Protector and spiritual patron of our institution, Dimitrie Cantemir was chosen by the founders because of his extremely complex activity in all fields of knowledge and of his constant efforts of promoting Romanian values and culture abroad.
Scholar and statesman Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723) was the famous representative of Romanian humanism and enlightenment in the 17th and 18th century.
Promoter of Romanian culture and space, Dimitrie Cantemir described Moldavia having in view its Latin and Roman cultural and spiritual inheritance. His vast cultural background, his aristotaelic conception, enables Cantemir to look upon the world in a coherent way.
Dimitrie Cantemir stands among other scholars like Doroftei, Ion Neculce or Antim Ivireanul. But his ability to assert the Moldavian spirit during a quasi permanent exile is quite singular. Acquiring European recognition, Cantemir was elected member of the Berlin Academy on the 11th of June 1714, though he continued to make himself known as a Romanian author.
The “memory” of the history presents us Cantemir especially from his position as the brilliant ruler of Moldavia, through his long exile didn’t decrease his merits as a distinguished scientist. As a young man, heshowed interest in philosophy, music, literature, as a mature person he inclined to science: the history of religions, geography and history. The scientific writings show him as a lucid, rigorous researcher.
But who is Dimitrie Cantemir? Born on the 26th October 1673 in Silisteni, Falciu region, son of Constantin Cantemir he received during his childhood and teen age, the usual education given to youngsters belonging to Romanian aristocracy, such as the learning of Latin, Greek and Slavonic languages, notions of Theology and “literal arts”, practice with fighting and hunting weapons. He was said to be a young man surrounded by books and weapons. In the frame of the European culture of the 18th century, the Romanian scholar Dimitrie Cantemir had a leading place due to his fame as an Orientalist. His name was known and respected in the scientific society of the continent, and he remained for a century the most important authority on Turkish history. The complexity of his work and writings, cover such fields as philosophy and logical science, history and geography, literature, music, ethics and theology, as well as a medicine treaty written in old Latin. After three centuries, Dimitrie Cantemir’s name is still present in Romanian and universal culture. Famous European minds such as Voltaire in “The History of Charles the 12th”, Byron in “Don Juan” and even Victor Hugo praised Dimitrie Cantemir’s merits. His name is written on the frontispiece of the Sainte-Genevieve Library in Paris, a French “temple of fame”.
His writings representthe climax of a cultural era.
Dimitrie Cantemir died at the age of 50on the 21 August 1723 at the estate which he had been given by the Russian Tsar for his services, a place called Dimitrievka. His remains were brought in Romania, in 1935 and were buried in the “Trei Ierarhi” Church in Iasi.
On his tombstone the following words were engraved: “Here lies Dimitrie Cantemir ruler of Moldavia who, returned from a long and difficult exile, endured for the liberty of his country”.