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Erzsébet Báthory

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Erzsébet Báthory
Background information
Birth name Erzsébet Báthory
Also known as The Blood Countess
The Bloody Lady of Čachtice
Born 7 August 1560(1560-08-07)
Nyírbátor, Kingdom of Hungary
Died August 21, 1614(1614-08-21) (aged 54)
Csejte, Kingdom of Hungary (today Čachtice, Slovakia)
Penalty lifelong confinement
Number of victims convicted for: 80,
estimated: over 650[1]
Span of killings 1590–1610
Country Kingdom of Hungary
Date apprehended 30 December 1610

Erzsébet Báthory (Elizabeth Bathory in English; (7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614), was a countess in what is now Transylvania.

She is the most famous serial killer in Slovak and Hungarian history. She was accused of torturing and killing many girls and young women. It is unknown how many women she killed. Her diary supposedly says that there were 650 people that she killed, but there may have been more or less.


She was born in present-day Hungary on August 7, 1560 and died on August 21, 1614 in Čachtice (Hungarian: Csejte) in present-day Slovakia.

She spent her childhood at the Ecsed Castle. At the age of 11, she was forced to be engaged with the fighter Francis Nádasdy. In 1575, she married Nádasdy. In 1578, he became the chief commander of Hungarian troops in their war against the Turks. He was known as a very brave, but also very cruel person.

Nádasdy’s wedding gift to Elizabeth was his home, the Čachtice Castle (situated in the Carpathians in present-day western Slovakia near Trenčín, then part of the Kingdom of Hungary) along with the Čachtice country-house and seventeen nearby towns. The castle itself was surrounded by a peasant village and rolling hills. In 1602, Elizabeth’s husband bought the castle from the emperor Rudolf II, so that it became a property of the Nádasdys. Since battles with the Turks kept her husband away from the castle, Elizabeth became the lady of the castle. It is rare, but not unheard, for historians to claim her husband was ignorant of her crimes.

Elizabeth had six children; however, two of them died at an early age:[source?]

  • Anastasia Báthory, illegitimate daughter (born 1574)
  • Anna Nádasdy (born c. 1585)
  • Katalin (Katherina) Nádasdy (born c. 1594)
  • Miklos
  • Orsolia (Orsika) Nádasdy
  • Paul Nádasdy (1598 - 1650)

Her husband died in 1602.[source?] Her guilt is disputed by some, such as Lazlo Nagy, who says she was victim of a government/church plot. The King of Hungary, it has been pointed out, owed her money. And Count Gyorgy Thurzo, the person who brought her to trial, also stood to gain from downfall, her estates would belong to him in that event.

In 2008 a movie was made about her called Bathory starring Anna Friel. It differs from others in that it takes the stance that she was innocent of the charge of being a serial killer, although she is still portrayed as being cruel.