David of Sasun: The Armenian Folk Epic


Sasuntzi Davith (David of Sasun, also seen as Daredevils of Sasun) is an Armenian folk epic about the adventures of David of Sasun (also seen as David of Sassoun), a legendary Christian hero who defended Armenia against invaders from Egypt and Persia. The epic is based on an oral tradition dating from the seventh to tenth centuries. It existed solely in oral form until portions of it were written down and published in 1873 by Garegin Srvantsdiants (1840‒92), a priest, ethnographer, traveler and poet. Srvantsdiants heard the heroic tale from a peasant who narrated it over a period of three days, with Srvandztiants recording it verbatim. The epic is set in Sasun (present-day Sason, Turkey) during Armenian rebellions against the Arab domination of the country. During the Soviet period, scholars in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic continued efforts to reconstruct the epic by weaving the various oral threads into a unified and coherent work. Presented here is a Soviet-era edition, published in the Armenian capital of Erevan in 1961. The illustrations are by Hakob Kojoyan (1883‒1959), a prominent Armenian artist of the Soviet period. Kojoyan’s works are closely tied to his native country, and he was frequently inspired by Armenian epics, folk tales, and legends.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Haypethrat, Yerevan, Armenia


Title in Original Language

Սասունցի Դաւիթ: Հայկական ժողովրդական էպոս

Type of Item

Physical Description

lxiii, 333 pages : colored illustrations ; 26 centimeters


  1. Agop Jack Hacikyan, coordinating editor, The Heritage of Armenian Literature. Volume 2, From the Sixth to the Eighteenth Century, and Volume 3, From the Eighteenth Century to Modern Times (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2005).

Last updated: July 28, 2017