Omar Khayyam

Renowned in his own time for achievements in astronomy, Omar Khayyam (1038-1141, Persia, now Iran) wrote in the short, epigrammatic form of the ruba’i to entertain himself and his friends. In the 1850s, Edward FitzGerald was given a copy of Khayyam’s ruba’iyat by a friend. A creative editor, FitzGerald chose selectively among the poems and created a narrative of a day in the life of Khayyam, during which he pondered the challenges of the human condition. FitzGerald’s The Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam became a classic in the English-speaking world.