| Iron Blood - (About Dmitri Kantemir Dynasty )|
The story begins in 2005. A couple travel to Istanbul on a tour. As a favor to one of their friends, they take a side trip to the old Ferner district of Istanbul to locate any relics of Prince Dmitri Kantemir. The search brings them to the ruins of Dmitri’s palace. Only a set of white double doors on the upper floors are intact. The couple, notice a dirty plaque on a nearby wall. They take a scarf to wipe away the overgrown ivy from the plague. A white mist appears – Prince Dmitri is running through the white double doors, down the elaborate staircase in an unscathed palace. He has a tanbur in hand and is going to play for the Sultan at a farewell dinner. We are transposed to 1700 Istanbul.
A spectacular dinner with Sultan Ahmed II (tulip sultan) at Topkapi Palace signifies Prince Dmitri’s return to Moldavia after 22 years. Prince Dmitri, an accomplished composer of Turkish music plays a final tune for the Sultan.
Once in Moldavia, along with Prince Brancovan of neighboring Wallachia, they join forces with Peter the Great against the Ottomans. The battle is lost, Dmitri flees to Russia. Brancovan and his four sons are taken back to Istanbul as hostages by the notorious ninja like Tchohodars. Five months later in the Yedikule Fortress and on Brancovans 60th birthday they are beheaded.
In Russia, Prince Dmitri and his family live on their estate, “Chornaya Graz” or Tzaritsyno as now known. Dmitri immerses in his writings, construction of his Neva River Palace in St. Petersburg, and accompanying Peter the Great to war against the Persians near Astrakhan. Maria Kantemir and Peter the Great’s love affair produce a baby boy who dies after birth, killed by a doctor who was bribed by Catherine I (Peter’s wife) in Astrakhan. Antiockh continues his writings and studies at the Academy of Sciences. Czar Peter, upset with Catherine deletes her from his will. Dmitri’s dies in 1723 and Peter the Great in 1724, both without naming a heir. Peter on his death bed could only muster, “give all to....” and died. Give all to whom? Many think Maria, many think his daughter Elizabeth. History has another answer.
Maria temporarily leaves courtyard life after the death of Peter and Dmitri. She corresponds with her brother Antioch who becomes Russia’s first satirist writer and ambassador to England and then France. In London he makes an intimate circle of friends, the castrato singer Farinelli, the painter Jacopo Amigoni and in France’ Voltaire. After Antiock’s untimely death in Paris, Maria has his remains returned to Russia.
Two months after completing her will, Maria is killed in a carriage accident. Her brothers do not follow her instructions to donate her money to a monastery and divide it among them for the further beautification of Chornaya Graz.
The last surviving Kantemir, Sergei, developed a gambling problem. It was only through the intervention of Catherine the Great that he was able to get out of debt. He sold Chornaya Graz to her in 1775 which concluded their life in the 16th century, but not their mystery and intrigue which flowed into the 20th century and a new frontier – America.
Learning of her friends finds in Istanbul, causes Ella to reminisce of a tour taken to the Soviet Union in 1967 during which she could not explain familiar feelings. Her friend’s discovery in Istanbul validated what Ella sensed - she had unwittingly stumbled upon her ancestral roots. With that discovery, she connected the crossword pieces of the past with the present. The evolution of the Kantemir story took 300 years, the final resolve 60 years.
-Dmitri’s palace in Istanbul is restored and currently a social center for educating the young.
-The Cantacuzene/Kantemir ewer and basin described in the story is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
-The Brancovans were made saints of the Orthodox Church.
-Dmitri’s Neva Palace in St. Petersburg is the Russian Maritime base.
-The young lady posing for a photograph in 1967 Tsaritsyno and Peter’s summer palace did not know of its significance, but felt it in her heart.
-The young lady is me. I am Ella Borisovna Kantemir. The Kantemirs are my ancestors.
Ella Borisovna Kantemir 6/4/2011