Omar Khayyam(Located in Neishapur)
was born in Nishapur, in Iran, then a Seljuq capital in Khorasan, which rivaled Cairo or Baghdad in cultural prominence in that era. He is thought to have been born into a family of tent-makers
He spent part of his childhood in the town of Balkh (in present-day northern Afghanistan), studying under the well-known scholar Sheikh Muhammad Mansuri. He later studied under Imam Mowaffaq Neishapouri, who was considered one of the greatest teachers of the Khorasan region. Throughout his life, Omar Khayyám was tireless in his efforts; by day he would teach algebra and geometry, in the evening he would attend the Seljuq court as an adviser of Malik-Shah I, and at night he would study astronomy and complete important aspects of the Jalali calendar.
Omar Khayyam’s years in Isfahan were very productive ones, but after the death of the Seljuq Sultan Malik-Shah I (presumably by the Assassins sect), the Sultan’s widow turned against him as an adviser, and as a result, he soon set out on his Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. He was then allowed to work as a court astrologer, and was permitted to return to Nishapur, where he was renowned for his works, and continued to teach mathematics, astronomy and even medicine
Scholars believe he wrote about a thousand four-line verses or rubaiyat. He was introduced to the English-speaking world through the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, which are poetic, rather than literal, translations by Edward FitzGerald (1809–1883). Other English translations of parts of the rubáiyát (rubáiyát meaning “quatrains”) exist, but FitzGerald’s are the most well known.
Ironically, FitzGerald’s translations reintroduced Khayyám to Iranians “who had long ignored the Neishapouri poet”. A 1934 book by one of Iran’s most prominent writers, Sadeq Hedayat, Songs of Khayyám (Taranehha-ye Khayyám), is said to have “shaped the way a generation of Iranians viewed” the poet.
Omar Khayyám’s poems have been translated into many languages. Many translations were made directly from Persian, more literal than the translation by Edward Fitzgerald. The following samples are from FitzGerald’s translation.