Armenian Classics. Raffi
Hakob Melik Hakobian (1835 – 1888), better known by his pen name Raffi, was an Armenian author, a prominent figure of 19th century Armenian literature.
Raffi was the eldest son in a family of hereditary Persian gentry and was born in 1835 in Payajuk, a village of northwestern Iran . His father was a wealthy farmer, merchant and the highest civil authority of the village. Thus, Raffi’s economic background and special status within the family eventually made it possible for him to acquire a privileged education, one in which he was exposed to the full spectrum of classical, Russian and Western European masterpieces of literature.
His education began in the home of the village priest, Father Mser. There, in a small room adjacent to the barn, boys of all ages and levels of learning were taught under pressure of corporal punishment for failing in their lessons. In his novel called Kaytser (“Sparks”), Raffi gives a vivid description of these punishments and denounces them. At the age of 12 his father sent him to Tiflis [Tbilisi], at that time a major center of Armenian intellectual life, to continue his secondary education at a boarding school run by a distinguished Armenian teacher.
Raffi was on the verge of beginning his studies at a Russian university when he had to return home to help his ailing father with the family business. This was the end of his formal education. He subsequently took teaching posts in Armenian language and history at the Armenian schools in Tabriz, Akoulis and Tiflis.