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Vlad the Impaler 4: Prison for Vlad; Power for Radu

Some of the most significant attacks that Vlad would lead against the Turks occurred on the nights of June 16th and 17th. Vlad took some of his men to raid one of the primary Turkish camps. They wore Ottoman disguises in order to infiltrate their plans. This would become an attempt of the life of Mehmed.

In the end, the Turks eventually left the country, but would leave Vlad’s brother, Radu the Handsome in power. With Radu as the new prince, he was able to muster support with the nobility. This sent Vlad running to Transylvania. By the time August of 1462 rolled around, Vlad was able to make a deal with the Hungarian Crown, but instead – Matthias Corvinus would send Vlad to prison.

No one really knows how long Vlad spent in captivity. Some Russian literature claims that he was imprisoned from 1462 to 1474. Others believe he spent from 1462 to 1466 in jail. However long he was in prison, he was still able to slowly reclaim power and became liked again by the monarch of Hungary. He was once again in good graces and apparently so, as he even took a member of the royal family as his wife. Ironically, he would marry a cousin of Matthias. He built a family that consisted of two sons and when they turned ten years old , their father had reconquered Wallachia by 1476.

With Vlad out of the picture, Radu had adopted a pro-Turkish policy. While imprisoned, Vlad embraced Catholicism. Some reported that he became rehabilitated, however, while a prisoner , he still caught mice and birds for torture and mutilation. He would behead what he got a hold of. Sometimes, he would tar and feather creatures and then released them back into the wild. It was not uncommon to see tiny spears impaling their bodies.

The first wife of Vlad lost her life in a siege that took place on his castle in 1462. As the Turkish army approached his residence, it was Radu the Handsome heading for his doors with soldiers. An archer shot an arrow into the main quarters through a window. Attached, a message warned him that his half-brother’s army was nearing. The tale states that the archer was a former servant of Vlad who was loyal enough to send warning. When Vlad’s wife read the message, she threw herself off of a tower and landed in a tributary of the Arges River found beneath the castle. Legend states that she chose death over being captured by the Turks. Interestingly, the tributary now bears the name of Raul Doamnei, which stands for the “Lady’s River.”

Look for the fifth article in the series about Vlad the Impaler, where you will learn what happens after Vlad surrenders to the itch of assuming power once more. However, the ending is not exactly what you think is supposed to take place.