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50 lei 2003
330th Anniversary of the Birth of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir
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30 mm diameter, 16.5 g, 92.5% silver, flat edge
year 2003, circular inscription REPUBLICA MOLDOVA meaning "REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA" and the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldavia, in exergue denomination "50 LEI"
the effigy of prince Dimitrie Cantemir, at left years 1673 and 1723, at right a feather and a sheet of paper with the inscription "Descriptio Moldaviae" meaning "Description of Moldavia", below the inscription "DIMITRIE CANTEMIR" between two small rhombi

The coin was struck at the Romanian State Mint, having a mintage of 500 pieces. The pictures of this coin are present on Romanian coins through the special kindness of Mr. Yu_L.Yan.

Dimitrie Cantemir also appears on a gold coin issued by the Republic of Moldavia: 100 lei 2008 and on a set issued by the National Bank of Romania: 1 leu, 5 lei and 100 lei 2007.


About Dimitrie Cantemir

Dimitrie Cantemir was born at Iași in 1673, being son of Constantin Cantemir (ruler of Moldavia between 1685 and 1693) and brother of Antioh Cantemir (ruler of Moldavia between 1695 and 1700, and also between 1705 and 1707). Dimitrie himself ruled over Moldavia some weeks after the death of his father (he failed to obtain the confirmation of the rulership from the Porte) and almost nine months in 1710 - 1711.

He studied in Moldavia with the Greek teacher Ieremia Cacavela, then at the Patriarchal Academy of Constantinople (during the time he was kept hostage at the Porte, as a guaranty of his father's loyalty to the Sultan).

He was a skillful politician. From 1695 until 1700, when his brother Antioh Cantemir ruled, Dimitrie was capuchihaie - the representative of the ruler of Moldavia at the Porte. He heavily contended with the Brancovenian party (of Walachia) in many diplomatical disputes.

He allied himself with Peter the Great of Russia. At the times Russia emerged as grand European power and was in full expansion. The king of Sweden had just been defeated at Poltava by the Russians and had taken refuge in the Turkish raya [raya - territory ruled directly by the Turks, but with non-Muslim subjects] of Tighina (therefore on the Moldavian territory seized by the Turks in the times of prince Peter Rareș). Dimitrie signed with Peter the Great at Luck in 1711 a treaty that was granting Moldavia its independence, thus recognized by the more and more powerful neigbour to the east. The rulership of Moldavia was to be hereditary, and the prince always chosen from inside the Cantemir family. This treaty was meant to become very useful provided Peter the Great had succeded in ousting the Turks from Europe.

Dimitrie lost Moldavia subsequently to the Turkish victory over the Russian and Moldavian army at Stănilești on river Prut. After the reign of Dimitrie Cantemir the Phanariote epoch of the Romanian history is appreciated of having begun.

After Stănilești Dimitrie went to Russia as a personal friend of Peter the Great and prominent figure in his suite. Prince Dimitrie became "most serene prince of Russia", then "secret counselor and member of the Senate".

The literary works of prince Dimitrie Cantemir

Great polyglot and Humanist, Dimitrie Cantemir was elected in 1714 member of the Academy of Berlin. His first published work - in 1698 (Romanian and Greek editions), at Iași - was "Divanul sau gîlceava înțeleptului cu lumea sau giudețul sufletului cu trupul" (Divan or Wise Man's Parley with the World or Argument of the Soul with the Body; divan is the state council at some Oriental nations, or council chamber). The best known works of Dimitrie are "Incrementa atque decrementa aulae othomanicae" (History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire), "Descriptio Moldaviae" (Description of Moldavia), "Hronicul vechimei a romano-moldo-vlahilor" (Chronicle of the Ancientness of the Roman-Moldavian-Vlachs) and "Istoria ieroglifică" (Hieroglyphical History).

The literary works of the great erudite prince Dimitrie Cantemir did not have the expected influence upon his contemporary Romanians. Due to the wickedness of times, "Descriptio Moldaviae" was published in Romanian only in 1825, and the "Hieroglyphical History" only around 1900.

An essay of 50 lei 2003

The pictures of the tombac essay below are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. J. Ardelean.

30 mm diameter, 15.4 g, tombac, flat edge  

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