“God is behind everything, but everything hides God,” wrote Victor Hugo in his classic “Les Miserables,” Book 5, Chapter 4.
Born Feb. 26, 1802, Victor Marie Hugo was hailed as the greatest of the Romanticist poets. He is best known for writing:
- “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” 1831
- “Cromwell, 1827”
- “Les Miserables,” 1862, an epic story of redemption set in Paris after the French Revolution
Victor Hugo’s father was a general in Napoleon’s army, and Hugo supported his nephew and heir, Napoleon III, until he turned out to be a tyrant. Napoleon III got democratically elected as the president of the Second French Republic, but in 1851 staged a coup d’état and declared himself emperor.
Hugo opposed him, and as a result was forced into exiled for 19 years, living in the Channel Islands in the English Channel. After Napoleon III was forced from power in 1870, Victor Hugo returned to France. Over 3 million people attended Hugo’s funeral in Paris.
Victor Hugo wrote in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” 1831, book 5: “The 15th century everything changes. Human thought discovers a mode of perpetuating itself. … Gutenberg’s letters of lead … supersede Orpheus’s letters of stone. … The invention of printing is the greatest event in history. It is the mother of revolution. … Whether it be Providence or Fate, Gutenberg is the precursor of Luther.”
In his Preface to “Cromwell,” 1827, Victor Hugo wrote: “Lastly, this threefold poetry flows from three great sources – The Bible, Homer, Shakespeare. … The Bible before the Iliad, the Iliad before Shakespeare.”
Victor Hugo stated: “England has two books, the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.”
When Mexico’s leader Benito Juarez captured Maximilian I, Victor Hugo sent a telegram pleading for his life. Juárez refused and had Maximillian shot on June 19, 1867.
Victor Hugo wrote “The Legends of the Centuries” (1859-1876), an epic poem memorializing how Prince Vlad III stopped the Sultan’s Islamic state from invading into Romania. In 1459, the Sultan had been demanding payment from Romanian subjects which included an annual tribute of 500 young boys to be handed over to be put into Muslim pederasty – the sodomy of the Turks. Vlad’s brother Radu had been taken captive and made into a boy-lover of Sultan Murat II’s son, Mehmet II. Radu subsequently converted to Islam and joined the Muslims in invading Romania. Vlad III was made a captive and put in a Muslim prison where he witnessed their torture technique of impalement.
After escaping and returning to Wallachia, Vlad III refused the payment of tribute to the Turks and the handing over of any more boys. In 1461, Vlad led the Romanian army to cross south of the Danube River where they won several victories against the Sultan near the Black Sea. In 1462, the Sultan led 100,000 Muslims into Wallachia. Vlad’s soldiers fought courageously, killing thousands of the Sultan’s men.
One night during the battle, Vlad, who knew the Turkish language, dressed as a Turkish officer and stole into the Sultan’s tent to kill him. The Sultan, suspicious of an attempt on his life, had switched tents allowing another soldier to be stabbed in his place. Outnumbered, Vlad retreated, poisoning the wells and burning his own villages so the invading Muslims would have no food and water.
Muslim warriors pursued, but Vlad escaped capture by nailing the horseshoes on his horse’s hooves backwards, so that when he rode in the snow away from his castle, the pursuing Muslims thought he was riding towards it.
The Muslim Sultan finally reached the capital of Wallachia. Having witnessed Muslim torture techniques, Vlad impaled 20,000 captives near Tirgoviste in what became called the “Forest of the Impaled.” When the Muslim warriors saw this gruesome spectacle, they lost the stomach to fight. Vlad’s successful tactic was to stop the expanding Islamic state by “out terrorizing the terrorists.”
The Sultan’s tactics included bribing some of his enemies to not show up on the day of battle, similar to Mohammed’s tactics at the Battle of the Trench, 627 A.D., or capturing a king’s son as tribute and threatening to kill him if the king showed up on the day of battle. As a result, the Eastern European kings, led by King John of Hungary, formed the Order of St. George of the Dragon Slayer, with the dragon being the Muslim Sultan. Vlad was a member of this order. The Romanian pronunciation of dragon was “dracula.”
Vlad “the Impaler” – a member of the Order of St. George of the Dragon Slayer – did not bite necks or drink blood – that was fabricated by the fiction writer Bram Stoker in his 1897 macabre novel “Dracula.”
Victor Hugo mentioned Vlad the Impaler and Sultan Mourad (son of Murat II) in his epic poem Legend of the Ages, 1859-1883 (translated from French):
From Aden (port in Yemen) and Erzeroum (port in Greece) he (the Sultan) made broad pits,
A mass grave of Modon (city in Greece) overcome, and three clusters of corpses of Aleppo, Bush and Damascus (piles of dead left by Muslims in cities of Anatolia and Syria);
One day, tie of the arc, he took his son for target,
And killed him; (Sultans would kill siblings or sons to eliminate rival claims to power.)
Mourad Sultan was invincible;
Vlad, boyard (prince) of Tarvis, called Beelzebub,
Refused to pay to the Sultan his tribute,
Takes the Turkish embassy (300 soldiers) and all makes it perish
On thirty stakes, planted at the two edges of a road;
Mourad runs, extreme harvests, barns, attics,
The boyard (Vlad) beats, makes him twenty thousand prisoners,
Then, around one immense and black battle field,
Builds a very broad floor out of large stones,
And made in the crenels (openings in stone wall), full with dreadful plaintive cries,
To build and wall the twenty thousand prisoners,
Leaving holes by where one sees their eyes in the shade,
And leaves, after having written on their dark wall:
‘Mourad, mason stone, with Vlad, grower of piles.’
Mourad was believing, Mourad was pious (Muslim);
He burned hundred convents of Christians in Euboea (second largest Greek Island),
Where by chance its lightning was one day fallen;
Mourad was forty years the bright murderer Sabring (killing with a saber) the world, having God under his clamp;
He had Rhamséion (tomb of Ramses in Egypt) and Généralife (Moorish palace in Granada, Spain);
He was the Pasha, the Emperor, the Caliph,
And the priests said: ‘Allah! Mourad is great.’
Victor Hugo’s poem ends, but a historical account is passed down that the Turks eventually killed Vlad, cut off his head and sent it to the Sultan. As Vlad was such a threat to the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan reportedly preserved Vlad’s head in a pot of honey, pulling it out every now and then to make sure he was still dead.
Vlad III’s success in stopping the Ottoman Muslims made him a Romanian national hero, similar to:
- Albania’s Skanderbeg
- Hungary’s John Hunyadi
- Moldova’s Stephen the Great
Victor Hugo remarked: “Courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones, and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
Victor Hugo wrote in “Histoire d’un crime,” 1852: “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”
Ronald Reagan remarked to provincial leaders in Quebec City, Canada, March 18, 1985: “Victor Hugo once observed: ‘No army can stop an idea whose time has come.’ Well, today the tide of freedom is up, lifting our economies ever higher on new currents of imagination, discovery, and hope for our future. … A role for government that is less interventionist … a role that creates a climate in which the entrepreneurial genius of the private sector can do what it does best – namely, create new wealth, new possibilities of employment.”
On Jan. 27, 1988, Ronald Reagan addressed the Reserve Officers Association: “Victor Hugo once said that ‘People do not lack strength; they lack will.’ Well … the American people looked deep into their souls and proved to the world that they still had the will to be free and the courage to carry the torch of liberty. … To these brave young men and women, to whom we owe so much, we restored the pride this country has in those who wear the military uniform of the United States of America.”
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