Estonian researchers believe the remains of Vlad III — aka Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for Dracula — are buried in a church in Naples, Italy. But to prove it they may have to open his tomb — which sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea.
Update: This now appears to be a rather dubious claim. Read this: "Fringe historian claims to have found Dracula's Tomb in Italy"
Vlad III was a prince of Wallachia who lived from 1431 to 1476. He was a member of the the House of Drăculești, or Dracula — a name that translates to "Son of the Dragon." After his death, he was dubbed Vlad the Impaler owing to his practice of impaling his enemies. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 Dracula was inspired by his reign.
In late 1476 he was defeated by the Ottomans. Some historians believe he was killed, with his head taken to Constantinople and his body buried in a monastery in Romania.
But University of Tallinn archaeologist Erika Stella says she's uncovered evidence suggesting he was taken captive and ransomed by his daughter.
The Medievalists report:
Vlad was then brought to be with her in Naples, where he passed away and was buried at the church of Santa Maria La Nova.
Her colleague, Raffaello Glinni, points to a particular tomb in the church that has symbols which would have been used by the Romanian prince. He explains, "When you look at the bas-relief sculptures, the symbolism is obvious. The dragon means Dracula and the two opposing sphinxes represent the city of Thebes, also known as Tepes. In these symbols, the very name of the count Dracula Tepes is written."
Stella's team are now applying to have the tomb opened to see if more evidence can be found. Here's to hoping they bring plenty of wooden stakes and some garlic.
[via Medievalists ]