Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, was a member of the House of Dr��cule��ti, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known by his patronymic name: Dracula. He was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler, and was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was founded to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romanian population both south and north of the Danube. A significant number of Romanian and Bulgarian common folk and remaining boyars moved north of the Danube to Wallachia, recognized his leadership and settled there following his raids on the Ottomans. As the cognomen 'The Impaler' suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation. During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread abroad, to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula was inspired by Vlad's patronymic.