Dimitrie Cantemir – Great Romanian Scholar

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Born on 26th of October 1673, Dimitrie Cantemir was the ruler of Moldavia (Romanian province), in March and April 1693 and between 1710 and 1711. Also, he was philosopher, historian, linguist, Moldavian politician, writer and many more. Descending from a noble family, Cantemir was sent to Constantinople at the age of 15, where he spent 22 years as his father’s pledge, replacing his big brother – Antioh Cantemir.

During his first period of ruling the Romanian province, he was not accredited by Constantinople, so he returned here to continue his studies at the Academy of Ecumenical Patriarchate. When Antioh became Moldavian Prince, Dimitrie was named his ambassador. He was married twice and had 9 children.

The Turks made Cantemir the ruler of Moldavia in 1710, but the Romanian scholar signed a secreat treaty of alliance with Russia, treaty published in German territory. His desire was to liberate the Romanian province from Turks in the name of Ortodhoxism, opposing to Islamism. Jusy after one year as Moldavian leader, he left country for Russia, where he became Peter the Great’s intimate counselor. He started a fruitful scientific activity: got involved in creating the map of Russia, collected many maps written in Latin, tried to establish the concepts of Russian Academy foundation. For all his activity, he was made Prince of Russia.

Being the first Romanian member of the Academy of Berlin (he corresponded with Leibniz) and working for a Mercator system, the great Romanian scholar contributed to developing Romanian history and culture. His published works (the most important: “Hronicul vechimii a romano-moldo-vlahilor”, “Divanul sau Gâlceava înțeleptului cu lumea sau Giudețul sufletului cu trupul”, “Sacrosanctae Scientiae Indepingibilis Imago”, “Istoria ieroglifică”) talk about philosophy, ways to reconciliate science and religion, history and culture. “Istoria ieroglifică” is the first attempt to write a socio-political novel. Another important writing of Cantemir is “Descriptio Moldaviae”, which describes Moldavia from different point of views: its geography, history, latin names of geographical features, politics, language and folklore. Here, Cantemir formed the first map of Moldavia. Further more, “Kitab-i-Musik” is a music book, written in Turkish, which refers to Ottoman religious music, including their first system of musical notation.

He died on 21st of August 1723. In the memory of the great Moldavian scholar, many Romanian educational institutions bear his name, as many boulevards and streets all over the country. Also, his birth place, Silişteni (Fălciu village, Vaslui county)), is nowadays called Dimitrie Cantemir.

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