Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia, was a figure in the Medieval era who has become connected with the Dracula legend. Forget bloodsucking, this guy was in to much more hardcore stuff. He impaled friend and foe alike. One he turned back a Turkish army when they saw thousands upon thousands of their comrades dead on wooden stakes. Once, when an envoy refused to take off his turban in his presence Vlad had it nailed to his head.
Of course, this didn't help Vlad when the Reaper came knocking for him. Eventually he was killed, by the Turks or rebellious nobles we cannot be sure. But his head was cut off, preserved in honey to keep it sweet and then stuck on a pole.
Despite his apparently hideous crimes Vlad was a good ruler. He insisted on total loyalty from his people and his ruthlessness aided him in his war against the Turkish invaders. When first ascending to power one of his first moves was to imprison the treacherous boyars who probably killed his father. And rather than heap favours upon old Lords he apparently prefered to knight members of the peasantry.
Although, as we've seen, it wasn't enough to save him.
Vlad The Impaler was a horribly cruel man but an effective warlord and disciplinarian.
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