Dimitrie Cantemir on Stamps

Dimitrie Cantemir (also known under his Russian name: Дми́трий Константи́нович Кантеми́р,or his Greek name: Δημήτριος Καντιμήρης, or his Turkish name: Dimitri Kantemiroğlu) was a Moldavian ruler and scholar, living between 1673-1723. His merits show him as a true Renaissance man, having had pioneering contributions in philisophy, history, music composition, linguistics, geography, and ethnography – to name just a few of the fields he was influential in his time for.

He was a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, and published influential works such as a first history of Islam for Europeans, but also a referential history of the Ottoman Empire (in Latin: Historia incrementorum atque decrementorum Aulae Othomanicae; in English: History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire). With his most known work, published in 1714, (in Latin: Descriptio Moldaviae; in English: Description of Moldova) he also made a first map of Moldova which stayed as a reference for the country’s geography up to the 19th century. If this were not enough, he also penned the first novel written in Romanian, A Hieroglyphic History (full title in Romanian: Istoriia ieroglifică în doasprădzece părți împărțită, așijderea cu 760 de sentenții frumos împodobită, la începătură cu scară a numerelor streine tâlcuitoare – in English: A Hieroglyphical History Divided in Twelve Parts, also Containing 760 Skillfully Embellished Sentences, from the Very Beginning Provided with Explanatory Foreign Numerals).

Given Dimitrie Cantemir’s enormous contribution to the world of politics and the sciences, he was a constant presence on the stamps of both Romania and Moldova, where he is still considered an epitome of his times, and a cool-headed, patriotic ruler. An addition to this collection comes from the former USSR. In what follows, we are going to take a look at Dimitrie Cantemir’s presence on stamps.


An early example is this set from 1938. Issued to honor the 6th anniversary of King Charles II’s enrhronement, it features 11 stamps.

Undertitled in Romanian Straja Țării (in English: Sentinnel of the Motherland) and therefore making a direct connection with the youth organization instated by King Charles II to combat legionnaire influences by an equally right-wing and nationalistic movement, the set depicts Dimitrie Cantemir, Maria de Mangop, Mircea the Elder, Constantin Brâncoveanu, Ștefan the Great, A. I. Cuza, Mihai the Valiant, Queen Elisabeth, King Charles II, King Ferdinand, and King Charles I.

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