since when does Pastorius do history?" The answer, of course, is rarely. But, this one is rather important, isn't it?

I'm not going to comment further. Talk among yourselves. Can't wait to hear what you have to say.


Papa Ray said...

"the scene had a strong effect on Mehmed's most stout-hearted officers, and the Sultan, tired and hungry, admitted defeat."

Should I say, that the strong effect was that it scared the crap out of all of them?

Persians and Arabs respect violence, they have lived with it forever and it is expected. So, in order to really impress them, you have to go over the top and show them that they really don't want to fight and find out if they can win.

This is the mistake we made in 91, we should have burned all the cities, killed until the streets were running with blood and then just left for Iran the next week.

But no, we are civilized.

Well to beat the cult of Islam forever, we are going to have to lose our civility and become "The Satan" in form and actions as well as in name.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Dag said...

As I recall, Vlad went so far once as to kill his own people by impalement as a lesson to the Muslims, as a demonstration of what they could expect if they kept on fighting. "If he'd do that to his own, what will he do to us?" Well, forget the rest, Vlad ended his career, I think, as a dhimmi working for the Turks. (My memory isn't as good as it was.)

Nor was Vlad the only bad guy or even the worst. There's the charmer known in roumanian history as Bela the Bug, for example. The point is that in the West there were despots and tyrannts, true, but only in the Balkans did they descend into madness on a regular basis. Why? Because of their dhimmi status, I believe. As slave masters of slaves what's the point of doing anything other than whatever nasty thing one can? And that traditionsurvies if one looks even at Ceausescu, the leader. Islam is responsible for the devastation of culture in the Balkans. It's what we face in the West.

I agree with Papa Ray, that to win is to win by main force against Muslims. But I have a very specific meaning in the definition of force which I'll return to at a later point.

John Sobieski said...

I actually have a photo of some poor schmuck in some islamic hellhole impaled through the anus on one of these stakes. It's part of my macabre folder of Islam photos. This stuff still goes on, today. When I think of the horrific defilement of our military at Fallujah, I get so angry.

Pastorius said...

So, in other words, they are still doing it today, and our wonderful media is not reporting on it.

Always On Watch said...

Thank for for posting this little history lesson.

I can't remember where or when I discovered the truth about Vlad the Impaler (aka, Dracula), but I believe that I learned the info some 20 years ago from one of our friends who had immigrated from Hungary during the Communist Revolution there. I confirmed the information with a bit of research.

Madness in Eastern and Central Europe? Maybe. But sometimes people do what they have to do to stop an ongoing madness perpetrated by others.

BTW, some of the Spanish Inquisition techniques which are often condemned originated with the Moors who used those same techniques on Christians and Jews during the Muslim Conquest of Spain. During the Reconquest, the Spanish turned the tables.

Sometimes fighting evil with great and impressive force is what it takes to stop that evil.

And AOI is right about that impalement technique. I saw that photo somewhere, but not on AOI's site. Also, several months ago, Voice of the Martyrs once published the story of a young boy's crucifixion in the desert; the young man survived to tell the tale. The msm did not cover the story as far as I know.

Muslim torture techniques make Abu Ghraib pale in comparison. Militant Muslims laugh at Western ideas of punishment, I think. The history of many Arab tribes is filled with egregious examples of torture, and some of that torture predates Islam. As Papa Ray said, Persians and Arabs respect violence, they have lived with it forever and it is expected.

Pastorius said...

Thanks for the comments, people.

I propose we write a series of articles on the history and methodology of those who beat Muslims militarily.

AOW brought up the reconquest. I did a little bit of studying of the Siege of Vienna yesterday. However, while what I learned sounded like something out of the Lord of the Rings, it did not sound like cruelty out of the realm of normality was needed. However, I don't necessarily trust the average historian on this subject.

What is the truth? I don't know.

Pastorius said...

Good points, Someguy.

I'm glad you brought up two points here;

1) that Vlad was eventually beaten by the Turks.

2) Torture.

I want to be clear, I am not advocating torture. Instead, I am entertaining the idea of a simple gruesome display of the bodies of the dead.

I don't think it would be a good idea to lower ourselves to the level of torturing people en masse, as Vlad did. In fact, I don't advocate torture except in limited forms, in the most extreme of circumstances. In other words, nukes.

I put myself into a weird position here by not specifically commenting on what I think the story of Vlad should teach us.

I really do want to hear other people's opinions first.

Krishna109 said...

Whether or not to use torture brings up another issue-- what is the best strategy to use to defeat Islamic extremism? It seems to me that the best thing to do is to . . ."do what works"...what gets results. (I'm not sure what that is...).

The Israelis have probably been among those most sucessful in at least cutting down on terrorist attacks. I think one of the most sucessful tactics they've employed is "targeted killing" of terrorist leaders. Aslo-- they have had very good intelligence about plans for attacks before they occurred.

I do not know whether or not torture or cruelty works. However, I believew one key is to be firm and consistant.

unaha-closp said...

I prefer the Marines' way of handling these kinds of people: "Close with the enemy and destroy him."

As do I, however since the Marines do not close with the enemy, they cannot destroy the enemy and the enemy can laugh at our means of punishment from places of safety in syria and Saudi and Iran. To stop them laughing we need to make our means of punishment unfunny or close with them.

Papa Ray said...

Perhaps more research is needed. The idea of using pigs blood has been brought up on some blog, I remember from sometime back. That is a very inconvient and short term supply item.

How about small snack packs of pig skins. Place a small amount in the dead terrorist's mouth and scatter the remainder on the body or body parts.

Naw, too amaturish,

But almost anything the troops did would be picked up and blasted across the world as cruel and inhuman and everyone would call for investigations and arrests.

Remember the Marine that emptied two clips into a couple of terrorists?

He is no longer a Marine. He was found innocent, even thought one soldier testified against him.

But they made a big deal out of him firing so many rounds. Well, with the puny round that our troops have for their M16 and M4 weapons, I would keep firing too.

In fact I did, in another war long ago and far away.

I'm afraid that our military is going to have to continue fighting handicapped and being told what, when and how to fight by our civilian government and the media and left wing.

That is until they kill a whole bunch more of us.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Always On Watch said...

Just to clarify...I was speaking of the Reconquest of Spain.

The epic poem El Cid might be a jumping-off point.

The Observer said...


Anonymous said...

Vlad the Impaler is a good example of how to handle a race war--Do the other race better than them and they have no reason to fight....A kidnapped reporter in Iraq I read about was dealt a fake elbow. He didn't flinch and the culprit left in defeat....It reminds me of the movie Quick and the Dead with Kate Capshaw and Sam Elliot where the wagontrailers are told to act crazy when the Indians come....It works both ways. Act like a cowboy and they leave you alone. Say you play for the Cowboys and they leave you alone....Common sense....Praise Allah and pass the stakes....

Amillennialist said...

"Dracul" meant "dragon."

Later, it became "devil."

Pastorius said...

I believe you.