Istanbul, October 24th 2019
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, whose mission involves the promotion of intercultural dialogue between the countries situated in the historical space of the Levant, accepted the invitation from the Romanian Cultural Institute in Istanbul to contribute to an international symposium discussing the life and work of Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723, Voivode of Moldova between March-April 1693 and 1710-1711) through a lecture given by Ass. Lect. Florica Mihuț titled Between the Levant and the West – Cultural Meanings and Representations of Space and Time in Cantemir’s Opus, “Descriptio Moldaviae”.
The symposium dedicated to Dimitrie Cantemir, now at its second edition, was organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Istanbul with the support of the University of Istanbul and the Consulate General of Romania. The launch of the event, on October 24th 2019, featured speeches by Dr Nadia Tunsu, PhD, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Istanbul, Professor Mahmut AK, Rector of the University of Istanbul and Her Excellency Ms. Adriana Ciamba, Consul General of Romania to Istanbul. They underlined the important role played by Dimitrie Cantemir in his time, as an avid promoter of the cultural synthesis between the East and the West. The opening ceremony was followed by a short recital by the Istanbul State Conservatory, with pieces written by Dimitrie Cantemir himself.
Held at the Rectorate of the University of Istanbul, the event brought together eight professors and researchers from both Romania and Turkey, who tackled Dimitrie Cantemir’s prolific and diverse activity. Through his education, begun in Moldavia and furthered in Constantinople, the Moldavian ruler – a speaker of eleven different languages – had the opportunity to gain a direct and profound knowledge of a variety of cultures, from ancient Graeco-Roman, Byzantine, Mediaeval European and Russian to Persian, Arabic and Turkish; thus acquiring the status of an erudite savant, recognised through his induction into the membership of the Berlin Academy in 1714.
The topics of the presentations given over the course of the symposium tackled both the historical and cultural context in which Cantemir lived and worked, as well as his remarkable contribution to the fields of literature and music. Cantemir’s modern approach to these arts serve to situate him at the crossroads between Humanist and Enlightenment fields of spiritual creation, while his innovations in the literary sciences, geography, history, music and the political sciences stand testimony to the profundity of his thought and to the eclectic character of his life’s work in equal measure. These aspects were highlighted by the participants’ interventions and the following debates, proving once more both the importance of such personalities for global culture and the great methodological breadth offered to multidisciplinary research through such works of universal scope. The analysis of published materials and unpublished marginalia sourced from the Ottoman archives ensured a level of professionalism befitting the high academic prestige of these endeavours, alongside the remarkable effort of the team of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Istanbul in fostering dialogue between Romanian and Turkish researchers. This symposium is yet another proof of the necessity for continued collaborations in researching those aspects of our shared past that are destined to become real bridges of social and cultural communication towards achieving and consolidating a sustainable peace across the historical space of the Levant.
Professor Bogdan Crețu, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași: “Dimitrie Cantemir – the Western strategies of an “Oriental” savant”.
Professor Namık Sinan Turan, University of Istanbul: “The Portrayal of Dimitrie Cantemir – an Extraordinary Intellectual and Early Modern Orientalist”.
Associated Lecturer Florica Mihuț, Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization: “Between the Levant and the West – cultural meanings and representations of space and time in Descriptio Moldaviae”
Mümin Yıldıztaş, Assistant Director of the Istanbul Culture and Tourism Office: “Material Constraints Suffered by Moldavian Voivodes upon Their Dethronement”
Associated Lecturer Mehtap Demir, Istanbul State Conservatory: “The Book of the Science of the Music of Cantemir and its Value in the Turkish Archives”
Professor Nicolae Gheorghiță, National University of Music in Bucharest: “The Prince’s Ottoman Musics. Notes on Ottoman Musical Practices in Wallachia and Moldavia through the Writings of Dimitrie Cantemir and of His Epoch”
Associated Lecturer Bilen Işıktaş, University of Istanbul: “Kantemiroğlu (Dimitrie Cantemir): At the Dawn of the Enlightenment, an Innovating Maester of Music”
Lecturer Oğuzhan Uç, Technical University of Istanbul: “Dimitrie Cantemir, a European Approach to Turkish Music”