Born in the Ottoman Principality of Wallachia, Romania in 1435 AD, he was known as Radu al III-lea cel Frumos to his Romanian countrymen, Yakışıklı Radu Bey to the Turks, Radu al-Wasim to the Arabs, and Radu the Handsome in English. This ally and childhood friend of Sultan Mehmet II was instrumental in the conquest of Constantinople for Islam. Radu’s participation in that conquest ensured that Mehmet II would go down in history as “Fatih,” or “Conqueror.”
Radu was the Ottomans’ secret weapon against the Safavids to the East and the Serbs, Romanians and Hungarians to the West. The Muslim world owes much to this hero of Islam, yet they recorded little other than cursory references to him, perhaps for fear of taking away from Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s limelight. The Byzantines recorded Radu as a reviled despot due to their hatred for his conversion to Islam and instrumental role in ending the Byzantine Empire.
Yet, this Ottoman general had a greater war, a war against darkness. He hunted the very progenitor of the vampire legend who impaled his enemies and drank their blood – Vlad al III-lea Ţepeş, also known as Vlad Drăculea, who would go down in infamy as, simply, Dracula. The character of Professor Abraham Van Helsing was no more than a figment of Bram Stoker’s terrifying imagination, but Sultan Mehmet II and Radu cel Frumos were perhaps the first and only true vampire hunters in history.
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