Hakim Omar Khayyam; A great philosophical Poet and an extraordinary Scientist

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (okonlife.com) - Middle East Center

Hello, my dear friends. Let me again have a review on the history of art in my birth land, not only because of my pride in this matter, I just think it is an interesting issue. Though, we have a quote saying; I am the one whom Rostam was the legend! Which means that one utters himself proudly because of his historical legacy. 😅😂

“Rostam was one of the heroes in the Persian Saga in Shahnameh by the Persian poet Ferdowsi” (I will come to this Myth one day.)

Anyway, it gives me even a sad feeling; in the old Persians, there were many artworks which were damaged after the Arab invasion of Persia, led to the fall of the Sasanian Empire of Iran (Persia) in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion. It was a destructive attack in the years (642 – 821)

Map of Arabs' Invasion of Iran

The Persians have witnessed this destructive Arabs’ invasion of Iran after the defeat of the Sassanians’ army, the reason; maybe the lack of discipline, order, unity, and integration within the administration body of Sassanians’ government paved the way for the Arabs’ conquest of Iran with a deadly blow. And pityingly, it was not only bloodsheds but also all kind of arts like Carpets, Paintings, Books, Music instruments and composed pieces written on the papers was burned out with the palaces together; under the motto; The only art is the Quran (the holy book of Islam) and nothing else.

Well, therefore, nothing’s remained from the old arts. And what we can talk about the Persian genius, it can be only after Islam and there are many; it is because the Arabs were not in a way making an imperium for themselves; they had actually no idea thereabout, they just wanted to convert people to Islam as many as they could. One had to say God is great and Muhammad is one and the only prophet. That was all, then the people could live and do what they wanted in their own home.

That’s why we see so many genii in the world of Islam, especially in Iran like Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna – The greatest doctor after Galinos)
Whom I once wrote about him, Zakariya al-Razi (inventor of Alcohol http://Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi ) and also Omar Khayyam whom I want to introduce him here.

I must add here that my expression above doesn’t have to be interpreted as patriotism as I am not one. I feel it just unfair to see how a great culture gets damaged by some uncultivated ideologist. As we might know; for example; the equality between gender in the old Persia compared to the Arabs as Muhammad the prophet quoted that “Heaven is under the feet of the mothers” to stop men burring their daughters after born; they wanted only sons!

rubaiyat - vedder

Omar Khayyam was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet. He was born in Nishabur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade. (Wikipedia)

I was not only fascinated by his poems but also by his solitary view to the world and into the life. He was convinced that life is now; enjoy every minute in it that when the time comes, nothing of you will remain.

Of course, there are some translations on his works; the famous one is Edward FitzGerald http://Edward FitzGerald (poet) who has a freewill-translation; nice and good but I had preferred to translate these two poems by myself.😉

from child became a teacher in a while
as a teacher, we’re happy for a while
listen to the end what we’ve received
We came out of the dust and gone with the wind

{translated by me}

یکچند به کودکی به استادشدیم
یک چند ز استادی خود شاد شدیم
پایان سخن شنو که مارا چه رسید
از خاک برامدیم و بر باد شدیم

without a pure drink, existing I can’t
without a sip of wine, bearing the body, I can’t
I avid for that moment that Saghy says;
Take another cup and I can’t
{translated by me}

This video which I represent here is not only embellished with some wonderful Khayyam’s poems but also is a very informative on Khayyam as a scientist and the story of the old Persian. If you’d have about 30 minutes time, you’d be surely amused.







Here I’d like also present the article of my Greek friends whom I am always thankful for their great posts about the sad sinking the Titanic and more sadly the worthy book of Edward FitzGerald.

Like in the ancient time; the old Hellenes and ole Persians hold together. 🙏💖🙏

Rubayat: The most luxurious book of poetry in the history of mankind

By http://SearchingTheMeaningOfLife

(Credit: Alamy)

Natalia Petriti

When the Titanic sank on the night of April 14, 1912, in addition to the dozens of souls he was about to carry to the depths of the ocean, he would take with him one of the most important versions of all time. This book was a fictional manuscript of Rubáiyát, the 11th-century Iranian scholar Omár Khayyám. The book was considered valuable because it was the only one in the world at the time.

In fact, at that time there were plenty of copies of the volume of Persian poems. But when the Titanic made its first and final voyage, this version of Rubayat surpassed all other collections, not because of its content, but because of its unrealistic appearance. In fact, the story of the manuscript was the inspiration for a novel by French and Lebanese author Amin Maalouf, entitled Samarkand.

The story of Rubayat

Desiring to revive medieval bookbinding traditions using gemstones, George Sutcliffe and Francis Sangorski were known in the early 1900s for their luxurious and state-of-the-art designs. Henry Sotheran, a bookstore owner, turned to them to make a book like no other.

Sotheran was not interested in the cost of its creation and so the creators put their imagination to work and all their mastery.

The book was completed in 1911, after two years of intensive work. The edition consisted of loose Victorian renditions by Edward FitzGerald of Omar Khayyám’s poems, illustrated by Elihu Vedder and became known as “The Great Omar” and “The Book Wonderful” for its sheer brilliance. It had a gilded cover with three peacocks, the tails of which were decorated with precious stones and were surrounded by intricate floral patterns, pervasive in medieval Persian manuscripts. On the back cover, a Greek bouzouki adorned the book.

More than 1000 precious and semi-precious stones were used to create it. Rubies, turquoise, emeralds, as well as about 5000 pieces of leather, silver, ivory and ebony. The pagination required 600 sheets of 22 carat gold.

The Great Omar

Although destined for New York by Sotheran, the bookseller refused to pay the huge fee imposed on him by US customs. It was returned to England, where it was bought by Gabriel Wells at Sotheby’s auction for 450 450, less than half its ίας 1,000 reserve value. Wells, like Sotheran before him, intended to bring the masterpiece to America. But choosing the Titanic as the ship that would carry the book would be fatal.

The story, however, would not end with the sinking of the Titanic, or the strange death of Sangorski from drowning a few weeks later. Sutcliffe’s nephew Stanley Bray was determined to relive the memory of the “Great Lobster”.

Using Sangorski’s original designs, he managed, after six years of exhausting work, to reproduce the book, which was placed in a bank vault.

Bray once again tried to make a copy of his uncle’s “swan song”, but this time it would take him 40 years to complete. When the new copy was finalized, the result was so good that he lent it to the British Library, where he bequeathed all his property after his death.


But who was Omar Khayyám’s Rubayat and who was this enigmatic person who fascinated Sotheran? An 11th-century learned man from eastern Iran, Khayyám was famous throughout his life for his pioneering work in astronomy and mathematics. Khayyám was also a poet. His poetry, however, was unlike that of any other poet of Persian origin and has been considered for centuries unique in classical Persian literature.

Because of his adventurous nature, Khayyám challenged the things that were then taken for granted: faith, the afterlife, and the meaning of life itself. He had little faith in the promises of his religion, and in his talk on “Paradise and Hell” he expressed doubts about the existence of God. There was only one thing Khayyám was sure of and truly loved: this life.

He had a good understanding – perhaps because of the turbulent times in which he lived (Iran was then under Turkish occupation, and would soon live under Arab and Mongol invasion) – of the meaning of life and the inevitability of death. Any discussion of the afterlife or religion was unnecessary for him.

Victorian poet Edward FitzGerald adored Khayyám’s Iranian spirit. When he turned his attention to him, he had already translated from Persian. But translations of Khayyám’s work were to be his magnum opus.

The translations of FitzGerald were free, but they faithfully conveyed the spirit of the original, which is why many referred to the translator using the name “FitzOmar”, which came from the combination of his adjective and “Big Omar”.

While when the work was released it was not very popular, the small but profound book would soon enjoy a popularity that FitzGerald could never have imagined. In the late 19th century, a high society literary club in London took its name from Khayyám. Rubayat has also been a source of inspiration for artists such as William Morris.

Numerous other works of art have also been produced by artists such as Edmund Dulac and Edmund Joseph Sullivan. An illustration of the latter, in fact, would adorn the cover of the 1971 Grateful Dead album of the same name in the future. Agatha Christie released the novel The Moving Fingerhad in 1942, using the title of a poem from the play as her name, and Martin Luther King used excerpts from it in an anti-war speech in 1967. In the 1950s, Rubayat was now so famous that more than half the book was in the collective books “Bartlett’s Quotations” and “The Oxford Book of Quotations”.

Rubayat today

Khayyám’s poetry has undoubtedly stood the test of time. In his homeland, Iran, Rubayat exists in every home. FitzGerald’s performance, despite the freedoms he received in this regard, is the best known in English to date and is considered a classic. The work has also been translated into almost all languages ​​of the world.

The answer to why this work is so popular is easily found in its timelessness and its “universal” truths, which do not depend on culture, religion and creed.


https://m.tvxs.gr / https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/156613939.pdf


https://yd.gyproc-club.ru/425 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00210862.2014.906184?scroll=top&needAccess=true



24 thoughts on “Hakim Omar Khayyam; A great philosophical Poet and an extraordinary Scientist

  1. Interesting post and I particularly love le last lines of the first poem you translated, that beautiful image of our being made from dust (Christian image as well) and our leaving this world carried by the wind . Loved it. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve just found a tiny red, beautifully illustrated copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” on my bookshelves. It contains both the 1859 and 1868 versions of his mystical verses. My own copy is thick with dust and mould, and yet, what a find today as I read your post!

    Inside the cover it reads “done into English by Edward Fitzgerald with illustrations by Marjorie Anderson”. Hmm, I have a feeling that this book has been travelling with me for more than forty years and today it has, because of you Aladin, found its way back into my hands.

    Thank you so much for sharing your fab post and all those interesting links! The imaginery alone fires my creative imagination. Oh, and I very much enjoyed your own translation. Have a great weekend! Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tell me, babe, it is you who wandering in my soul and mind, these all the time? It’s almost a wonder; you or your unconscious at least is in mine and it seems that she shows me the way. Super! I had a feeling and yet, I am sure that there’s been something that happened in my life since I’ve found you. It is arduous but irresistible. just to say; I’m dreaming of you (both) often. In any case, it is a really interesting synchronising between us, willingly, unwillingly, I don’t know, but I am very thankful for that. Peace and Love.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a truly fascinating post, Magician. Yes, it is so sad when beautiful art, manuscripts, and architecture are destroyed. And sad again when something negative transforms a country or region, and the beauty and good of the past of a place is forgotten — overwhelmed by the hatred and ugliness that took over it. I worry that in decades to come, my own country will be seen that way.
    A beautiful post, my friend. Well done. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks a lot my dearest Teagan, I am much honoured and grateful for your kind words. As you said, it is a very sad destiny for such a country with such an old fulfilled culture. But please; it will never happen to America; it is a fascinating country with a great and strong constitution. God bless the USA and God bless all the good-hearted people like you. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

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