Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723)

Dimitrie Cantemir

1673 On the 26th of October, author, scholar, encyclopaedist, ethnographer, geographer, philosopher, historian, politician, writer and the ruler of Moldavia, Dimitrie Cantemir, was born, the second son of cavalry commander Cantemir, the future leader Constantine Cantemir, and of Ana, born Bantas. His father originated from a family of yeomen of Falciu land, and his mother, an honourable and cultured woman, Lady Anastasia’s niece, wife of Voievode Ducas.

The future scholar got the name of his godfather, the leader of the country at that time, Dumitrasco Cantacuzino.

Metropolitan Dosoftei, conscious of the need to introduce Romanian language within church, typed at Uniev, “Psalter in lines”

1678 Antioh and Dimitrie Cantemir’s mother died. Gheorghe Ducas, who was leading Moldavia for the third time, sent Cantemir as a representative (capuchehaie) of him next to the High Gate.

1685 On the 15th of June, helped by Serban Cantacuzino, ruler of Walachia, Cantemir came on Moldavia’s throne as Constantine.

Voievode’s sons’ education was entrusted to scholar Jeremiah Cascavelas. Dimitrie studied Greek, Latin and Slavonic.

Interested in Romanian people’s origin and in Roman element’s continuity in Dacia, Miron Costin wrote: “The Moldovan nation, the country their ancestors came out from”.

1688 Dimitrie was sent by his father in the capital of Ottoman Empire. There he studied at Orthodox Patriarchate Academy with teachers that were famous by their knowledge and piety. He got in contact with classical literatures and neo-Aristotelian philosophy, fact that substantially contributed to his spirit guiding or to his scientific concerns. In parallel with Greek, Latin, Slavonic knowledge deepening, the young prince learnt Turkish, Arabian and Persian and he was deeper into the history, folklore and Turkish music, this becoming our first orientalist.

“Bible from Bucharest” was typed, by the care of Serban Cantacuzino, a very important moment for our literary language development.

On the 26th of October, Serban Cantacuziono died and the throne of Walachia was taken over by his nephew, Constantine Brancoveanu, an enemy of Cantemir family.

1690 Hoping to a favourable situation in order to get out the country from Turkish occupation, Constantine Cantemir concluded a secret treaty of alliance at Sibiu between Moldavia and Court from Vienna.

1691 This summer, Ioan Sobieski, King of Poland, entered Moldavia with his army and occupied the Northern side of this. Neamt Fortress, defended by few soldiers, faced to the enemy a brave resistance that became legendary.

By Constantine Cantemir’s order, Costin brothers, hetman Velicico and scholar Miron were accused by betrayal and beheaded. When Velicico was executed, prince Cantemir assisted as he had just returned in the country. After that, the Voievode regretted very much this thoughtless fact, staged by Iordache Ruset. From this moment, Ruset group held the true power of Moldavia.

1693 On the 13th of March, Constantine Cantemir died. The noblemen chose Dimitrie for the throne of the country but he did not receive Ottoman Gate approval (because of the cabals and of the money of Brancoveanu) and retook, only after three weeks of reign, Constantinople road.

1695 After Constantine Duca’s deposed, Antioh Cantemir took over Moldavia’s throne, who led until 1700, in autumn. Dimitrie became his representatie to the Ottoman Gate.

1679 At Zenta, our prince assisted to catastrophic defeat of Turkish armies by the Austrian ones led by Eugen de Savoia.

1698 Cantemir’s first work appeared at Iasi, in Greek and Romanian: “Divan or the Quarell of the Wise with the World” or “Soul and Body Judgement”.

1699 Dimitrie, who came for a short time in the country, married Casandra, Serban Cantacuzino’s daughter. The taught to occupy the throne of Walachia, that was not alien to him, thus acquired a more thorough justification. So, Brancoveanu’s hatred and fears reached their maximum.

1700 Antioh Cantemir was deposed because of money and plots and Constantine Duca replaced him. Together with his family, Dimitrie moved to Istanbul, in the house that had been built according to his plans.

Antim of Iberia typed at Snagov “Gifts Flower”. Academy of Science in Berlin was established.

1700-1705 During this period of intense spiritual effervescence, Cantemir wrote the following works: “Sacrosanctae scientiae indepingibilis imago” (Impossible Painting of Sacred Science Image”), “Compendi olum universae logices institutionis” (“Compendium of General Logic System”), “Ioannis Baptistae van Helmont”, “Physices universalis doctrina” (“General Teaching about I. B. van Helmont about General Physics”), “Tarifu ilmi musiki ala vegni maksus” (“Brief Explanation of Music Theory”) and “Hieroglyphic History”, that mark the passing from speculative concerns to those that are strongly social and political.

1703 After Constantine Duca’s deposed, Mihai Racovita, helped by Rusetesti family and by Brancoveanu, became Prince of Moldavia.

1705 Antioh Cantemir ascended the throne for the second time. Pursuing to ward of Rusetesti, the Prince tried to make peace with Costin family appointing Nicolae Costin, chronicler’s son, as great governor. The relationship between the two brothers, Antioh and Dimitrie, became very cold.

1709 Russian army, led by Petru the Great, obtained a resounding victory at Poltava against Swedish troops, managed by Carol XII.

1719 On November Dimitrie Cantemir was ascended Prince of Moldavia. Ion Neculce was his fiduciary.

1711 On April, at Luck, between Moldavia and Russia an alliance treaty was established. According to this, Russia was committed to help Cantemir on his fight to remove Turkish suzerainty.

On the 20th of May, by a proclamation to the country, Cantemir called Moldavian people to take up arms against Turkish domination.

In the evening of June, 23, Tsar Peter the Great came to Iasi, where he was welcomed by noblemen and common people.

During Stanilesti battle (June, 8-12), Turkish people defeated allied Russian-Romanian troops. Together with those that were faithful to him, Dimitrie Cantemir moved to Russia, to Harkov land. Tsar gave him the title of Too Bright Prince of Russia.

1713 Dimitrie’s wife, Cassandra, died when she was only thirty years old.

1714 Dimitrie Cantemir was chosen as member of Academy in Berlin.

On the 15th of August, Constantine Brancoveanu and his four sons were beheaded by Sultan Ahmed III’s order.

1714-1716 During this period, extremely prolific from scientific and literary point of view, Cantemir wrote: “Monarhiarum physica examination” (Natural Interpretation of Monarchies”), “Descriptio Moldaviae” (“Moldavia’s Description”), “Incrementa atque decrement aulae othomanicae” (“Ottoman Court Increasing and Decreasing”), “Vita Constantini Cantemyrii” (“Constantine Cantemir’s Life”) and “Mohammedan Religious System”.

1717 He started to work his scholarly writing, “Chronicle of the Romanian-Vlahos-Moldavian Age”, within history of all Romanians is reviewed in a universal context.

1719 Dimitrie married againt to Moscow, to the young princess, Anastasia Trubetkoi and had as godparents the Tsar and the Czarina.

1721 On the 20th of February, by an ukaz of Peter the Great, Cantemir was ascended secret counsellor and member of Senat.

1722 As a specialist of Orient’s problems, Dimitrie accompanied the Tsar in his campaign again Persia.

1723 On the 21st of August, Dimitrie Cantemir died.

1769-1770 “Beschreibung der Moldau, in A. F. Buching’s Magazin fur die neue Historie und Geographie”, 2 vol., Hamburg.

1771 “Historisch-geografisch und politische Beschreibung der Moldau, nebst dem Leben des Verfassers und eine Landkarte, Frankfurt und Leipzig” appeared.

1789 “Istoricescoe, geograficeskoe I politiceskoe opisanie Moldavii vijzni socinitelia, snemetkogo perevel Vasilii Levsin” appeared at Moscow.

1825 “Moldavia’s Letter” appeared, by Dimitrie Cantemir, its Prince (translated by Governor Vasile Varnav), “Neamt Monastery”.

1851 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared. Presentation of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir’s Life byCostache Negruzzi. Edition II, Iasi.

1868 “Moldavia’s Letter” appeared (Reprinted in 1868 by T. Boldur Latescu), Iasi.

1872 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared (translated by A. Papiu Ilarian and Iosif Hodos) within “Prince Dimitrie Cantemir’s Works”, typed by Romanian Academic Society, vol. I, II, Bucharest.

1909 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared within “Library for All”, no. 507, Bucharest. “Moldavia’s Description” (with an introductory note by Miron Niculescu), within “Socec Library”, no. 10-11, Bucharest.

1923 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared. Translation of the Latin original, after 200 years from the author’s death, by Giorge Pascu, Bucharest, 1923; Edition II, completed and reviewed with index, Bucharest, 1938.

1942 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared (translation by Gh. Adamescu), Bucharest.

1956 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared (translation by P. Pandrea with a foreword by academician C.I Gulian), E.S.P.L.A. “Library for All”, Bucharest, 1956; reprints of the same translation in 1961, 1965, 1967, 1973, 1976, 1981.

1973 “Moldavia’s Description” appeared (translation on the original Latin by Gh. Gutu.Introduction by Maria Holban. Historical review by N. Stoicescu. Mapping study by Vintila Mihailescu. Index by Ioana Constantinescu. With an edition notice by D. M. Pippidi), Romanian Academy Publishing Company, Bucharest.[1]




    1. http://www.ro.biography.name/scriitori/8-romania/40-dimitrie-cantemir-1673-1723


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