ABRAHAMIAN, ROUBEN  (Arm. Ṛubēn Tʻadēosi Abrahamyan, also Abrahamean; b. Gnishik, 1881; d. Yerevan, 1951) Armenian Iranist, linguist, and translator.

Abrahamian was born in the village of Gnishik in the Vayotsʻ Dzor region of Armenia, then part of the Russian empire. It was in this village that he received his primary education at a school that his father had founded. He received his secondary education at the Gevorgian Theological Seminary in Etchmiadzin and the boys’ gymnasium in Yerevan, graduating in 1899 and 1906, respectively. Abrahamian then went abroad to pursue advanced study at the Faculty of History and Philology at Kiev University (1907), where he studied comparative linguistics and Sanskrit, Leipzig University (1909), and Saint Petersburg State University (1911). After his period in Europe, he returned to the Gevorgian Theological Seminary, where he taught Russian, linguistics, and classical philosophy.

From 1912 to 1921, Abrahamian taught at a primary school in Tiflis and at various other schools in the Caucasus. In 1921, he moved to Iran and taught at Armenian schools in Tabriz, Julfa, and Tehran (see also ARMENIANS OF MODERN IRAN). In Tehran, he served as the principal of the Armenian school and began his study of ancient and modern Persian. At some time he again traveled to Europe, and in 1935 he received his doctorate in philology from the Sorbonne in Paris. He wrote his dissertation on Judeo-Isfahani and Judeo-Hamadani (see ISFAHAN xix. Jewish Dialect; HAMADAN ix. Jewish Dialect). He became interested in this topic while translating the works of the 11th-century poet Bābā Ṭāher into Armenian. He found similarities between the language of Bābā Ṭāher’s poems (see FAHLAVIYĀT) and the Jewish dialects of Hamadān and Isfahan. His dissertation was published the following year under the title of Dialectologie iranienne: dialectes des Israélites de Hamadan et d’Ispahan et dialecte de Baba Tahir.

Following the foundation of the University of Tehran in 1935, Abrahamian participated in establishing the Department of Ancient Iranian Languages (see FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN iv. Faculty of Letters and Humanities), where he taught Pahlavi until immigrating to Soviet Armenia in 1946. In Armenia, he worked at the Institute of Languages at the Academy of Sciences in Yerevan.

Although Abrahamian began his academic career relatively late in life, he had been publishing articles since 1911, when his first pieces on comparative historical linguistics and Indo-European languages appeared in the Armenian journal Ararat. Over the course of his career, his scholarly works were published in Armenian, Persian, and European journals. The periodization of the history of the Persian language was an overarching theme in many of Abrahamian’s studies. In addition to writing a Pahlavi textbook for Persian students, Abrahamian compiled the Pahlaveren-parskeren-hayeren-ṛuseren-angleren baṛaran (a dictionary of Pahlavi, Persian, Armenian, Russian, and English), which was published posthumously in 1965. Abrahamian is also known for his translations from Pahlavi into Armenian, most notably for his translation of the Zoroastrian text Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag (see Ardā Wīrāz).


Works of Rouben Abrahamian

Kʻareakner ew ḡazalner: Baba Tʻahir Orian Hamadani (The quatrains and ḡazals of Bābā Ṭāher ʿOryān Hamadāni), Tehran, 1930.

Ferdovsin ew ir Šahnamēn (Ferdowsi and his Shāh-nāma), Tehran, 1934.

Hatuatsner Šahnameits (Excerpts from the Shāh-nāma), Tehran, 1934.

Dialectologie iranienne : dialectes des Israélites de Hamadan et d’Ispahan et dialecte de Baba Tahir, Paris, 1936.

Alefbā-ye pahlavi, Tehran, 1937.

Rāhnemā-ye zabān-e pahlavi, Tehran, 1938.

Sayatʻ-Novayi tagherě (The Verses of Sayat Nova), Tehran, 1943.

Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag, Yerevan, 1958.

Pahlaveren-parskeren-hayeren-ṛuseren-angleren baṛaran (Pahlavi-Persian-Armenian-Russian-English dictionary), Yerevan, 1965.


H. M. Ayvazean, Ov ov ē hayer: Kensagrakan hanragitaran (Who is Who among Armenians: Biographical encyclopedia), Yerevan, 2005, p. 22.

B. L Chʻugaszean, Hayrenatardz iranahay dēmkʻer (Repatriated Iranian-Armenians), Yerevan, 1997, pp. 11-12.

H. Hakhanazarean, Prof. Dōkʻtʻ Ṛ Abahameani keankʻn u gortsuneutʻiwně (Prof. Dr. Abrahamian’s life and work), Tehran, 1946.

Haykakan hamaṛōt hanragitaran (Abridged Armenian encyclopedia), V. A. Ambartsōumean, et al., eds., Yerevan, 1990, p. 24.

Haykakan sovetakan hanragitaran (Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia) I, Yerevan, 1974, p. 43.

Žānet D. Lāzāriān, Dāneš-nāma-ye Irāniān-e armani, Tehran, 2003,  p. 107.

Gaṛnik Stepʻanean, Kensagrakan baṛaran (Biographical dictionary), Yerevan, 1973, p. 22.

(Jennifer Manoukian)

Originally Published: January 1, 2000

Last Updated: March 4, 2013

Cite this entry:

Jennifer Manoukian, “ABRAHAMIAN, ROUBEN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2013, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abrahamian-rouben (accessed on 16 October 2013).