Dimitrie Cantemir, who reigned for less than one year, as a member of
the Moldavian dynasty founded by his father, Constantin Cantemir, was far more
important as a scholar and savant. Indeed, he influenced the culture of his time
(but only slightly its history). He became, in 1714, a member of the institution that
would later be known as the Academy of Berlin. In this specific intellectual context
he wrote Descriptio Moldaviae, a geographical, political, and historical presentation
of the Moldavian state, and Historia moldo-vlahica, a learned work on the origins
of the Romanians from Moldavia, Muntenia (i.e., Wallachia) and Transylvania.
Interpreting this project as single endeavour with two inseparable facets, these
writings put forward a horizontal, synchronic description of Moldavia as well as a
vertical, diachronic one. The first of them, with an adventurous narrative, includes an
extensive chapter devoted to the geography of the three regions of Moldavia (Inferior
Moldavia, Superior Moldavia, and Bassarabia). That description includes 45 distinctive
settlements, most of them towns and villages (urbes and oppida); these reports are both
written to scientific standards and literarily appealing.