Vlad the Impaler
Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia lived from 1431 to 1476. He gained two nicknames, the more posthumously used one would be Vlad the Impaler. This name was given to him for his habit of impaling his victims and enemies to warn off other possible enemies. The other name that he gained during life inspired a book, as well, Dracula.
During most of his rule, he raised efforts against the Ottoman Empire and its expansion; as well as spent time impaling his enemies. Also during this reign, his reputation of excessive cruelty spread over seas, to Germany and elsehwere in Europe. The total number of his victims is estimated in the tens of thousands.
The book character Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula was inspired after Vlad’s patronymic and cruel leadership. Decorated as a tyrant who took sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing even during his lifetime, Vlad has been shown many times during films as a role of cruel rulers or executioners; like those of Pontius Pilate ordering the torture and execution of Jesus Christ. Or even as Aegeas, the Roman proncosul in Patras, overseeing the crucifixion of Saint Andrew.
After his death, his cruel deeds were reported with macabre gusto in popular pamphlets in germany. His kill toll is estimated from the ranges of 40,000 to 100,000 comparable to the cumulative number of executions over four centuries during the European witchhunts. Due to his name, you can assume his favorite form of torture was by impalement. Sevecral of the woodcut from the German pamphlets of the late 15th and early 16th centuries show Vlad feasting in a forest of stakes and their grisly burdens outside Brașov, while a nearby executioner cuts apart other victims.
It has also been said that in 1462 Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, a man noted for his own psychological warfare tactics, returned to Constantinople after being sickened by the sight of 20,000 impaled corpses outside Vlad’s capital of Târgoviște.