Here's the first in a series of historical portraits I'm doing, entitled 'History's Bad Asses'. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Vlad The Impaler
Before he was the basis for Bram Stoker's Dracula, Vlad Tepes was christian Europe's frontline defense against the expanding power of the Muslim Turks, who in 1453, had just recently toppled the ancient Byzantine empire. Fleeing a Turkish advance, Vlad engaged in a scorched earth policy as he retreated, at one point leaving a field of impaled bodies to greet the oncoming Mohammed II. When confronted with the scene, Mohammed is said to have remarked in horror, "What can one do against a man who does these things?". Vlad is also said to have dined, on occasion, in the presence of his impaled victims.