Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.

As we have said, the Turks were so much afraid of Hunniades that they are said to have given him the name of ‘the Devil;’ but the same designation, as well as that of the Impaler, has also been bestowed upon Vlad, a voivode of Wallachia, who was probably the ally of Hunniades, and who, if one-tenth of what has been related of him be true, has a much better claim to the title.  He is represented to have been one of the most atrocious and cruel tyrants who ever disgraced even those dark ages.  One day he massacred 500 boyards who were dissatisfied with his rule.  The torture of men, women, and children, seems to have been his delight.  Certain Turkish envoys, when admitted into his presence, refused to remove their turbans, whereupon he had them nailed to their heads.  He burned 400 missionaries and impaled 500 gipsies to secure their property.  In order to strike terror into Mohammed II. he crossed over into Bulgaria, defeated the Turks, and brought back with him 25,000 prisoners, men, women, and children, whom he is said to have impaled upon a large plain called Praelatu.  Notwithstanding his successes, however, Vlad was at length compelled to submit to the Turkish rule, and he concluded the ‘Second Capitulation’ at Adrianople (1460), in which the tribute to the Porte was increased, but no other important change was made in the terms of suzerainty.[134]

[Footnote 133:  The two crowns had been united under him.]

[Footnote 134:  To show what uncertainty hangs over the history of this man, and in fact of the whole period, it may be mentioned that Neigebaur and other writers make this treaty to have been signed between Vlad II. and Mohammed III., who reigned 135 years later, whilst French writers state that it was between Vlad V. and Mohammed II.; but they all agreed as to the date 1460.  Henke calls him Vlad III.  He was universally named the Impaler in consequence of a practice which is well known to our readers through the so-called Bulgarian atrocities.  A sharpened pole was forced into the body of the victim, and the other end was then driven into the earth, the unfortunate man, woman, or child being left to writhe in agony until relieved by death.]


For a century after the foundation of Moldavia, or, as it was at first called, ‘Bogdania,’ by Bogdan Dragosch, the history of the country is shrouded in darkness.  Kings or princes are named, one or more of whom were Lithuanians; two or three Bogdans, Theodor Laseu, Jurgo Kuriotovich, Peter, Stephen, Roman, Alexander, &c., and some of them are said to have been dethroned and to have reigned twice and even three times, until at length a prince more powerful than the rest ascended the throne, and by the prowess of his arms succeeded in establishing his name and fame in history.  This was Stephen, sometimes called the ‘Great’ or ‘Good,’ but whether he deserved the latter title the reader will be best able to judge for himself.

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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