Stepan Malkhasyants

Stepanos Sargsi Malkhasiants (Armenian: Ստեփան Սարգսի Մալխասյանց; November 7 [O.S. October 25] 1857 – July 21, 1947) was an Armenian academician, philologist, linguist, and lexicographer. An expert in classical Armenian literature, Malkhasiants wrote the critical editions and translated the works of many classical Armenian historians into modern Armenian and contributed seventy years of his life to the advancement of the study of the Armenian language.

Stepan Malkhasyants
Stepan Malkhasyants 1.jpg
Born(1857-11-07)November 7, 1857
DiedJuly 21, 1947(1947-07-21) (aged 89)
Alma materSaint Petersburg State University
Known forArmenian Explanatory Dictionary
AwardsStalin Prize (1946)
Scientific career
FieldsPhilology, Armenian studies, Oriental Studies
InstitutionsArmenian Academy of Sciences

Early life and educationEdit

Stepan Malkhasiants from his student years.

Malkhasiants was born in Akhaltsikh, in what was then Russian Georgia, in 1857. He received his primary education at the Karapetian Parochial school in Akhaltsikh. From 1874 to 1878, he attended the Gevorgian Seminary in Vagharshapat (current-day Echmiadzin). Malkhasiants was admitted to the department of Oriental studies at Saint Petersburg State University. He graduated in 1889 with an emphasis in Armenian-Sanskrit and Armenian-Georgian studies.[1]

Following the completion of his studies, Malkhasiants taught Armenian at schools and became a regular contributor to periodicals and academic journals. Returning to the Transcaucasus, he took up a teaching position at the Karapetian Parochial school and later the Yeghiazarian gymnasium (also in Akhaltsikh), the Nersisian, Hovnanian and Gayanian seminaries in Tiflis and at the Gevorgian Seminary.[2] After Yerevan State University's foundin in February 1920, Malkhasiants became a part of the faculty of the department of history and linguistics and was the first instructor to deliver a lecture there.[3] In 1940, Malkhasyants was awarded with his doktor nauk in philology, honoris causa. In 1943 he helped found the Armenian Academy of Sciences and was formally elected into its body.[2]


Stepan Malkhasiants.

Malkhasiants took an active interest in the study of classical and medieval Armenian historiography prior to his graduation from Saint Petersburg State. In 1885, he published the first critical edition of the Universal History, written by the eleventh-century historian Stepanos Taronetsi. He later published several other critical texts by Armenian historians, including the primary histories written by Pavstos Buzand (1896), Sebeos (1899), Ghazar Parpetsi (1904) and Movses Khorenatsi (1940). Malkhasiants took a particular interest in Movses Khorenatsi and published over 50 works on the "Father of Armenian history" in the form of books, articles, and monographs.[4] Subsequent works also focused on the grammar of classical Armenian and ashkharabar (modern Armenian).[1] His Russian translation of the eighteenth-century Catholicos Simeon Yerevantsi's history work, Jambr, was published in 1958.[5]

In 1944-1945, Malkhasiants completed a monumental four-volume Armenian-language dictionary, Armenian Explanatory Dictionary (Hayeren Batsadrakan Barraran, Հայերէն Բացատրական Բառարան), which went on to win the Stalin Prize in 1946.[1] The dictionary, which Malkhasiants began putting together in 1922, provides an exhaustive vocabulary list of classical Armenian, middle Armenian, and modern Armenian words, as well as an exploration of the numerous dialects spoken by Armenians.[2][6]

Malkhasiants also translated some foreign works into Armenian. In addition to Shakespeare's plays, including King Lear and Macbeth, he also translated the writings of Georg Ebers.

He died in Yerevan at the age of 89 in 1947.


  1. ^ a b c (in Armenian) Durgarian, K. G. s.v. "Malkhasiants, Stepan Sargsi," Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, vol. 7, p. 162.
  2. ^ a b c (in Armenian) Grigorian, A. V. "Stepan Malkhasiantsi tsnndyan 125-amyaki artiv" [On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Stepan Malkhasiants' Birthday], Patma-Banasirakan Handes 100 (1983): pp. 3-15.
  3. ^ Anon. Brief historical review Archived 2007-07-04 at the Wayback Machine. Yerevan State University. Accessed March 8, 2009.
  4. ^ (in Armenian) Hovhannisyan, Petros. Movses Khorenatsu matenagituyune [Bibliography of Movses Khorenatsi] (Yerevan: Yerevan State University Press, 1991), p. 84.
  5. ^ Hovhannisyan. Bibliography of Movses Khorenatsi, p. 84.
  6. ^ Anon. "Malkhasyants, Stepan Sarkisovich Archived 2007-05-20 at" Caucasian Knot. Accessed June 25, 2008.

Further readingEdit

  • (in Armenian) Badikyan, Khachik. "Ստեփան Մալխասյանց" ("Stepan Malkhasyants"). Azg. November 1, 2007.
  • Garibyan A. "Armenia's Greatest Philologist: To the Centennial of S.S. Malkhasyants," Kommunist. December 26, 1957.
  • (in Armenian) Malkhasyants, Stepan. Material for Armenian Intellectuals' Biographies and Bibliographies. Yerevan, 1962.

External linksEdit