Cleaning up the family of Vlad the Impaler

+15 votes

The profile of Vlad III "Țepeș" of Wallachia (the Impaler, known as the inspiration for the fictive character Dracula) has several dubious connections which the Medieval project is aiming to clear up.

- Vlad III was married two or three times. Currently he has one wife attached, Judit Szilagiy. Is this wife correct? Is there enough information to add another wife? Another profile "Cnaejna Transylvania" was previously linked as a spouse.

- Vlad's children: One of the sons "Vlad of Dracula" appears to be spurious. Can we detach him?

- Who is the mother of Vlad's son Mihnea?

- At the moment, Vlad's shortest connection path is through Elizabeth, a sister of his gread-grandfather Radu. But, it looks like her parentage is uncertain. Can the profile remain connected as is, or should it be marked uncertain or disconnected?  (There is a second connection through Anca, another of Radu's sisters, which appears sound).

We would welcome more information before going forward. Thank you!

WikiTree profile: Vlad III of Wallachia
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (452k points)

There is a book with family trees of 100 Romanian families, including the Basarabs: Octav George Lecca: Genealogia a 100 de case din Tara Romaneasca si Moldova, Bucarest, 1911.

This tree mentions 4 children, Mircea, Vlad, Mihnea and Manzila, but, as I see, sources are not given.

I had a look at the Romanian Wikipedia page - interestingly, they list a "Cneajna Bathory" as one of the wives of Vlad. No idea where that info comes from, though it probably explains how she found her way on WikiTree.

1 Answer

+12 votes
Best answer

The profile of Elizabeth, sister of his great-grandfather Radu, says that there is conflicting information about her parentage in the Wikipedia article for her husband Vladislaus II of Opole. But when I read that article, I do not find any conflicting information. There are several different Elisabeths mentioned in the article, including Vladislaus's mother Elisabeth and Elisabeth of Poland, who married the king of Hungary, but Vladislaus's wife Elisabeth is unambiguously identified as "daughter of Nicolae Alexandru Basarab, Voivode of Wallachia"

by Anonymous Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (81.9k points)
selected by Amy Kowalkowski

If you can read Romanian (or want to struggle with inputting the text into Google Translate, which is kinda adequate for rendering Romanian into English), there is a very detailed and scholarly treatment of the wives of Vlad at pp. 151-159 of this PDF.

This source is reference [134] in the following discussion from English Wikipedia:

"Vlad had two wives, according to modern specialists.[134][135] His first wife may have been an illegitimate daughter of John Hunyadi, according to historian Alexandru Simon.[134] Vlad's second wife was Jusztina Szilágyi, who was a cousin of Matthias Corvinus.[134][136] She was the widow of Vencel Pongrác of Szentmiklós when "Ladislaus Dragwlya" married her, most probably in 1475.[137] She survived Vlad Dracul, and first married Pál Suki, then János Erdélyi.[136]"

As I read the table on p. 159 of the PDF, though, it is suggested that Mihnea was a son not of Vlad's unknown first wife (the "unknown Transylvanian noblewoman"), but rather of an unknown mistress before the first marriage.

So here is my attempt at feeding the relevant sections of Hasan's 2013 article through Google Translate.

"Like his grandfather, Mircea, Vlad benefited from the monographs that were intended to be exhaustive, but two recent studies [footnote refers to studies in Romanian by Alexandru Simon] have drawn attention to the possibility of the existence of two wives from the Hunedoara family: the one from 1462, which is said to have been his summer Mathias Corvin [this phrase makes no sense to me], and Justina Szilágyi Horogszegi, who was certainly Mathias' cousin.

If about the first wife was written as much as possible at this time [I think this means "will be written as much as possible in a short time"], there are several things to mention about Justina, since the sources are more numerous. Pál Engel considered her the daughter of Ladislaus Szilágyi, starting with Dezsó Csánki, who nevertheless claimed to be the daughter of Osvaldus, the niece of a Franciscus. András Kubinyi considered her, rather, Osvaldus' daughter. In a deed dated May 28, 1479 of King Mathias to the convent in Cluj Mănăștur, he named her Justina, the daughter of Osvaldus. On June 9, 1496, she is mentioned as the daughter of Ladislaus. Probably the first assertion, [even though] being older, is not the real one. She must have been born after 1450, until 1455, and as a family she came from the border of Timiș and Cenad counties. We believe that her father, Ladislaus, died when Justina was at most one year old and then this would explain this bivalence of fathers. Osvaldus must have adopted his niece into his family. The first of the family to succeed in removing this family of nobles from the anonymity of their native county was Ladislaus, who became a relative of the powerful Johannes Mároti, and from this position occupied, in turn, the position of vicecount of Válkó [1404], vicecount of Bács [1405], and castelan of Srebernik [1405-1408], all in the South of the kingdom [of Hungary]. Ladislaus had several brothers, who did not survive. From his marriage to Katherina Bellenyi, several children were born, six in number, three girls and three boys. Elisabeth, the first daughter, married Ioan de Hunedoara, the future regent of Hungary, and Osvaldus, the first son, married Agata Posáfi, became the relative of Ioan de Hunedoara, and had a daughter, Margareta. In 1446 he became count of Timiș county. The second son, Mihail, also became familiar with the future governor and even became the count of Bistrita and governor in the first years of his nephew, [King] Mathias [Corvinus]. Ladislaus, the third son, did not hold public office, but we can guess that, like his brothers, he was familiar with the Hunedoara family. We do not know who he married, but he certainly had a daughter, Justina, who grew up in the turbulent years after the death of Ioan de Hunedoara. We do not know where she spent her childhood and adolescence, probably on the family's possessions in Timiș or Cenad, and she first married, probably at the suggestion of the family, around 1474 to Ladislaus (Vencel) Pongrác, son of Pancratius Liptói, count Liptó of the Bogomér family."


"We do not know if it was a political marriage, we cannot associate the interests of the royal house of Hunedoara with the Bogomér people in terms of the information we have at the moment, but it is certain that the marriage did not last very long. Ladislaus, first attested with his relatives in 1448, died in 1474, and in later acts Justina, although she had four marriages, was named the widow of Ladislaus Pongrác de Sancto Nicolao or de Solna, with an exception [i.e., only once]: when she is remembered for selling her house in Pécs. Probably during 1475 she also met the “royal captain” Ladislaus Dragwlya / Dragula, who, we consider, was already a widower after his first wife, who died in unknown conditions around 1472/1473. The story of Kuriczyn's report, written after 1481-1484, brings important data, obtained at the Hungarian royal court and which supports this statement: the Russian ambassador states that before enthroning the Impaler for the third time [1476], Mathias married his sister, with whom she had two sons, they lived together for 10 years and then the lord died in pagan [Latin] law. Kuricyn's information is essentially real, but the ambassador may have misinterpreted / misunderstood certain data. Let's analyze them one by one. The first information refers to Justina [marriage with / after the installation in the reign], but the rest to the wife with an unknown name, who preceded her and with whom the Muntenian ruler [i.e., Vlad] certainly had one of the two sons. Due to the confusion of the two different information as time [last reign, marriage with first wife] this hybrid resulted. The second information must be kept in mind, the existence of the two sons from the marriage and the duration of the marriage, approximately one decade [1462-1472], as well as the death of the Impaler in the pagan [Latin] law. Also, the mention of this housewife of Mathias, instead of another type of family relationship, strengthens the assumption of an illegitimate daughter from the Szapolya family of Ioan de Hunedoara [see note above]."
In other words, as I interpret this: the existence of a first wife of Vlad is based on a confused passage in a report from a Russian ambassador, from which it is inferred that, before Vlad married Justina about 1476, he had been married about a decade to an illegitimate relative of Mathias Corvinus and had had [one or] two sons with her.
Thank you so much for relaying all this. It's very interesting.

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