Recent research into the life of Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure who inspired Dracula, sheds light on a surprising aspect of his dietary choices. While Vlad III, the 15th-century prince of Wallachia (now part of Romania), is infamous for his cruelty, a study of his letters suggests a potential vegetarian lifestyle.
Vlad III, known for his brutal methods of execution, was responsible for the deaths of thousands. However, his letters from 1457 and 1475 have revealed an unexpected aspect of his life.
The Proteomics Discovery:
Using proteomics, a technique for analyzing proteins adhered to ancient documents, researchers examined Vlad’s letters. They found no traces of animal proteins, indicating that Vlad might have abstained from consuming meat.
The Study’s Findings:
In a study published in ACS Analytical Chemistry, the researchers noted, “We characterized about 500 peptides, of which about 100 peptides were certainly of human origin. Peptides related to blood proteins or coming from proteins involved in the respiratory system were identified in all the documents characterized.”
Tears of Blood:
Vlad’s letters also suggested he may have had hemolacria, a condition in which tears contain blood. The researchers speculated that Vlad’s reputation for “crying tears of blood” might have a biological basis.
Other Health Discoveries:
The study also unveiled signs of ciliopathy, a genetic disorder, as well as retinal and inflammatory diseases in Vlad’s letters. These findings provide further insight into his health.
The absence of animal food proteins in Vlad’s letters could be due to the scarcity of meat during his time or his poor health, rather than a conscious choice.
Intriguingly, this research adds a new dimension to the complex historical figure of Vlad the Impaler, raising questions about his dietary preferences and health.