Tovmas Terzian

Tovmas Terzian (Armenian: Թովմաս Թէրզեան, born Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, October 21, 1840 – February 8, 1909) was an Armenian poet, playwright, and professor.[1][2]

Tovmas Terzian
Tovmas Terziyan
Died1909 (aged 68–69)
Alma materMurad-Raphaelian school in Venice
Occupationpoet, playwright, and professor
Parent(s)Armenian father and an Italian mother


Tovmas Terzian was born to an Armenian father and an Italian mother.[1] After attending the local Mekhitarist school, he attended the Murad-Raphaelian school in Venice, Italy on the San Lazzaro Island from which he graduated in 1858.[2] Upon returning to Constantinople, he dedicated himself to teaching. He taught at Nersesian, Nubar-Shahnazarian, and Getronagan. His students included famous Armenians such as Reteos Berberian, Minas Cheraz, Yeghia Demirdjibashian, Krikor Zohrab, Yerukhan, and other writers and teachers.[2] Tovmas Terzian was fluent in English, Armenian, French, Italian, Classical Greek, Latin, Turkish, and Greek.[2]


The poster of Tovmas Terzian's "Sandukht" tragedy

Tovmas Terzian is famed mainly for his poetry and plays. His most important play being, Arshak II (1871) which was loosely based on the life of the 4th century Armenian king Arshak II.[1] The play written in both Italian and Armenian was intended as an opera libretto. The music for this opera was composed by the Armenian composer Dikran Tchouhadjian[1] who used the Italian version of the play Arsace II. Terzian never saw his play on stage either in its operatic form or as a straight play. The Soviet version of the opera Arshak II which first appeared on stage in 1941 at the Yerevan Opera House was a big success.[2] However, beyond the title and names of some of the characters, it had very little in common with Terzian's play.


  1. ^ a b c d Bardakjian, Kevork B. (2000). A Reference Guide to Modern Armenian Literature 1500-1920. Wayne State University Press. pp. 536. ISBN 0-8143-2747-8. armenian literature.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hacikyan, Agop; Gabriel Basmajian; Edward S. Franchuk (2005). Nourhan Ouzounian (ed.). The Heritage of Armenian Literature Volume III: From the Eighteenth Century to Modern Times. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press. pp. 380–381. ISBN 0-8143-2815-6. Retrieved 19 October 2011.