Hakob Melik Hakobian, better known as Raffi, was born in the Persian village of Payajuk in 1835 to a family of wealthy merchants. He was educated in Tbilisi, before he took over the family textile business. Thereafter, he taught and travelled extensively throughout Armenia, Transcaucasia, and eastern Anatolia (historical Armenia), and dedicated his life to writing. Raffi is among Armenia’s literary treasures. He wrote over a dozen novels, short stories and poems, and pioneered the Armenian historical novel.