The Surprising Way Vlad The Impaler Spent His Childhood

To be the inspiration for the literary figure Dracula, somebody must have been particularly evil. For Bram Stoker, Vlad III — the Prince of Wallachia or, as he is better known, Vlad the Impaler — proved a great model to base his famous vampire on. Vlad the Impaler's life is worth exploring on its own, though, and not necessarily for the fictional creature he inspired. 

Such exploration begins with his formative years. Vlad was born in 1431, but most likely not in Transylvania as many believe, but probably more likely in Wallachia, which is part of Romania. His father was a "voivode," or ruler (via LiveScience). Vlad III was raised to one day become a "voivode," himself. While he was allowed to be a child and do the typical things that children do, he was provided with a top-notch education at which he excelled (via History Collection). 

From where Vlad and his family lived, he could view a prison. Vlad seemed to take great delight in watching prisoners who were condemned to be hanged being walked from the prison to the place where hangings took place in his village.

Vlad III or Vlad the Impaler

Life changed drastically for Vlad at the age of 11 or 12, when his father was summoned to a diplomatic meeting in Turkey. Vlad II brought his two sons, Radu and Vlad III, with him. However, upon arrival, they were all held hostage. In all actuality though, Vlad II's two sons were treated well and were actually tutored in a number of subjects. Vlad III even became a skilled horseback rider and warrior. In addition, the two boys were taught subjects such as science, philosophy, and the arts.

While their experiences were similar, Radu came to appreciate the treatment, while Vlad III resented it, because he could not get past knowing that he was a hostage. This education seemed to be a continuation of what he had experienced during his formative years, while at the same time, it broadened his horizons. 

Despite being treated well, this experience proved to be a negative one for Vlad III, and seemed to be what placed the great enmity for his enemies within him.