In our times, we rely on family for support. We help each other. Encourage each other. Family is your foundation to build a life and face the world. In a Medieval, aristocratic family, they were often your most dangerous enemy.
Dracula was the oldest son. The oldest son inherits the throne. Radu was Dracula’s younger brother. What does the second oldest son get? Comparatively, nothing. Unless of course, something happens to Dracula…. There are many examples from this period, of brothers, sisters, uncles, etc. murdering the next in line for the throne. Only 1 person standing between you and the throne is a huge temptation.
If Radu was a lot younger than Dracula, he would not have been as much of a threat. If Radu was patient, he would likely have his own reign of power later. They were however, only about 6-8 years apart. Getting rid of Dracula was Radu’s only real chance at power.
Their father, Vlad Dracul, rose to the throne of Wallachia by promising to pay taxes to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. To further ensure his loyalty, he surrendered custody of his two sons to the Sultan. While there, they were both raped. Dracula was filled with fury and hatred for Turks and Islam. Ever wonder WHY he enjoyed sodomizing Muslims with a 20’ pole? Impaling them to hang on display and watching them slowly die for several days?
Radu however, responded very differently. He embraced Islam, the Turks and the culture. Radu willingly remained in the Ottoman Empire and even became the Sultan’s lover.
Dracula, embraced Christianity. He hated Islam. When he assumed the throne, he refused to pay taxes to the Sultan. The Sultan sent 2 envoys to Dracula, ordering him to report to Constantinople to discuss the situation. The envoys had secret orders to capture and kill him as he crossed the Danube. The savvy Dracula learned of the plot. He seized and executed the Sultan’s envoys.
Instead of continuing to Constantinople, Dracula marched to the Ottoman fortress of Guirgiu. In perfect Turkish, he ordered the commander to open the gate. He did! Dracula’s soldiers simply walked in and sacked the fortress. He then began a rampaging campaign, devastating Ottoman villages along the border, for “honor and the preservation of Christianity”.
The only remaining option for the Sultan was war. Imagine being the Sultan. If you win the war and kill Dracula, who are you going to replace him with? The younger brother Radu, is the natural choice. It is a pretty easy offer to sell: Now is your chance! You will never rule otherwise. Besides, by this time Radu was a loyal and trusted friend and lover.
Dracula ruled with an iron grip of terror. His reign meant hardship, blood and war. Radu promised the opposite. Leniency, peace and prosperity. Yes, they would have to pay taxes to the Ottoman Empire but in exchange, their economy would flourish with increased trade. Dracula was harsh and uncompromising. Radu was agreeable, pleasant and diplomatic. Wallachians weary of war, gradually switched allegiance to Radu.
Though Dracula fought and won many spectacular battles, overwhelming numbers forced him to withdrawal to the mountains of Transylvania. He persisted in a guerrilla campaign but eventually gave up, seeking refuge in Hungary.
Radu became the new ruler of Wallachia. He remained in power for nearly 10 years. He fought several campaigns against his son-in-law, Stephen III, who eventually defeated and executed him.
Violent times, even for an agreeable and pleasant ruler.