Has The Tomb Of Vlad Dracula Been Discovered?

A group of researchers believe they may have uncovered the tomb of one of history’s most notorious villains: The Impaler, Vlad Dracula.

Astoundingly, the grave sits not in the wild forests of Transylvania, but in a church in Naples, Italy. According to the Mail Online, student Erika Stella stumbled upon the tomb while doing research for her thesis. When she returned, it was with scholars from the University of Tallinn in Estonia, who have spent months scouring documents for information about the dragon-covered headstone.

Distinct from those surrounding it, the grave sits in Naples’ Piazza Santa Maria La Nova, the very same place that houses the remains of Dracula’s daughter and son-in-law. Though Dracula was believed to have died in battle sometime between October 31 and December 31, 1476, the researchers say there is new evidence to suggest an alternate theory to his end. A brutal ruler who gained the nickname “The Impaler” for mounting his enemies on wooden stakes and dining amongst their corpses, Dracula was a member of the Order of the Dragon like his father before him. He was committed to keeping the Ottoman Empire at bay as a member of the Order, and Gizmodo points out that historians have long concluded that Dracula was killed during an offensive in Romania, where he was attempting to reconquer Wallachia from Basrab Laiota, a pro-Ottoman ruler.

Remembered as a brutal ruler, Dracula was known to impale his enemies on long wooden stakes.

According to the researchers, however, there is another explanation for Dracula’s death. They assert that Dracula was in fact captured by the Ottomans, and his daughter Maria, who was already living in Naples, paid a ransom for his freedom. In their version, Dracula then went on to live his last days quietly in Italy with his family, his kingdom lost.

Medieval history scholar Raffaello Glinni, whom the Mail Online cites, points to the differences between the tomb and those surrounding it in attempting to explain its possibly horrific origin:

“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.”

While Gizmodo and The B.S. Historian are critical of the researchers, and particularly Glinni (whom they refer to as “self-appointed”), it isn’t the first time Dracula has been in the news recently. As The Inquisitr reported, a castle that inspired Bram Stoker’s classic novel, but never housed the real Dracula, went on the market in May.

The researchers have applied for a permit to study the tomb, hoping to determine if it really is the final resting place of Vlad “Dracula” Tepes.

[Images via B.S. Historian and Wikipedia]

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