Nicolae Milescu


Nicolae Milescu : biography

1636 – 1708

On his way through Siberia, Milescu used the astrolabe to establish coordinates of some settlements. His materials were later used by the Jesuits, who took considerable interest in China. Upon returning to Moscow, he submitted to the Foreign Ministry three volumes of notes: Travel notes and Description of China, alongside the Travels.

In his narratives, Milescu summed up the knowledge that Russian explorers had gathered about East Siberia. Although he believed that the Amur was the largest river in the world, he listed its main tributaries without mistake. His idea that there was a vast mountain range stretching from the Baikal to the Okhotsk Sea, although fundamentally wrong, was widely believed by many geographers until the mid-20th century. He also heard rumours about Sakhalin, which he supposed to be the same island as Hokkaidō, thus considerably exaggerating its dimensions.

Bogdan Petriceicu-Hasdeu believed that Milescu was the author of the first translation of the Bible into Romanian, the Bucharest edition (printed in 1688, during the rule of Prince Şerban Cantacuzino). However, Nicolae Iorga and other historians have argued that there is no actual proof of this, and have proposed Constantin Cantacuzino as the main translator.

Early life

His prosonym Moldavo-LaconeArnauld Antoine, (Latin), pp. 1091-98 in La perpétuité de la Foi de l’Église Catholique touchant l’ Eucharistie, Paris, 1781. Accessed 21 September 2012. () is thought to be an indication of a possible Greek origin.Daniela Dumbravă, , University of Florence. Accessed 21 September 2012. The name Milescu was adopted by his parents when they settled in Milesti.Lazarou Achilleas, (He hellenikoteta ton Vlachon, "The Greekness of the Vlachs", in Greek.) Prof. L. Turdeanu-Cartojan discovered at Oxford his autobiography, written in Greek (Λαζάρου, Lazarou).

A boyar born in Vaslui, Milescu studied at the Patriarchate College of Istanbul and, after returning to Iaşi, was appointed Chancellor for the Moldavian Prince Gheorghe Ştefan. In 1660-1664, he acted as representative of his country with its Ottoman overlord, and then as envoy to Berlin and Stockholm. He followed Gheorghe Ştefan in his exile to Stockholm and Szczecin (1664–1667) and visited Louis XIV’s France in an attempt to get the King to assist him in creating an anti-Ottoman alliance.

Numismatic issue – a silver coin dedicated to the 375th anniversary of Nicolae Milescu’s birth.