Except that it wasn’t his name.
The word Tepes literally means “Impaler” in Turkish, but the researchers see it as a Romanian to Italian pun because in Italian Thebes is “Tebe,” which if you squint is sort of like Tepes. Of course in Romanian Thebes is “Teba” and in Hungarian “Theba,” both from the Latin “Thebas,” but that ruins everything—as does the fact that the Tepes nickname wasn’t used in his lifetime. Vlad would never have called himself Dracula Tepes (“Little Dragon the Impaler”) since “Tepes” was, obviously, an insult.
Worse, Dracula wasn’t a count, as Glinni should have known. Vlad was in fact voivode of Wallachia, equivalent of a prince. Even Bram Stoker got that right in Dracula. Dr. Van Helsing announces that the man masquerading as a “count” in modern times “must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land.”
Glinni also identified Dracula’s family as the “House of the Carpathians,” confusing the mountains of Transylvania with the Draculesti family of Wallachia.
The BS Historian has an excellent breakdown of the many different ways the story makes no sense and the complete lack of historical evidence to support the claims. Among the highlights:
- The story originates with Italy’s version of Ancient Aliens, called Mistero (“Mystery”), which ran an episode in 2012 alleging on the authority of Glinni that Dracula had a secret daughter not found in any official historical documentation. He claimed at the time that Dracula was buried in the Acerenza Cathedral, which he claimed had a gargoyle that was really Lilith, the first vampire.
- Glinni also believes Dracula was actually a vampire, since he identified a bas relief of an old man as Vlad III based on pointy vampire teeth.
- Maria Balsa was the wife of an Italian member of the Order of the Dragon, and of Slavic origin, but there is no documentary evidence that she has any relationship to Vlad III, who is recorded as having sired only sons. She was the wife of Giacomo Alonzo Ferrillo, Count of Muro, and she was responsible for renovating the Acerenza Cathedral in 1524.
Now since Vlad is thought to have died in 1476 according to conventional history, and his “daughter” didn’t get around to renovating churches and building crypts until the 1520s, we have almost five unaccounted for decades. Vlad’s son was born around 1460, and any alleged daughter would likely have to have been born before his captivity in Hungary (1462), or else she would have been too young after his release in 1474 to have known him at all before his final defeat in 1476, let alone to ransom him that year. That would mean that Maria would have been 62 when she was renovating Acerenza, which doesn’t seem in accord with Italian records.
Now, I can do the BS Historian one better and tell you exactly what is on the so-called Dracula tomb at Santa Maria Nuova. The image you see is the crest of the Ferillo family, specifically the arms of Matteo Ferrillo, Count of Muro, the father of Maria Balsa’s husband. As described in Arthur Charles Fox-Davies’s Art of Heraldry (1904), Matteo Ferrillo’s arms were as follows, taken from his known tomb site:
Arms of Matteo Ferrillo (Conte de Muro), from his monument in the Monastery S. M. la Nuova in Naples (end of fifteenth century): Argent, a chevron, and in chief three mullets gules. Crest: a dragon’s head and neck, with wings addorsed.
There you have it. The tomb is that of a known Italian noble, with recognized arms. Just to put a nail in the coffin, so to speak, on the same page Fox-Davies gives two more examples of Italian nobles who also had nearly identical dragon’s head arms on their tombs: Buffardo Cicinella of Florence (died 1455) and Ludovico de Caccialupo of Bologna (died c. 1451)—both before Dracula’s death. It was not a unique or secret symbol.
It took me less than five minutes to discover this.
Screw you Italian mystery-mongers and lazy British newspapers.