Genetic traces discovered on a letter written by Vlad the Impaler, known as Count Dracula, could provide useful information about his history.
A sophisticated and particularly complex procedure that has served in the past to shed light on other historical figures is trying to find out details about the life of Count Vlad for everyone Dracula.
Remained famous for decades, the count Dracula represents an imaginary figure produced by the pen of Bram Stoker in the late nineteenth century which definitively signed the figure of the “perfect vampire”, taken up by many other writers and film directors. Practically Bram Stoker with the novel Dracula created a more charismatic vampire, adding to the already existing stories about vampires popular beliefs and superstitions of the Romaniawhich is still very superstitious in rural areas.
His vampire instead of being a terrifying monster is an aristocrat of the Transylvania.
The personality that inspired the author, however, is a real historical character, such Vlad III of Wallachia, best known as Vlad the Impaler, a cruel and bloodthirsty man. Now experts are attempting to extract his DNA, not to clone the ancient ruler, but to exclusively realize an image of the physical composition of the Wallachian Impaler and reconstruct the climatic conditions in those he lived.
Now, in fact, technology is able to reconstruct the physical characteristics of a person using only a sample of the genetic code: gender, eye and hair color, complexion, freckles and even some facial features. Some industry experts have explained that they have extracted biochemical traces from a letter signed by Vlad the Impaler on which they were discovered molecules as proteins and metabolites.
These molecules are more stable than DNA – Gleb and Svetlana Zilberstein finally explain to The Guardian – and are able to provide more information on the subject’s environmental conditions, health, lifestyle and diet”
The parchment, on which the two scholars worked, is dated 1475 And it was written by the noble Count of Wallachia to the inhabitants of Sibiu to inform them that he would settle in the city. Scientists have discovered and tested a method to extract genetic material on objects touched by people who disappeared centuries ago together with an Italian professor, Pier Giorgio Righetti of the Milan Polytechnic. It almost seems like a mix between Jurassic Park and The Mummy, but the studio is actually very advanced and manages to produce excellent results. Their first experiment was on the original manuscript of The Master and Margarita by Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov. From the tests it turned out that the writer was forced to use morphine to relieve the pain of a serious pathology, obviously a discovery that was made only thanks to the use of this particular technique.
Now we will have to wait for the results of the tests to find out what state of health the noble Vlad was.
The two experts have been nicknamed “protein detective“, although they prefer the more scientific definition of “historical chemists“, they set themselves the goal of extracting genetic material from the letters written by Vlad Dracula making it clear that the job consists in finding the biochemical traces left from the moment the historical object was created, or was used in this case by Count Vlad.
When we find the “historical biomolecules”, we start analyzing them. That is to determine the molecular composition and age of historical molecules. We mainly determine proteins and metabolites. These molecules are more stable than DNA and provide more information on the environmental conditions, health, lifestyle and diet of the historical person to whom the historical molecules belonged.
The Zilbersteins were born in Kazakhstan and have lived and worked in Tel Aviv, Israel for 26 years. Together with Professor Pier Giorgio Righetti del Politecnico di Milano, have developed the biochemical analysis used to extract proteins from objects touched or worn by long-dead people. After working on the original manuscript de The Master and Margarita they focused on other great writers and characters from the past. After Bulgakov, they indeed dealt with Anton Chekhov analyzing the shirt he died in and his last letter; Chekhov suffered from tuberculosis and used various substances as painkillers, but he died of a stroke. After Chekhov, the investigation moved to the letter of George Orwell in Moscow finding traces of tuberculosis, which he had contracted in Spain.
Now their magnifying glass is on Count Vlad and extraordinary results are expected.
Some references to Count Vlad the Impaler
Meanwhile, it must be remembered that the real name of the prince of Wallachia is Vlad III. It takes the name of Dracula due to his father, Vlad II being a part of the Order of the Dragon, a Christian order similar to the Crusaders who fought against their common enemy, the Ottoman Empire. Vlad II being proud to be a member of the Order of the Dragon decides to be called “Vlad Drago” which in Latin was “draco”, very similar to the word Romanians use for the devil, “dracu”. Also in Romanian mythology the dragon represents the devil, so Vlad II is called by his people Vlad Dracul (devil) not Vlad Drago. To his son, Vlad III, the ending “ea” is added, therefore it becomes Vlad III Draculea very similar obviously to the most famous Dracula. A historical forgery, but easily traceable is the place where Count Vlad belongs. Vlad Tepes the Impaler was the prince of Wallachia in the fifteenth century, descended from the Basarabi family, nicknamed precisely the Impaler.
What binds Vlad Tepes Transylvania is only the birthplace. Vlad was born 1431 in the small town of Sighisoarawhere his family lived temporarily under the protection of the king of Hungary.
But why was he called the Impaler?
Vlad enters Romanian history and mythology, not how Draculabut how Tepeswhat does it mean the Impaler, due to its preferred method of executions. Vlad Tepes had impaled corrupt boyars plotting against him and Wallachian interest, but also Turkish soldiers or other Wallachian enemies. So the popular image that Vlad Tepes has in Romania is that of a popular hero who does everything to defend his country. The Romanian legends about Vlad Tepes talk about a very honest prince, but at the same time ruthless with the dishonestregardless of social class, therefore a folk hero.
His terrible methods of law enforcement fueled the story that in the town square where his castle stood, Dracula had a golden cup placed in plain sight, with no guards or soldiers guarding its integrity.
The Romanian gentleman was so convinced that fear of punishment would discourage any thief. One time impaled an entire army on the road that the Turks had to travel to reach his camp and had the table set among all those mutilated bodies to eat while enjoying the show. So the Vampire Count who could not go out during the day and had superhuman strength with the possibility of transforming himself into various creatures is not really real history, but also his consideration from which it was inspired was not really an angel come down from heaven. And here the skill of an extraordinary writer like Bram Stoker he could transform a character into a myth of gothic literature, a myth that will never die as perhaps the aura of mystery that surrounds Vlad himself.
In one of those large chests – fifty in all – on a freshly dug mound of earth, lay the Count! He was dead, or asleep, I didn’t know – for his eyes were open and still, but without the glassy look of death – his cheeks had the warmth of life in their pallor, and his lips were red as always.