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Vlad III, the Prince of Wallachia, was born sometime between 1428 and 1431, probably in Sighişaora, Transylvania. His patronymic, ‘Dracul’, means Dragon, derived from the membership of his father, Vlad II Dracul, in the Order of the Dragon, an order of chivalry for the defence of Christianity in Eastern Europe against the Ottomans, so the young Vlad became known as Dracula, or “son of Dragon”. The exact date, cause, and location of Vlad’s death is unknown, but is believed to have taken place between October and December 1476, when he disappeared in battle. It is known, however, that his head was taken to Constantinople as a trophy. His daughter Maria was meanwhile brought to the Neapolitan court, whose ruling family was allied with her own family, where she was adopted and eventually married to a Neapolitan nobleman.
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