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300 Years of Romanian–German Relationship in Science

Symposium of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the Romanian Academy and the Embassy of Romania in the Federal Republic of Germany

December 16th, 2014
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The historian, composer and statesman Dimitrie Cantemir (1973–1723), Prince of Moldova, was one of the greatest universal scholars of his time. He was the first author of the history of the Ottoman Empire and was also a diplomat, senator and advisor of Tsar Peter I. Cantemir mastered eleven languages and took part in Europe’s intellectual history in a unique way. He transported the knowledge of Eastern culture to the West. In 1714 he became a member of the Prussian Royal Society of Sciences in Berlin, which was established on the initiative of Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz in 1700. On the occasion of the 300th jubilee of Cantemir’s membership, a symposium is being held to discuss his contributions to science and culture.

Opening the symposium, audience members had the chance to listen to some of Cantemir’s compositions performed by Ensemble Imago Mundi. Günter Stock, President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and President of ALLEA (All European Academies) then gave an opening address.

Ionel-Valentin Vlad, the President of the Romanian Academy, presented Cantemir highlighting the fact that it is hard to find a mutual European identity. Nonetheless Cantemir played an important role in proving this wrong through his work. In particular, Catemir was recognised for the importance of his work in music and his contribution to Romanian literature. Cantemir wrote the first Romanian novel as well as his most famous work “Descriptio Moldaviae”. Cantemir’s works have also been translated into German and are available at the Library of the Academy.

The symposium went on to describe Cantemir’s relation with the Russian Tsar and how he fought against the Ottoman Empire for the Russians. Furthermor his works in ethics, logics, philosophy, music, geography, stylistics, anthropology and that Cantemir united the ancient Greek talents were also highlighted.

The audience then welcomed H.E. Lazăr Comănescu, Ambassador of Romania to Germany as the next speaker. The Ambassador spoke about the cooperation in Europe’s scientific world and the fact that Cantemir contributed significantly to the dialogue between the cultures of Europe.

The next speaker was Gheorghe Duca, President of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. Mr Duca talked about how the center of Cantemir’s work is the human being. The scientist was consequently presented as a humanist, scholar, orientalist scientist and politician. Ionel Haiduc, former President of the Romanian Academy, then took the stage to discuss the Moldovan Prince as the first Romanian scientist recognized on a European level. This demonstrated the importance to Cantemir’s work in the fields of literature, culture, science and religion.

Member of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest and Honorary President of the Department of History and Archeology, Dan Berindey then gave a lecture titled “The European Cantemir”. The lecture focussed on Cantemir’s professional life, in particular the arts, linguistics, religion and music.

Professor Wenchao Li from the Berlin–Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Leibniz University of Hannover spoke about the relation between Cantemir and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz in his speech titled “Leidbniz and Eastern-Europe”. His lecture covered how Leibniz always mentioned Europe as one single unit and how he never talked about regions in Europe in his works. Professor Li also mentioned the great network that Cantemir had, estimated around 1500 personal acquaintances all around Europe. In addition, Prof. Li also spoke about Cantemir’s international and global work and the fact that this work had reached even China in the Far-East.

The final lecture entitled “The Logic of Cantemir” was given by Alexandru Surdu, Vice-President of the Romanian Academy. The Vice-President presented the works of Cantemir in Logics and Philosophy with details about the science of logics. The lecture was followed by a panel-discussion.

A representative of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Chișinău, replacing the Director of the Institute for Cultural Heritage, Victor Ghilaș, then gave a speech about “The Theoretical System of the Turkish Classical Music in the Concept of Dimitrie Cantemir.”

As the last speaker, Ute Tintemann discussed the origins of the Romanian language. The discussion demonstrated a parallel between the origin of the language and the nation and this was presented by Romania’s development throughout history.

Finally after a further panel discussion, the event ended with the “Ensemble Imago Mundi” playing additional pieces written by Cantemir.

The event was held on Friday, December 12th at the Home of the Berlin–Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.

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