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Many people know of Dracula from the movie or novel of Bram Stokers Dracula and are aware that there is was a true historical Dracula Bram Stoker penned his immortal classic Dracula he based his vampire villain on a Romanian historical figure Stokers model was Vlad III Dracula Tepes - The Impaler a fifteenth century viovode of Wallachia of the princely House of Basarab Wallachia Tara Romaneasca is a provence of Romania bordered to the north by Transylvania and Moldavia to the East by the Black Sea and to the south by the Danube to Bulgaria Wallachia first emerged as a political entity during the late thirteenth century from the weltering confusion left behind in the Balkans as the East Roman Empire slowly crumbled Among the rulers of Wallachia an important name was Basarab the Great 1310-1352 an ancestor of Dracula Despite the splintering of the family into two rival clans some member of the House of Basarab continued to govern Wallachia from that time until well after the Ottomans reduced the principality to the status of a client state Dracula was among the voivodes of Wallachia who fought to retain a real measure of independence In order to understand the life of Vlad Dracula it is first necessary to understand something about the nature of Wallachian society and politics The throne of Wallachia was hereditary but not by the law of primogeniture the boyars or great nobles had the right to elect the voivode from among the various eligible members of the royal family As with most elective monarchies during the Middle Ages the power of the central government tended to be dissipated among the nobility as various members of the ruling family vied for the throne Wallachian politics also tended to be very bloody assassination was a common means of eliminating rivals and many of the voivodes ended their lives violently and prematurely Wilkinson 36 By the late fifteenth century the
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