Born in Agn, on the shores of the Euphrates, Yarjanian received his preliminary education in the town’s Nersisian School under the guidance of Bishop Karekin Srvantsdiants, who recognized his literary talents and gave him the pen-name Siamanto.
He left for Constantinople in 1892 with his father, who was a merchant, and continued his studies at the Mirijanian School at Kum Kapu and the Berberian School at Scutari (Üsküdar). After the 1895–1896 Hamidian massacres, fleeing the stifling atmosphere in Constantinople, he headed to Greece, then Egypt.
In 1897, Siamanto left for Europe to continue his studies, staying for a time in Geneva, then to Paris, where he studied literature at the Sorbonne for three years. While in Europe, he contributed to Droshak and produced some of his best poetry. He published his first volume, Tiutsaznoren (Like the Children of Gods), in 1901–02 in Paris. Four more were published during his years in Europe.
In 1909, after the declaration of the Ottoman Constitution of 1908, Siamanto returned to Constantinople, where he wrote for Azatamart and published Garmir Lourer Paregames (Red News From My Friend).
In December 1909 he was sent to the United States as an ARF fieldworker and to assume the editorship of the Hairenik daily. There, in 1910, Siamanto published Hayreni Hraver (Invitation From the Homeland), as well as his complete works, which he edited.
In 1911, he returned to Constantinople via London and Paris, and continued his literary and political activities. On the 1500th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian alphabet, in 1913, he published his last volume, Mesrob Mashtots, in Constantinople.
The same year, he traveled with the retinue transporting ARF founder Simon Zavarian’s casket to Tiflis. He traveled throughout the Transcaucasus, meeting with his Eastern Armenian contemporaries.
He later returned to Constantinople. Arrested in 1915, Siamanto was among the first victims of the Genocide. He was 37 years old.
Prayer to Anahid on the Feast of Navasart
Goddess, I purge my conscience of all slothful religions.
And I walk proudly in sacred slippers toward you.
Open the marble gates of your temple. Let me bruise my
forehead on the door.
Open the altar and give back to me the hot strength
of my Artaxian forefathers.
Hear me, golden mother, fertile sister, sister of virtue,
donor of abundance, patroness of Armenians.
Hear me on this morning of the feast of Navasart
when your people rejoice.
Allow me to kneel and pray before your idol.
Listen, miraculous rose, goddess of golden feet,
white bride of nocturnal light, lover of the sun,
nakedness with a body of light, sail of Aramazt,
let the sun burn on your altar again.
I believe in you, as I stand on the hills of Pakrevant.
I, the centuries-old worshipper of God, come armed with a
I am your son, here as a supplicant apostle,
begging you to hear my lyre of Haig, a lyre born
from the soil of Koght.
I come in the robes of a pilgrim, bearing green
balsam branches and gold rosewater
in a silver pitcher to anoint your breasts.
And here with the rosewater are tears
mourning your destruction.
Deer follow my shadow as I come to you.
Let the pagan life flow again from the hills.
Let tall sons of the sun wear brocade
and arch their bows, planting their spears,
fastening their swords into necks of the bulls
on the threshold of your altars.
Let a white flock of doves fly from the shoulders
of fertile young Armenian brides toward your statue once
Let the fountains of Vartavar come to life and flow
and let sixteen-year-old maidens rise to dance
offering their magical bodies to you, goddess of chastity.
Take your revenge now, after twenty centuries,
oh my goddess Anahid, now as I throw
into the fires of your altar, the two poisonous arms
of my cross. And I celebrate you, oh golden mother,
by burning the polluted bone from the rib
of the Illuminator.
I beg of you, oh powerful, unequalled beauty,
give your body to the sun and be fertilized,
give birth to a formidable god for the Armenians.
For us, from your diamond-hard uterus bear an invincible god!
Translation by Diana Der Hovanessian