He was a prominent Persian astronomer, mathematician, and poet. Being the court astronomer of the Seljuk Sultan of Persia, Omar reformed the Persian solar calendar, but his fame, especially among the Anglo-Saxons, in Europe and America, is due to his quatrains due to the English poetic adaptation of a selection of them made by E. Fitzgerald with a beautiful sense of art. He lived between 1044 and 1123 AD. and his full name was Ghiyath ad-Din Abul Fateh Omar Ibn Ibrahim Khayyam. In “History of Western Philosophy”, Bertrand Russell points out that Khayyam is the only man recognized as both a poet and a mathematician at the same time. His work on algebra was highly appreciated throughout medieval Europe.
In 1839, Edward Fitzgerald published an English translation of his “Rubayat” (quatrains). Since then, it has become one of the most popular classics in world literature. It must be taken into account that it is practically impossible to accurately translate a literary work into another language, and even less poetry, especially when it comes to mystical and philosophical messages of profound complexity. However, the popularity of Rubayat’s translation would indicate the richness of his thought. In his quatrains, Khayyam speaks of the brevity and vanity of life, but his poetry also contains other much deeper themes, such as an original meditation on death and the limits of human reason, powerless in the face of the mystery of existence. In the history of Persian literature the quatrain form has often been used to express inner emotions of a mainly mystical character, but he further enriched the quatrain by giving it a polythematic form.