Victor Hugo on Dracula
Some interesting things purported in this linked article. Allegations that the Ottoman Sultan kept Vlad Dracula’s head in a container filled with honey? I’d not heard that one before. It is commonly accepted in Dracula lore than the Sultan did have Vlad’s head displayed after the latter’s assassination, as a warning to others who might defy the Empire, but keeping it? This puts me in mind of those articles I wrote on mellification. (It might also explain how Dracula eventually got his head back, if it had been preserved by the Sultan.)
The Order of Saint George the Dragon Slayer? Hmm. We do know that the Order of the Dragon was founded primarily to defend against Muslim encroachment into Christianized Europe, but I’d never heard it alleged that its charter named the Sultan specifically, nor that it bore the name of St. George in its title. (The symbol for the Order of the Dragon, or one of them, the one I have tattooed on my left arm, does feature a dragon bearing on its back the device known as “St. George’s Shield,” however. And St. George is the patron Saint of Romania.)
Oh, yeah. Victor Huge supposedly wrote a poem about Dracula decades before Bram Stoker immortalized him as a vampire. To be technical, Hugo’s LA LEGENDE DES SIECLES, or THE LEGEND OF THE CENTURIES, is not about Dracula exclusively, only mentioning him—maybe—in one section. Still, how cool would it be that the writer of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (and who, according to the conspiracy theorists, belonged to the secret order in charge of keeping hidden the Holy Grail), wrote about Dracula before Stoker did? And with Hugo knowing a lot more about Dracula than did Stoker, too!
Here’s a little snippet of the poem, translated from the stilted English translation of the (alleged) original French by moi. You’re welcome:
“From Aden and Erzeroum the Sultan caused to be dug many deep graves; he made the city of Modon into a mass grave, and left Aleppo, Bush, and Damascus clusters of corpses. One day he made of his own son a target and killed him. Invincible was he, the Sultan Murad! Vlad, the prince of Tarvis, called the Devil, refused to pay the Sultan’s tribute. He took entire the Turkish embassy and impaled them all on thirty stakes, planted along both sides of a road…”
Okay, so here’s the thing. I can’t find any reference to this portion of Hugo’s poem outside of this one website, or others that are simply cutting and pasting from it. I therefore cannot pronounce it genuine just yet. I don’t speak or read French. I’m going to have to locate a credited translation of Hugo’s poem and read it for myself. It’s long, though. Really long. I’ll have to get back to you when/if I come across the portion of the poem relating to Vlad.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!