As a child, the youngest son of the Moldavian voivode lived as a hostage in Istanbul, where he learned four languages and listened to lectures on history, philosophy, and theology. And when the Turkish sultan appointed him voivode of Moldavia, Kantemir did not start preparations for war with Russia, instead entering into negotiations with Peter the Great about a joint fight against the Ottoman Empire. When this joint fight had failed, Kantemir and his family immigrated to Russia. He participated in Peter's campaigns, but in between military operations pursued research in geography, history, archeology, wrote books on philosophy, history and philology, many of which became classics.
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