Countess Elizabeth Bathory
was born on the 7th August1560, in Nyribatir, Hungary. While she has several names, those which are
(Slovakian), English historians have chosen to entitle her as
for ease. She died aged 54 in Cesijite Castle, Kingdom of Hungary (today Cachtice, Slovakia), on the 21st August 1614.
Elizabeth was born into renowned Bathory family of Hungarian nobility. Her father was George Bathory, brother of Andrew Bonaventura Bathory, who had been a Voivod of Transylvania. Her mother, Anna Bathroy, was daughter of Stephen Bathory of Somlvo, he has also been a Voivod of Transylvania. Through her mother’s relations, Elizabeth was the niece of Stefan Bathory, Hungarian noble, Duke of Transylvania and King of Poland.
Being raised and born into one of the wealthiest families of the era, it was only expected that as a young woman Elizabeth be exposed to a wide range of literature, arts, music and language. She was fluent in Latin, German and Greek.
In 1574 Elizabeth eloped with a peasant man and became impregnated with his child. However she was engaged to Count Ferenc Nadasdy, most likely through political arrangement, so the pregnancy was kept a secret. Her and Nadasdy were married in May 1575. She bore her first child with him in 1585, a daughter, Anna. She then later in life conceived and gave birth to five more children, two of which died at an early age. Her husband, died in 1604, reportedly from injuries sustained in battle - he was chief commander of Hungarian Troops and led them to war against the Ottomans in 1578. They were married for 29 years.
Elizabeth Bathory and four collaborators were accused of killing and torturing over hundreds of young women and girls over a period of 25 years, 1585-1610. The number of victims to suffer at the hands of her and her accomplices is unknown. Yet the number of killings was estimated to be over 650. It is believed she tortured these poor souls in the cruelest of ways, including beating victims till death, starvation, sexual and physical abuse, performing surgery which often led to victim's death, and biting the flesh of faces, arms and other bodily parts. The countess supposedly drank and bathed in the blood of these victims in order to maintain her youthful appearance, but this was never proven. Elizabeth was never convicted or tried for her crimes. However she was placed under house arrest in 1610. Elizabeth remained imprisoned in a set of rooms in the Cesjte Castle for the remainder of her life. She died there four years later. Due to the number of murders she committed, Elizabeth Bathory has been labeled as one of the most prolific female serial killers in history, and thus earning and being remembered by such titles as the “Blood Countess” and “Countess Dracula.”
Elizabeth Bathory's case has inspired many stories of the 18th and 19th centuries. The idea that she bathed and drank the blood of her victims has played a common role in all works. Elizabeth continues to be shown today in history through music, film, plays and books as her character still serves as an inspiration and influence to artists. The crimes she committed and murders carried out to over 650 young woman and girls will always be remembered. Their family and friends will never forget and neither will history.
1560: Born 7th August in Hungary.
1571: Stephan Bathory, Elizabeth's uncle, assumes the title of Prince of Transylvania.
1574: Becomes pregnant with a peasant man's child.
1575: Marries Count Ferenc Nadasady in May.
1585: Gives birth to first child with Nadasady, a daughter, Anna.
1594: Gives birth to another daughter, Katherine.
1597: Becomes pregnant and gives birth to Nadasady's first son, Paul. Has another boy, Nicholas (date unknown).
1604: Count Ferenc Nadasady dies, apparently from injuries sustained in battle. Aged 47. Married for 29 years.
1610: Hungarian authorities respond to deaths and missing persons reports. Elizabeth Bathory and four of her servants are apprehended on December 30th.
1611: Placed under house arrest during the trials of her servants. Locked in a set of rooms of the Cesjte Castle.
1614: Found dead August 21st. Date of death is unknown.
Map of her life
- Birth place, spent her childhood at Ecesd Castle
- Married Count Ferenc Nadasdy in the Palace of Varanno
- Stayed in Nasdasy Castle in Sarvar while her husband studied in Vienna
- Died in Cesjte Castle. A wedding gift from her husband, spent most of and the remainder of her life there (now in Slovakia, know as Cachtice).
Due to the era of which Elizabeth Bathory lived, the 16th century, there are very few primary sources available on her. From my findings, there are no official records, paintings, or quotes from or about her from the time. The one and only, original painting of her was lost some time in the 1900s and has not been recovered.
(Below left: Picture Credit: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz
Recommended Reading List
The Blood Countess
by Andrei Codrescu - a work of fiction based on historical events. Entertains the reader while providing facts.
- a very detailed website stating in chronological order the sequences of Elizabeth Bathory's life. Ignore spelling and punctuation errors.
- ignore the fact it is a wikipeadia website. A very useful accurate source.
Bathory (2008 film)
- a 138 minute film based on Elizabeth Bathory's life. Watch for entertainment purposes.
- a very informative website. However after looking at other sources, some points are incorrect.
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