Omar Chayyam

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Depiction of Omar Chayyam

Omar Chayyām ( Persian عمر خیام, DMG ʿOmar-e Ḫayyām or ʿUmar-i Ḫayyām ; Arabic عمر الخيام, DMG ʿUmar al-Ḫayyām , born on May 18, 1048 in Nishapur , Khorasan , today in Iran ; died on December 4, 1131 ibid) was a Persian mathematician , astronomer , astrologer , calendar reformer , philosopher and worldwide famous poet , especially through his quatrains (the Rubā'īyāt ) .

life and work

Omar Chayyām found the solution to cubic equations by determining their roots through geometric representation. Descartes did not continue his path until centuries later . Omar Chayyām dealt mainly with the parallel , where he was also looking for a proof for the parallel axiom of Euclid (see Saccheri-Viereck ), and the irrational numbers . He also created a long dominant work of algebra , in which he solved the general algebraic equation of the third degree using conic curves. He also covered the arrangement of the binomial coefficients now known as Pascal's triangle .

The Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah I commissioned Omar Chayyām in 1073 with the construction of an observatory (which Omar also directed from 1074) and the creation of a solar calendar for astrological purposes. Omar's calendar was more accurate than the Gregorian calendar, 500 years later . The modern Iranian calendar is based on its calculations.

Omar Chayyām, a follower of Avicenna's philosophy , also gained a great deal of prestige in his time for his philosophical texts, which dealt thoroughly with issues critical of Islam. In 1080 his philosophical treatise on "Being and Obligation" or "Being and Ought" appeared on the subject of free will. In his Robā'īyāt ("quatrains") one sees him from a more enlightening and skeptical side, which is also shown by some of his verses filled with Weltschmerz , which turn "against the Mohammedan belief of predestination ". Few, if any, of these verses were published during his lifetime. Persian sources mention and cite his verses only from the late 12th century, after Omar Chayyām's death. His verses were denied poetic recognition by the Persians. He was not counted among the "seven stars" of the Persian poets ( Firdausi , Nezami , Anwari , Hafis , Rumi , Saadi , Dschami ).

It was not until the congenial translation of the Rubai'yat by the English private scholar Edward FitzGerald in the middle of the 19th century that Omar Chayyām became known in the West and famous in the Anglo-American world. His fame in the West shone back on the poet in his homeland.

Extensive translations into German followed around 1880 by Adolf Friedrich Graf von Schack and Friedrich Bodenstedt , and from 1912 onwards there were translations by Friedrich Rosen under the title Die Zeitsprüche Omars des Zeltmacher / Rubaijat-i-Omar-i-Khayyam - translated from Persian by Friedrich Rosen . In 1917, Klabund made a German version of the poem entitled The epitome of the Persian tent maker , alluding to the name Chayyām , which is derived from the Arabic chaima ('tent').

Artistic adaptations

Following the first English translation by Edward Fitzgerald in 1859, numerous illustrated editions of the quatrains with Fitzgerald's text were published, some of which were very sophisticated. Many illustrators, especially in England since Art Nouveau , participated in this formal fashion of the Omar reception, which lasted into the 1940s , for example Ronald Edmund Balfour , Frank Brangwyn , Edmund Dulac , Anne Harriet Fish , James Gilbert , Jessie Marion King , Florence Lundborg , Willy Pogány , Charles Ricketts , Charles Robinson , Edmund J. Sullivan , Arthur Szyk and many others.

The English composer Sir Granville Bantock composed an oratorio Omar Khayyām for orchestra, choir and three soloists (alto, tenor, baritone = lover, poet, philosopher) in 1906, using the translation of the Rubai'yat by Edward FitzGerald.

The Austrian composer Friedrich Cerha composed “Ten Rubaijat des Omar Chajjam for mixed choir a cappella” in 1949 (1949–55)

The “narrative” concerto for clarinet and orchestra op. 34 under the title Khayyam by the Turkish composer Fazıl Say , which premiered in 2011 , mainly relates to Omar Chayyām's life.

In 1956 William Dieterle filmed the life of Omar Chayyāms in the film Storm over Persia .

In 2005, Kayvan Mashayekh edited his life story in the film Prince of Persia. The legend of Omar .

The life of Omar Chayyām is also a central theme of the novel Samarkand (1988) by the Franco-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf .

In the novel “The Consolation of the Night Sky” (2016), the Bosnian-Austrian author Dževad Karahasan describes the life of Omar Chayyām in the city of Isfahan, when the Seljuq Empire was threatened by court intrigues, social tensions, foreign armies and violent sectarians.

In the second half of the 20th century, Chayyām acquired a new level of fame in the Arab world through a song with the Arabic - English record title رباعيات الخيام - Rubaiyat Al-Khayyam ("The quatrains of Chayyām") by Umm Kulthum , as he did there before did not own to this extent.

Aphorisms (selection)

One of the quatrains ascribed to Omar Chayyām
گویند کسان بهشت ​​با حور خوش است
من می گویم که آب انگور خوش است
این نقد بگیر و دست از آن نسیه بدار
کآواز دهل شنیدن از دور خوش است
gūyand kasān behešt bā ḥūr ḫoš ast
man mīgūyam ke āb-e angūr ḫoš ast
īn naqd begīr-o dast az ān nasiye be-dār
k'āwāz-e dohol šanīdan az dūr ḫoš ast 
It is said that the paradise with virgins is delightful,
I find the grape juice alone enchanting!
Take this cent and let go of the promised treasure,
Because Krieg's drum sound is only exhilarating from afar.
چون بلبل مست راه در بستان یافت
روى گل و جام باده را خندان یافت
آمد به زبان حال در گوشم گفت
دریاب که عمر رفته را نتوان یافت
čūn bolbol-e mast rāh dar bostān yāft
rū-ye gol-o ǧām-e bāde-rā ḫandān yāft
āmad be-zabān-e ḥāl dar gūšam goft
dar-yāb ke 'omr-e rafte-rā na-tawān yāft
How the drunk nightingale found its way to the garden
Found the rose face and the wine goblet laughing,
He came and spoke very moodily in my ear:
"I understand that past life nobody found."
آن قصر که جمشید در او جام گرفت
آھو بچه کرد و روبه آرام گرفت
بھرام که گور ميگرفتى ھمه عمر
دیدى که چگونه گور بھرام گرفت
ān qaṣr ke ǧamšīd dar ū ǧām reft
āhū bače kard-o rūbah ārām reft
bahrām ke gūr mīgereftī hame 'omr
dīdī ke če-gūne gūr bahrām reft
In that castle where Jamjid took the goblet,
The deer gave birth to a fawn and the fox behaved quietly,
Has Bahrām hunted the gūr all his life,
But one saw how the Gur Bahram took himself.
اى دوست بیا تا غم فردا نخوریم
وین یکدم عمر را غنیمت شمریم
فردا که از این دیر کھن درگذریم
با ھفت ھزار سالکان ھمسفریم
ey dūst biyā tā ġamm-e fardā na-ḫorīm
w'īn yekdam-e 'omr-rā ġanīmat šomorīm
fardā ke az īn deyr-e kohan dar-goarīm
bā haft hezār sālekān ham-safarīm
Come on, friend, let's not drink tomorrow's sorrow
We only count these brief moments of happiness in life.
Tomorrow is the day when we leave this old monastery
With seven thousand wanderers by our side we go.
چندان بخورم شراب کاین بوى شراب
آید ز تراب چون شدم زیر تراب
تا بر سر خاک من رسد مخمورى
از بوى شراب من شود مست و خراب
čandān boḫorīm šarāb k'īn bū-ye šarāb
āyad ze torāb čūn šodam zīr-e torāb
tā bar sar-e ḫāk-e man resad maḫmūrī
az bū-ye šarāb-e man šawad mast-o ḫarāb
I want to drink a lot of wine, that scent of wine
May come out of the crypt when I lie in the crypt.
Where I turn to dust, an intoxicated man once came
Who is drunk and shattered by the scent of my wine.
اين چرخ فلك كه ما در او حيرانيم      
فانوس خيال از آن مثالى دانيم
خورشيد چراغ دان و عالم فانوس
ما چون صوريم كاندر آن حيرانيم
īn čarḫ-e falak ke mā dar 'ū ḥeyrān-īm
fānūs-e ḫiyāl az ān mes̱āl-ī dānīm
ḫoršīd čerāġ-dān-o 'ālam fānūs
mā čūn ṣowar-īm k'andar ān ḥeyrān-īm
This wheel of fortune in the sky that amazes us
Takes us into dreams as a lantern of the illusion.
The sun of the light source, lantern the world -
We their forms, which amazes us.

Work editions

See also


  • Mehdi Aminrazavi: The Wine of Wisdom . The Life, Poetry and Philosophy of Omar Khayyam. Oneworld Publications, 2005, ISBN 1-85168-355-0 .
  • Sebastian Linden: The Algebra of Omar Chayyam . 2nd Edition. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2017, ISBN 978-3-662-55346-6 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-662-55347-3 (The only German-language edition of the two algebraic treatises ʿOmar Chayyāms, with introduction, short biography and mathematical commentary 1st edition 2012 in Edition Avicenna, Munich).
  • Ali Daschti : In Search of Omar Khayyam . In: Persian studies monographs . Columbia University Press, 1971, ISBN 0-231-03188-2 .
  • Hans Bethge : Omar Khayyam . Re-seals. Ed .: Regina Berlinghof. 3. Edition. YinYang Media, Kelkheim 2003, ISBN 3-935727-01-1 (first published by Propylaen-Verlag , Berlin, edition).
  • Wilhelm Litten: What does Chäjjam mean? Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1930.
  • Khosro Naghed (Ed.): Like water in a stream, like desert wind . Poems of a mystic. Edition Orient, Meerbusch 1992, ISBN 3-922825-49-4 (Persian, German, reading sample ).
  • Philosophical picture gallery in the 11th century . Persian poems. Goethe and Hafis, Bonn 2006, ISBN 3-9807909-8-3 .
  • The Hakim of Nishapur Omar Chajjám and his Rubaijat. Based on old and recent Persian manuscript finds by Manuel Sommer, Guido Pressler Verlag, Wiesbaden 1974
  • Halil Ibrahim Türkdogan: Omar Chajjam and Max Stirner . Another encounter between East and West. Ed .: Kurt W. Fleming. Max Stirner Archive, Leipzig 2001, ISBN 3-933287-40-5 , p. 20 ( ).
  • Hans Wußing , Wolfgang Arnold (ed.): Biographies of important mathematicians . 4th edition. Volk und Wissen, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-06-002527-4 (first edition: 1975).
  • Adolf Pawlowitsch Juschkewitsch , Boris Rosenfeld : Al-Khayyami (or Khayyam), Ghiyat al-Din Abu'L Fath 'Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Nisaburi (or al-Naysaburi) , Dictionary of Scientific Biography , Volume 7, 322-334
Fiction representations
  • Dževad Karahasan : The comfort of the night sky. Novel. Translated from Bosnian by Katharina Wolf-Grießhaber. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-518-42531-2
  • Amin Maalouf : Samarkand . 1st edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-518-39690-0 (Original title: Samarcande . 1988. Translated by Widulind Clerc-Erle, a novel in which the life of Chayyām and the story of the Robaiyat artfully begin with the constitutional revolution at the beginning of the 20th century . Century).

Web links

Commons : Omar Chayyām  - collection of images


  1. Omar Khayyam in the Encyclopaedia Britannica
  2. K. Jaouiche: La théorie des parallèles en pays d'Islam . Vrin, Paris 1986, ISBN 2-7116-0920-0 .
  3. Sebastian Linden: The Algebra of Omar Chayyam . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2017, ISBN 978-3-662-55346-6 .
  4. ^ Gotthard Strohmaier : Avicenna. Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-41946-1 , p. 129.
  5. The Hakim of Nischapur Omar Chajjám and his Rubaijat , based on old and recent Persian manuscript finds by Manuel Sommer, Pressler, Wiesbaden 1974, pp. 123 and 146.
  6. ^ Philosophical views
  7. Omar-i-Khajjam: Sayings. Translated from the Persian by Friedrich Rosen, Insel-Verlag, 5th edition. Leipzig 1973 (= Insel-Bücherei, 407), p. 33 f. and 62
  8. ^ V. increased edition, Stuttgart and Berlin, Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1922.
  9. The Hakim of Nischapur Omar Chajjám and his Rubaijat , based on old and recent Persian manuscript finds by Manuel Sommer, Pressler, Wiesbaden 1974, p. 134.
  10. Omariana . A descriptive catalog of the collection owned by Leone Fulmer Nash and Paul Tausig, ed. by Werner Sundermann and Marc-Edouard Enay Hamburg and Whitchurch (GB) undated (around 1995).
  11. Ilja Stephan in: SHMF program from July 17, 2011.
  12. Transcription according to DMG
  13. The (here: the) nightingale is a symbol of the lover (also a mystic) in the Orient , who consumes himself sobbing in longing for the beloved (symbol: the rose as the embodiment of God's beauty). See also here .
  14. The Sassanidenherrscher Bahram V surnamed Gur (reg. 420/21 to 438/439) chased According to legend, like wild donkeys. This is a play on words with the term Gūr , which means both “wild ass ” and “grave / crypt”.
  15. This means the world.
  16. The references in Gutenberg-DE are insufficient.