Kantemir, Dmitrii

Kantemir, Dmitrii Konstantinovich


Born Oct 26, 1673, in Moldavia; died Aug. 21 (Sept. 1), 1723, at the Dmitrovka pomesfe (estate) in Kharkov Province. Scholar and political figure of Moldavia and Russia. Studied at the Constantinople Greco-Latin Academy. Son of the Moldavian hospodar Konstantin Kantemir, he himself became hospodar in 1710.

Kantemir in 1711 concluded a secret treaty of alliance with Peter I against Turkey and for Moldavia’s merger with Russia. Following Peter’s unsuccessful Prut campaign of 1711, Kantemir and 4, 000 Moldavians fled to Russia. Here Kantemir became an adviser to the tsar on eastern questions; he received the title of prince and pomestHa (estates) in the Ukraine. In 1714 he was elected a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and he participated in the Persian campaign of 1722–23.

Almost all of Kantemir’s works were written in Russia and they were greatly influenced by the Petrine reforms. He wrote several historical studies (A Historical, Geographical, and Political Description of Moldavia, Chronicle of the Antiquity of the Roman-Moldavian- Walachians, and History of the Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire) and philosophical works (Metaphysics, Hieroglyphic History, and The Supreme Court, or the Dispute of the Wise Man With the Universe, or the SouVs Lawsuit Against the Body). Patriotism, coupled with a belief that Russia could play a progressive role in the Balkans and that Moldavia would prosper, pervades all his historical works.


Istoriia Moldavskoi SSR, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Kishinev, 1965. Pages 360–62.
Ermuratskii, V. N. Obshchestvenno-politicheskie vzgliady D. Kantemira. Kishinev, 1956.
Istoriia filosofii v SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968. Pages 452–60.