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article imageInterview With Historian about the ‘Dracula House’ Special

By Christopher Szabo     Oct 13, 2009 in Science
The Hungarian historian who was reported to have ‘discovered’ a house belonging to the real “Dracula,” says the claims were inaccurate. Dr Tamás Fedeles says the cellar can indeed be linked to Wallachian Duke Vlad III, but not with any certainty.
Dr. Fedeles, of the Medieval and Early Modern Department at Pécs University’s Historical Studies Institute, said in an interview with Digital Journal that there was no definite proof that Duke Vlad III ”Tepes” (The Impaler) of Wallachia owned the recently discovered cellar.
Writing in an e-mail, Fedeles said what was certain was that a historically significant, late Medieval house had come to light, but its ownership could not be stated with certainty, as there were no ownership registers in the 15th Century.
Referring to a document from September 1489, which referred to a large house as ”Drakulyaház”, or ”Dracula House”, Fedeles said Duke Vlad’s widow, Justina de Szilágyi, owned the house for a while and that the document showed it was a corner house. The historian said:
Based on these data, we can merely say, that ”Dracula” did have something to do with the house, likely he co-owned it with his wife, although even that isn’t certain. The house stood in the centre of the town (and that) it was a significant object.
Fedeles, referring to various sensationalized media reports, added:
What is out of the question is that: (King) Mátyás (of Hungary) exiled Dracula to Pécs. That Voivode (Duke) Dracula lived in Pécs, although he might have visited, and might well have obtained property in the town, after all, he spent 10 years in Hungary.
Fedeles was particularly scathing about reports that claimed torture in the recently discovered cellar. He responded to this claim, saying:
No one was ever tortured in Dracula’s possible cellar. This was a typical tabloid story, by the way.
Fedeles went on to say that whoever owned the house, the find was still quite significant, as it represented a slice of life of the town’s medieval burghers and their material culture. He added:
Given that Pécs will be the European Capital of Culture in 2010, perhaps this point of view is not insignificant.
The name ”Dracula” is believed to have come from Vlad’s father, who was a member of the Hungarian Order of the Dragon, and ”Dracul” can mean ”dragon” in Rumanian.
The character of ”Count Dracula” was the creation of Abraham (Bram) Stoker, an Irish theatre critic and novelist who lived and worked in England in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Stoker apparently got his inspiration for his novel Dracula, published in 1897, from other Gothic novels of the time and from a holiday in a fishing village in Yorkshire, England.
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