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Dimitrie Cantemir

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Dimitrie Cantemir (disambiguation).

Dimitrie Cantemir

Portrait of Dimitrie Cantemir from the first edition of Descriptio

Moldaviae (1716)

Native name Dimitrie Cantemir

Born October 26, 1673

Siliteni (now Dimitrie Cantemir), Vaslui County

Died August 21, 1723 (aged 49)

Dmitrovsk, Oryol Oblast

Resting place Three Holy Hierarchs Church, Iai

47935N 27355E

Nationality Romanian

Occupation Encyclopedist, ethnographer, geographer,

philosopher, historian, linguist, musicologist,

Notable work Divanul sau glceava neleptului cu
lumea, Descriptio Moldaviae

Title Prince of Moldavia

Term MarchApril 1693


Predecessor Constantin Cantemir

Nicolae Mavrocordat

Successor Constantin Duca

Lupu Costachi

Spouse(s) Casandra Cantacuzino (m. 1699)

Anastasia Trubetskaia

Children Matei






Parent(s) Constantin Cantemir

Ana Cantemir (ne Banta)[1]

Dimitrie Cantemir in Ottoman dress

Dimitrie Cantemir on a Moldovan stamp

Dimitrie Cantemir on a Sovietstamp (1973)

Dimitrie Cantemir on the 100 Transnistrian ruble bill

A posthumous portrait of Cantemir's second wife, Anastasia Ivanovna, Countess HesseHomburg and
Princess Trubetskaya, by Alexander Roslin(1757).

A portrait of Cantemir's daughter Princess Ekaterina Dmitrievna Golitsyna by Louis-Michel van Loo (1759)
Dimitrie or Demetrius[2][3] Cantemir (Romanian pronunciation: [dimitri.e kantemir] ( listen); 1673
1723), also known by other spellings, was a Moldavian soldier, statesman, and man of letters. He
was twice voivode of Moldavia (MarchApril 1693 and 17101711). During his second term, he
allied his state with Russia in their war against Moldavia's Ottoman overlords; Russia's defeat
forced Cantemir's family into exile and the replacement of the native voivodes by
the Greek phanariots. Cantemir was also a prolific writer, variously
a philosopher, historian, composer, musicologist, linguist, ethnographer, and geographer. His
son Antioch, Russia's ambassador to Great Britain and France and a friend
of Montesquieu and Voltaire, would go on to be known as "the father of Russian poetry".


5Istanbul Museum
6See also
9External links

Dimitrie is the Romanian form of the name Latinized as Demetrius and, less
often, anglicized as Demeter.[3] The Russian form of his name was Dmitri Konstantinovich
Kantemir ( ). He is also known as Dimitri
Kantemirolu in Turkish contexts, Dymitr Kantemir in Polish, and Dmtrios
Kantimrs ( ) in Greek.

Dimitrie was born in Siliteni, Moldavia (now Vaslui County, Romania)[citation needed] on 26 October
1673[3] to Constantin Cantemir and Ana Bant.[citation needed] His elderly father was from
a noble family of Crimean Tatar extraction, which came to Moldavia in the mid-17th century.[3]One
of the explanations for the name "Cantemir" is that it's derived from "Can Temur", meaning "the
blood of Timur", marking a direct descent from the conqueror Tamerlane.[4] His mother was a
learned daughter of a local noble family.[citation needed] In 1685, Constantin was named voivode of
Moldavia by its Turkish overlords.[3]
Although Constantin himself was illiterate, he educated his sons Dimitrie and Antioh thoroughly.
Dimitrie learned Greek and Latin to read the classics as a child. One of his tutors was the
scholar John Komnenos Molyvdos. Between 1687 and 1710, Dimitrie spent most of his time as a
hostage or envoy in Constantinople, living in the palace he owned, where he learned Turkish and
studied Ottoman history at the Patriarchate's Greek Academy.[citation needed] While there, he
also composed Turkish music.[5]
Upon Constantin's death in 1693, Dimitrie briefly succeeded him to the voivodeship but was
passed over within three weeks in favor of Constantin Duca, whose candidacy was supported by
his father-in-law, the Wallachian voivode Constantin Brncoveanu.[6] When his brother Antioh
eventually succeeded to the control of Moldavia, Dimitrie served as his envoy to the Porte.[citation
During these years, he also served with distinction in the Turkish army on its campaigns.[2]
In 1710, Dimitrie was appointed voivode in his own right. Believing Ottoman Turkey to be
collapsing,[2] he placed Moldavia under Russian control through a secret agreement signed
at Lutsk.[citation needed] He then joined Peter the Great in his war against the Turks. This ended in
failure at Stnileti (1822 July 1711) and the Cantemirs were forced into Russian exile.[7] Turkey
then replaced the voivodeship with the rule of Greekphanariots.
In Russia, Dimitrie was created both a Russian prince (knyaz) by Peter and a prince of the Holy
Roman Empire by Charles VI. He lived on an estate at Dmitrovka near Oryol, with a
sizable boyar retinue (including the chronicler Ion Neculce). There he died on 21 August 1723, on
the very day he was awarded his German title. In 1935, his remains were returned to Iai.

Cantemir was married twice: to Princess Kassandra Cantacuzene (16821713), daughter of
Prince erban Cantacuzino and supposed descendant of the Byzantine Kantakouzenoi, in 1699,
and to Princess Anastasia Trubetskaya (17001755) in 1717.
Cantemir's children were rather prominent in Russian history. His elder daughter Maria
Cantemir (17001754) so attracted Peter the Great that he allegedly planned to divorce his
wife Catherine to be with her. Upon Catherine's own ascension to the throne, however, Maria was
forced to enter a convent. Cantemir's son Antioch (17081744) was the Russian ambassador at
London and Paris, a friend of Voltaire and Montesquieu, and so influential a poet, satirist, and
essayist as to be considered "the father of Russian poetry". Another son Constantin (1703
1747) was implicated in the Golitsynconspiracy against the empress Anna and was exiled
to Siberia. Dimitrie's younger daughter Smaragda (17201761), reckoned one of the great
beauties of her time, was the wife of Prince Dmitriy Mikhailovich Golitsyn and a friend of the
empress Elizabeth.

Cantemir was a polyglot known as one of the greatest linguists of his time, speaking and writing
eleven languages. Well versed in Oriental scholarship, his oeuvre is voluminous, diverse, and
original, although some of his scientific writings contain unconfirmed theories or simple
inaccuracies. Between 1711 and 1719 he wrote his most important creations. In 1714, he was
named a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin.
Cantemir's best-known history work was his History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman
Empire [2] (the original title was in Latin, Historia incrementorum atque decrementorum Aulae
Othomanicae[8]). This volume circulated throughout Europe in manuscript for a number of years. It
was finally printed in 1734 in London and was later translated and printed in Germany and
France. It remained the seminal work on the Ottoman Empire up to the middle of the 19th
century; notably, it was used as a reference for Edward Gibbon's own Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire. Later scholarship contests many points owing to the dubiousness of some of
Cantemir's sources.
He also published the first critical history of Romania as a whole,[3] the Chronicle of the Antiquity
of the Romano-Moldavo-Wallachians (Hronicul vechimei a romano-moldo-vlahilor), from 1719 to
1722. It asserted the Latin origin of the Romanian language and the Roman origin of the people
living within the former land of Dacia.[9]
Cantemir composed his Description of Moldavia (Latin: Descriptio Moldaviae)[10] in 1714[3] at the
request of the Royal Academy in Berlin. Covering geographical, ethnographical, and economic
aspects of Moldavia, it was similarly circulated in manuscript and only published much later. It
appeared in a German geographical magazine in 1769 and was published as a book in 1771. His
c.1714 manuscript map of Moldova was the first real map of the country, containing geographical
detail as well as administrative information. Printed in 1737 in the Netherlands, it formed the basis
of most European maps of the country for decades.
A few of Cantemir's roughly forty Ottoman compositions are still performed today as part of the
Turkish repertoire but his greatest service was in preserving 350 traditional instrumental pieces
by publishing them in a musical notation he developed from the Ottoman Turkish alphabet in his
work Edvar-i Musiki, offered as a present to Sultan Ahmed III in 1703 or 1704 and recently
reprinted with modern explanations.[11] In 1999, the Bezmaraensemble recorded Yitik Sesin
Peinde ("In Search of the Lost Sound") from the Cantemir transcriptions using period
instruments.[12] In 2000, Golden Horn Records released Cantemir, a CD exploring his
compositions, his European contemporaries, and the folk music of Moldavia performed by hsan
zgen and the Lux Musica ensemble under Linda Burman-Hall's direction. It features solo
improvisations on the Turkish bowed fiddle (kemene or lut) and the long-necked lute (tanbur)
and was intended to meld early European music styles and instruments with modern Turkish art
music and instruments.[13] Seven of Cantemir's compositions were also featured on Hesprion
XXI's 2009 Istanbul, under the direction of Jordi Savall. The recording and accompanying booklet
focus on Cantemir's Book of the Science of Music, along with the Turkish, Sephardic, and
Armenian musical traditions.[14]
His 1705 roman clef A Hieroglyphic History[15] was the first Romanian novel, representing the
history of the Wallachian Brncoveanu and Cantacuzinodynasties
through allegorical and mythological animals.
He also wrote an introduction to Islam for Europeans, a biography of Jan Baptist van
Helmont,[16] a philosophical treatise in Romanian and Greek,[17][18][19] and an unfinished second
treatise on the Undepictable Image of Sacred Science.[20][21]
Due to his many esteemed works he won great renown at the high courts of Europe. His name is
among those who were considered to be the brightest minds of the world on a plaque at the
Library of Sainte-Genevieve in Paris, next to those of Leibniz, Newton, Piron, and other great

Istanbul Museum[edit]
One of the houses inhabited by Dimitrie Cantemir during his exile in Constantinople was restored
and opened as a museum in 2007.[22] It lies in Fenerquarter of the walled city between Phanar
College and the Golden Horn.

See also[edit]
Cantemir dynasty

1. Jump up^ "Dimitrie Cantemir". Spiritul Cantemirist (in Romanian).
2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d EB (1878).
3. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g EB (1911).
4. Jump up^ Jean Ware Nelson, The Life and the Writings of Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723), Prince
of Moldavia, Stanford University (1955), p. 8
5. Jump up^ Popescu-Judetz (1999).
6. Jump up^ Lemny (2009), p. 51.
7. Jump up^ Stoica (1919), p. 19.
8. Jump up^ Ottoman Historians
9. Jump up^ Moldavian description prefaced by club Mciuca Constantine , Ed. Ion Creanga ,
Bucharest 1978.[clarification needed]
10. Jump up^ Cantemir, Demetrius, Descriptio Moldaviae (in Latin)
11. Jump up^ Kantemirolu, Kitbu 'lmi'l-Msiki al Vechi'l-Hurft, Msikiyi Harflerle Tesbit ve cr
lminin Kitab, Yaln Tura, Yap Kredi Yaynlar, Istanbul 2001, ISBN 975-08-0167-9. (in Turkish)
12. Jump up^ In Search of the Lost Sound (album booklet). Bezmara. Istanbul: Kalan Mzik. 1999.
EAN 8691834003576.
13. Jump up^ Cantemir: Music in Istanbul and Ottoman Europe around 1700 (album booklet). Lux
Musica. Santa Cruz, CA: Golden Horn. 2000.
14. Jump up^ Istanbul - Dimitrie Cantemir (album booklet). Hesprion XXI. Bellaterra: Alia Vox. 2009.
15. Jump up^ Cantemir, Dimitrie, Istoria ieroglific (in Romanian)
16. Jump up^ Cantemir, Demetrius (1709), Ioannis Baptistae Van Helmont Physices Universalis
Doctrine et Christianae Fidei Congrua et Necessaria Philosophia(in Latin), Wallachia
17. Jump up^ Cantemir, Dimitrie (1698), Divanul sau Glceava neleptului cu lumea sau Giudeul
sufletului cu trupul (in Romanian), Iai
18. Jump up^ Cantemir, Demetrius, Le Divan ou La Dispute du Sage avec le Monde ou Le Jugement
de l'me avec le Corps (in French)
19. Jump up^ Cantemir, Demetrius, The Divan or The Wise Man's Parley with the World or The
Judgement of the Soul with the Body
20. Jump up^ Cantemir, Dimitrie (1700), Imaginea tiinei sacre, care nu se poate zugrvi(in
Romanian), Constantinople
21. Jump up^ Cantemir, Dimitrie, Sacrosantae Scientiae Indepingibilis Imago (in Latin)
22. Jump up^ Simina, Stan. "Dimitrie Cantemir are un muzeu n Istanbul". Romanian).
Retrieved 29 July 2014.

Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878), "Demetrius Cantemir", Encyclopdia Britannica, 5 (9th ed.),
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 28
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911), "Cantemir", Encyclopdia Britannica, 5 (11th ed.),
Cambridge University Press, p. 209
Gusterin, Pavel (2008), [The First
Russian Orientalist: Dmitri Kantemir] (in Russian), Moscow, ISBN 978-5-7873-0436-7
Lemny, Stefan (2009), Les Cantemirs: L'Aventure Europene d'une Famille Princire au
XVIIIe Siecle [The Cantemirs: The European Adventure of a Princely Family in the 18th
Century] (in French), Paris: Editions Complexes
Popescu-Judetz, Eugenia (1999), Prince Dimitrie Cantemir, Theorist and Composer of
Turkish Music, Istanbul: Pan Yaynclk, ISBN 975-7652-82-2
Stoica, Vasile (1919), The Roumanian Question: The Roumanians and their Lands,
Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Printing Co.

External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has
media related to Dimitrie

Greek Turkish friendship through music

Marek, Miroslav. "Genealogy of the Cantemir family". Genealogy.EU.

Preceded by Prince/Voivode of Moldavia Succeeded by

Constantin Cantemir 1693 Constantin Duca

Preceded by Prince/Voivode of Moldavia Succeeded by

Nicolae Mavrocordat 17101711 Caimacam Lupu Costachi


The Age of Enlightenment


1027 8805


175 (data)


1673 births
1723 deaths
People from Vaslui County
18th-century Latin-language writers
Dimitrie Cantemir
Enlightenment philosophers
Romanian nobility
Imperial Russian politicians
Early Modern Romanian writers
Members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences
Composers of the Ottoman Empire
Composers of Ottoman classical music
Composers of Turkish makam music
Romanian composers
Romanian historians
Linguists from Romania
Romanian orientalists
Romanian philosophers
Rulers of Moldavia
17th-century Romanian people
18th-century Romanian people
Romanian cartographers
Romanian people of Crimean Tatar descent