Stepan Malkhasyants

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Stepan Malkhasyants
Born (1857-11-07)November 7, 1857
Akhaltsikh, Russian Georgia
Died July 21, 1947(1947-07-21) (aged 89)
Yerevan, Armenian SSR
Fields Philology, Armenian studies, Oriental Studies
Institutions Armenian Academy of Sciences
Alma mater Saint Petersburg State University
Known for Armenian Explanatory Dictionary
Notable awards Stalin Prize (1946)

Stepanos Sargsi Malkhasyants (Armenian: Ստեփան Սարգսի Մալխասյանց; November 7 [O.S. October 25] 1857 – July 21, 1947) was an Armenian academician, philologist, linguist, and lexicographer. As an expert in classical Armenian literature, Malkhasyants wrote the critical editions and translated the works of many classical Armenian historians into modern Armenian and contributed 70 years of his life to the advancement of the study of the Armenian language.

Early life and education

File:Stepan Malkhasyants 2.jpg
Stepan Malkhasyants (studentship)

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

Following the completion of his studies, Malkhasyants 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 Karapetyan Parochial school and later the Yeghiazaryan Gymnasium (also in Akhaltsikh), the Nersisyan, Hovnanyan and Gayanyan Seminaries in Tiflis and at the Gevorkyan Seminary at Vagharshapat.[2] After Yerevan State University was founded in February 1920, Malkhasyants 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]


File:Stepan Malkhasyants 3.jpg
Stepan Malkhasyants

Malkhasyants took an active interest in the study of classical and medieval Armenian historiography prior to his graduation from Saint Petersburg State University. In 1885, Malkhasyants 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). Malkhasyants took a particular interest in Movses and he 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 18th century Catholicos Simeon Yerevantsi's history work, Jambr, was published in 1958.[5]

In 1944-1945, Malkhasyants finally 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 Malkhasyants had begun writing for 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]

Malkhasyants also translated some foreign works into Armenian. In addition to William Shakespeare's plays, including King Lear and Macbeth, he also translated the writings of Georg Ebers. He died at age 89 in 1947 in Yerevan.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 (Armenian) Durgaryan, Karapet G. «Մալխասյանց, Ստեփան Սարգսի» (Malkhasyants, Stepan Sargsi). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. vii. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1981, p. 162.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 (Armenian) Grigoryan, A. V. "Ստեփան Մալխասյանցի ծննդյան 125-ամյակի առթիվ" ("In Honor of the 125th Anniversary of Stepan Malkhasyants' Birthday"). Patma-Banasirakan Handes. № 1 (100), 1983, pp. 3-15.
  3. Anon. Brief historical review. Yerevan State University. Accessed March 8, 2009.
  4. (Armenian) Hovhannisyan, Petros. Մովսես Խորենացու Մատենագիտությունը (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." Caucasian Knot. Accessed June 25, 2008.

Further reading

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

External links