Interesting post

An Historian Goes to the Movies

My last post outlined what we know about Omar Khayyam, the Persian poet, mathematician, and astronomer who is the eponymous hero of Omar Khayyam (aka The Lifes, Loves, and Adventures of Omar Khayyam, 1957, dir. William Dieterle). So what did the film do with him?

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(Note that this poster calls Khayyam a “military leader so great an army of assassins fell before his genius!” That’s what we historians technically call “bullshit.”)

The film opens with a long voice-over. “A thousand years ago, the Persian Empire stretched all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to India and down to Egypt. This great empire was ruled by a warrior shah. He had the absolute power of life and death. Even the most exalted bent at his feet. Yet this mighty ruler would now be forgotten but for the work of a man who among the humblest of his subjects: Omar Khayyam…

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