One couldn`t try to understand Vlad the Impaler without taking into account the love he felt for his father, Vlad Dracul, from which he inherited the love for his country, the hatred for Turks [augmented in the period of captivity], but also military, political and organizational talents.
In many texts we can find a parallel between the two as they are considered the most skillful Wallachian rulers who managed to withstand the Turks by various methods, whether by false submission or war.
Vlad Dracul, son of Mircea the Elder, had the esteem of Sigismund of Luxembourg, so in February of 1431, in a ceremony officiated at Nuremberg, he was received in the order of chivalry founded by the Hungarian ruler – even before he become the ruler of Wallachia.
Along with the effigy of the Order, Vlad Dracul received one of the highest distinctions of the Hungarian Empire.
The Order of the Dragon was composed almost exclusively of very influential Hungarian magnates [who donated large amounts of goods and money in support of the war against the Turks], and at that time among the members there were only two other foreigners: the kings of Poland and Serbia.
The seal was a ring representing a dragon coiled around a cross that could be seen engraved these words:
O quam misericors Deus east,
Justus et Pius.
[Oh, how merciful God is, how good and just.]
Although he was received in the order in 1431, Vlad Dracul did not come to ascend the throne of Targoviste until 1437.
Meanwhile Vlad Dracul was established in Schassburg [Sighisoara] where he received the right to run a monetary. The coins had a dragon symbol.
In that house it is supposed that his second son, Vlad Dracula, was born!
Though protected by treaties signed by Sigismund with the noblemen and the Wallachian ruler of that time, Vlad Dracul could only stay in Transylvania and it must have seemed more of an exile for him!
About Members of the Order we know that they were very good strategists, they wore black on Fridays and if one was killed on the battlefield his widow and heirs could count on the other members for support.
Membership in the Order of the Dragon was inherited on the male line and we know that Vlad Dracul had 4 children from his two marriages, three boys and one girl.
§ Mircea, born in 1428 or 1429 of his first wife [an aristocrat at the court of Sigismund of Luxembourg] he is known for the lifelong fight alongside his father and died with it in 1447, probably buried alive.
§ Vlad, born of his first wife in 1429 or 1430 most likely in Sighisoara, the one who would later become the dreaded Vlad the Impaler
§ Radu, born in 1438 or 1439 with of second wife [Marina of Moldavia], he was hostage along with Vlad and converted to Islam, then toppled his brother in 1462 and ruled until 1475; known as Radu the Handsome
§ Alexandra, born shortly before the death of Vlad Dracul, was to meet again in Moldova with her older brother and returned in Targoviste after Vlad took the throne the second time.
When he was finally able to get the throne of his country Vlad Dracul went to war with Hunyadi and other members of the Order of the Dragon, but recognizing that the battle was a lost chose to pay tribute to the sultan.
He was attracted to the court and forced by the Sultan to give his two sons as a guarantee of his fidelity. So Vlad and Radu became prisoners.
When Vlad Dracul returned to his court he was killed along with his eldest son, Mircea, presumably by orders of John Hunyadi. The latter had been fooled by Wallachian boyars into thinking that his former comrade in arms betray him and was preparing to join the Ottoman army.
If Vlad would have been in Targoviste in 1447 he probably would have been killed!
† Vlad the Impaler
† Count Dracula