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BornHarutyun Sayatyan
(1712-06-14)14 June 1712
Tiflis, Kingdom of Kartli, Safavid Iran (present-day Georgia)
Died22 September 1795(1795-09-22) (aged 83)
Haghpat, Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, Qajar Iran (present-day Armenia)
OccupationPoet, ashugh
SpouseMarmar Shahverdian
The tomb of Sayat Nova at the Cathedral of Saint George in Old Tbilisi

Sayat-Nova (Armenian: Սայեաթ-Նովայ (сlassical), Սայաթ-Նովա (reformed); Georgian: საიათნოვა; Azerbaijani: سایات‌نووا; Persian: سایات‌نووا; born Harutyun Sayatyan; 14 June 1712 – 22 September 1795) was an Armenian poet, musician and ashugh, who had compositions in a number of languages.


The name Sayat-Nova has been given several interpretations.[1] One version reads the name as "Lord of Song" (from Arabic sayyid and Persian nava)[1] or "King of Songs".[2][3] Others read the name as grandson (Persian neve) of Sayad or hunter (sayyad) of song.[1] Charles Dowsett considers all these derivations to be unlikely and proposes the reading New Time (from Arabic sa'at and Russian nova) instead.[1]


Sayat-Nova's mother, Sara, was born in Tiflis, and his father, Karapet, either in Aleppo or Adana. He was born in Tiflis. Sayat-Nova was skilled in writing poetry, singing, and playing the kamancheh, Chonguri, Tambur.[4] He lost his position at the royal court when he fell in love with the king's sister Ana; he spent the rest of his life as an itinerant bard.

In 1759 he was ordained as a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church. His wife, Marmar, died in 1768, leaving behind four children. He served in locations including Tiflis and Haghpat Monastery. In 1795 he was killed in Haghpat Monastery by the invading army of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, the Shah of Iran. Agha Mohammad Khan demanded that Sayat Nova convert from Christianity to Islam, which he refused to do, considering it tantamount to 'turning Turk' and declaring his religion is undeniably Armenian Christian. Hence he was promptly executed by beheading.[5] He is buried at the Armenian Cathedral of Saint George in Tbilisi.


Monument of Sayat Nova in Yerevan

In Armenia, Sayat-Nova is considered a great poet who made a considerable contribution to the Armenian poetry and music of his century. Although he lived his entire life in a deeply religious society, his works are mostly secular and full of romantic expressionism.

About 220 songs have been attributed to Sayat-Nova, although he may have written thousands more. Sayat-Nova also wrote some poems moving between all three.[clarification needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The tombstone of Sayat-Nova



  1. ^ a b c d Charles Dowsett (1997). Sayatʻ-Nova: An 18th-century Troubadour : a Biographical and Literary Study. Peeters Publishers. pp. 70–73. ISBN 9789068317954.
  2. ^ Thomas de Waal. "The Caucasus: An Introduction" Oxford University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0199750436 p 25
  3. ^ Jennifer G. Wollock. "Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love" ABC-CLIO, 2011. ISBN 978-0313038501 p 246
  4. ^ Dowsett, Charles (1997), p. 4
  5. ^ Dowsett, Charles (1997). Sayatʻ-Nova: an 18th-century troubadour: a biographical and literary study. Leuven: Peeters Publishers. p. 362. ISBN 90-6831-795-4.
  6. ^ "SAYAT NOVA Trademark of "MALS" LLC Serial Number: 79092017 :: Trademarkia Trademarks".
  7. ^ "Sayat Nova". Check, Please! | WTTW Chicago. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2022.


  • Charles Dowsett, (1997), Sayatʻ-Nova: an 18th-century troubadour: a biographical and literary study, ISBN 90-6831-795-4
  • Nikoghos Tahmizian, Sayat Nova and the Music of Armenian Troubadours and Minstrels, (in Armenian), 1995, Drazark Press, Pasadena, Ca.

External links[edit]