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Elizabeth Báthory: The Blood Countess

Elizabeth Báthory: The Blood Countess

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Lady Bathory - All about the 16th century countess and murderer of 600 girls, who could have been Count Dracula's lover
Lady Bathory - All about the 16th century countess and murderer of 600 girls, who could have been Count Dracula's lover

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Published by: Debkanya Dhar Vyavaharkar on Jul 08, 2010
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Elizabeth Báthory
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Erzsébet/Elizabeth Báthory
Background informationAlso known as:
The Blood CountessThe Bloody Lady of achtice
Born:
17 August 1560 Nyírbátor ,Hungary 
 
Died:
August 21, 1614 (aged 54)Csejte,Kingdom of Hungary(today achtice,Slovakia)
 
KillingsSpan of killings:
1590±1610
Country:
Hungary
Date apprehended:
30 December 1610
 
The native form of this personal nameis
ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet 
. This article uses theWesternname order .
 
Countess Elizabeth Báthory deEcsed
(
thory Erzsébet 
inHungarian,
 Albeta
toriov 
á
inSlovak, 17 August 1560 ± 21 August 1614) was acountessfrom the renownedBáthoryfamily. Although in modern times she has been labeled the most prolificfemaleserial killer in history, evidence of her alleged crimes is scant and her guilt is debated.Nevertheless, she is remembered as the "Blood Countess" and as the "Bloody Lady of achtice",after the castle near Trencsén(today Trenín) in theKingdom of Hungary(today'sSlovakia), where she spent most of her adult life. After her husband's death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturingand killing hundredsof girls and young women, with one witness attributing to them over 600 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80.
[1]
Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610,however, she was imprisoned in theCsejte Castle, where she remained bricked in a set of roomsuntil her death four years later.Later writings about the case have led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons withVlad III theImpaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictionalCount Draculais partly based, and to modern nicknames of 
the
B
lood Countess
and
Countess Dracula
.
Life
[edit
 
]
Early years
Elizabeth Báthory was born on a family estate inNyírbátor ,Hungaryon August, 17th, 1560, and spent her childhood atEcsedCastle. Her father was George Báthory of the Ecsed branch of the family, brother of Andrew Bonaventura Báthory, who had beenVoivod of Transylvania, while her mother was AnnaBáthory (1539±1570), daughter of Stephen Báthory of Somlyó, another Voivod of Transylvania, was of  the Somlyó branch. Through her mother, Elizabeth was the niece of Stefan Báthory, King of Poland   As a young woman she learnedLatin,GermanandGreek.
[2]
She was also interestedinscienceandastronomy.
[
citation needed 
 
]
 [edit]
M
arried life
Elizabeth was engaged to Ferenc Nádasdy, in what was probably a political arrangement within thecircles of the aristocracy. The couple married on May 8, 1575, in the little palace of Varannó. There were
 
approximately 4500 guests at the wedding. Elizabeth moved to Nádasdy Castle inSárvár and spentmuch time on her own, while her husband studied inVienna.Nádasdy¶s wedding gift to Báthory was his home,Csejte Castle, situated in theLittle Carpathiansnear  Trenín, together with the achtice country house and 17 adjacent villages. The castle itself wassurrounded by a village and agricultural lands, bordered by outcrops of theLittle Carpathians. In 1602,Nádasdy finally bought the castle fromRudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor , so that it became a privateproperty of the family.In 1578, Nádasdy became the chief commander of Hungariantroops, leading them to war against theOttomans. With her husband away at war, Elizabeth Báthory managed business affairs and the estates.That role usually included providing for theHungarianandSlovak peasants, even medical care. During the height of theLong War (1593-1606), she was charged with the defense of her husband'sestates, which lay on the route toVienna.
[2]
The threat was significant, for the village of achtice hadpreviously been plundered by the Ottomans whileSárvár , located near the border that dividedRoyal HungaryandOttoman occupied Hungary, was in even greater danger. She was an educated woman who could read and write in four languages.
[2]
There were severalinstances where she intervened on behalf of destitute women, including a woman whose husband wascaptured by the Turks and a woman whose daughter wasrapedand impregnated.In 1585, Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Anna. A second daughter, Ursula, and her first son, Andrew,both died at an early age. After this, Elizabeth had three more children, Katherine (born in 1594), Paul(born around 1597) and Miklós.
[3]
All of her children were cared for by governesses as Elizabeth hadbeen.Elizabeth's husband died in 1604 at the age of 47, reportedly due to an injury sustained in battle. Thecouple had been married for 29 years.[edit
 
]
 Arrest
edit  ] 
Early investigation
Between 1602 and 1604,Lutheranminister István Magyari complained about atrocities both publicly andwith the court inVienna, after rumors had spread.
[4]
 The Hungarian authorities took some time to respond to Magyari's complaints. Finally, in 1610,KingMatthiasassigned György Thurzo, thePalatine of Hungary, to investigate.Thurzoordered two notaries to collect evidence in March 1610.
[5]
Even before obtaining the results,
[6]
Thurzó debated further proceedings with Elizabeth's son Paul and two of her sons-in-law. A trial and execution would havecaused a public scandal and disgraced a noble and influential family (which at the timeruled

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