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More on the Great Omar and the Titanic

May 1, 2016

An earlier post drew attention to the story of the Great Omar, a very fine copy of the Rubaiyat which went down with the Titanic.  We have now been alerted to an article on the subject, originating we think in Eastern Europe, which can be found on the following site:

We don’t know the language used, but think it may be Serbian or Croatian?  Does any reader know the language?  If so, would you be able to give us all an idea of what is in the article?  Please comment below.  And thanks for any help.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2016 9:16 pm

    Unedited Google Translate: May 1, 2016

    Unhappy edition Rubaije Omar Khayyam – goods from the Titanic

    April 14, 2016

    If you read Samarkand Amin Maalufa and before heard of Omar Khayyam and read his Rubaije (songs in four lines), you must have wondered whether the Titanic actually found the original collection. The truth is that it is not. But, apparently, was found one extremely valuable copies.

    Omar Khayyam (1048-1122) was a famous Persian mathematician and poet. As a mathematician, he was much better known until Edward Fitzgerald, an Englishman who studied Persian literature in the 1850s, has not translated his collection Rubaije. 1860 is translated and printed in the coming years has experienced a tremendous honor and drew attention to the poet.

    Sangorski and Sutcliffe’s bookbinding company that was founded in London in 1901. From 1905 they began to deal with the extremely luxurious connectivity which included a variety of valuable materials which expressed the value of the book and the prestige of its owner. Sangorski dreamed of decorations Ficdžeraldov translation Rubaije with ilustacijama that he did Elihu Vedder 1884. This was after it was best illustrated edition.

    Connecting included sheets of gold, silver, satin, mahogany, ivory, multiple layers of color, rubies, topaz, turquoise, amethyst, emerald, gemstones. On the cover of the book was found over 1,050 gems and three peacocks, which are symbolized Persia.

    When it’s finally done, 1911 – 1912, the company has decided to send the book to America to be sold there, but there was a problem concerning the collection of customs duties and books after unsuccessful negotiations returned by ship to England. In England, he gave the famous auction house Sotheby, 29 March 1912. But misfortune followed the owners and is the time in the UK there was a miners’ strike and the economic crisis that caused the lack of interest of collectors. At the end of the book was sold to an American for 405 pounds, the then $ 2,025, which, according to the New York Times was barely a third of the invested amount.

    In Britain, many have rebelled because they wanted the book to remain in the country, but Sotheby’s had to comply with the auction and the new owner, however, is the book for the third time ended on a boat wrapped in an oak box. If not for Omar Khayyam, for this boat are certainly all heard. It was the Titanic.

    15 April 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg south of Newfoundland and sank a few hours carrying a 1,517 lives and Rubaije about 4 kilometers to the ocean floor.

    The remains of the Titanic were found in 1985 and since then the parts of the wreck and its treasures extracted or Rubaije have not found it raises the question of the truth of this story. Are Rubaije sent the Titanic? Are destroyed during the year under water and they were left only jewels scattered across the ocean floor? Does this release is somewhere hidden from the public? Everything is possible.

    To make the story even more interesting, I Sangorski suffered the fate of their beloved books just a few weeks after the Titanic disaster. Reportedly drowned trying to save a woman, and no I was not a swimmer.

    Appearance Cover the third edition

    After the accident, Sutcliffe took over the company and joined his nephew, Stanley Bray. Bray in 1932 found the original design for Rubaije and decided to create a new “Great Wardrobe”. Prevented the Second World War and flash blitzkrieg in which the company was bombed and books were destroyed. Bray then made the third edition of “Great Wardrobe” by 1989, which is now exhibited in the British Library.

    The tragic history of the book and all connected with it, of course, spawned the legend of her curse. The defendants are peacocks on the cover, because according to some beliefs, peacocks bring misfortune. Think and about.

    In the end, what many of you have been waiting for, the book is estimated at about 40,000 dollars, and whether its value was much greater because of the connection with the Titanic. Now you judge for yourself whether it’s worth tempting fate and the curse that supposedly follows.

    In the gallery you can see some of Vederovih illustration (click to enlarge).

  2. May 2, 2016 8:00 am

    Thanks for that contribution, Danton. We wonder what provoked the original article. Did you gather what language it was in?

  3. Garry Garrard permalink
    May 2, 2016 4:13 pm

    I can’t provide any input myself, but I asked my daughter-in-law who doesn’t speak Croat, Serbian etc but has some knowledge of N European linguistics (she translates Norwegian and Swedish for a living).
    She said: I’m getting the answer of Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian too. (To what extent those are actually separate languages seems to be largely a matter of politics.) Something about a copy of the Rubaiyat that went down on the Titanic? If you put it through Google Translate a paragraph or sentence at a time, it should give you a rough idea:

    GUIDE TO MODERN treasure hunters
    If you read Samarkand Amin Maalufa and before heard of Omar Khayyam and read his Rubaije ( songs in four lines ) , you must have wondered whether the Titanic actually found the original collection . The truth is that it is not . But , apparently , was found one extremely valuable copies .
    And so on. Probably a story you already know?

    As even she says (I haven’t given her any tuition in the Rubaiyat!), it looks like an old story retold with some dubious interpretation. Maalufa’s Samarkand, for anyone who hasn’t read it, is a reasonably diverting blend of fact and fiction which invents the history of Khayyam’s Rubaiyat from 11th century Persia up to the Titanic. However, for anyone (like us all) who knows the true story it will take its place on the “Fiction” shelves of their library.
    I’ll be interested in any other input.

  4. May 2, 2016 4:48 pm

    Hi! I am the creator of the article 🙂 It’s in Serbian language, but it can be read in Croatian, Bosnian (etc.) because it’s almost the same in those languages.

    I am an PhD student in Arabic language and history of Islamic civilization and culture, so I am interested in Omar Khayyam. The article only begins with the legend sparkled by Samarkand but it’s actually a short research. I am trying to promote science in my country by blogging about history, mythology, archaeology, but I am trying to make things more interesting for people by calling it treasure hunting. No one hunts anything. It’s a blog about lost and found treasure of great historical, cultural and material value. I am a researcher, so it might look unprofessional but it’s all just to make it more interesting for my readers.

    If you would like any information about Khayyam’s Rubaiyat in our language, country or anything else, please, be free to ask. And thank you for mentioning my blog. 🙂

    Svetlana (a.k.a. Alimatundra)

  5. May 2, 2016 4:51 pm

    P.S. I have listed your site in the “sources” section.

  6. May 2, 2016 5:07 pm

    Hello Svetlana (a.k.a. Alimatundra)! It’s good to hear from you and to know more about your article. Congratulation on your attempts to widen knowledge in your country. If you have information about Rubaiyat editions and studies in Serbia, it would be great if you could share this knowledge?

  7. May 2, 2016 5:37 pm

    Well, in Faculty of Philology in Belgrade we have a department for Oriental studies (my department). It was founded in 1926. and the founder, Fehim Bajrakterević, was in love with Omar Khayyam’s poetry. He translated it into Serbo-Croatian. Of course, these first studies about Khayyam were provoked by Edward Fitzgerald’s work.
    There are translations by Safvet-beg Bašagić, Asim Halilović, Dušan Simeonović,… Many others gave their versions of translation for articles, paper works or studies. It is obligatory for us to read and to know about Omar Khayyam in Faculty, and in some places, in primary and high schools.
    I could write much more about translations and studies of Omar Khayyam in ex Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia) and I will if you want. I could do a detailed research in our libraries (after my exams 🙂 ). And if you are interested to see how these translations look like, I have Simeonović’s translation in PDF and docx, and you can download it here:


  8. Roger permalink
    May 2, 2016 7:30 pm

    The article is in Bosnian. If you put the text into Google Translate, you’ll get a good idea of the content, which doesn’t ring anything new.

    • May 3, 2016 11:10 am

      I’m pretty sure it’s in Serbian. 🙂 Some would say it’s the same language, but some would be very angry and advocate their differences.

      Below the text there is a section “Izvori” and it lists every site and blog I’ve used for the post. It would be a great surprise if someone had some new information about this edition of the Rubaiyat.

  9. May 3, 2016 7:49 am

    Thanks Svetlana for your further contribution and the link. It sounds as though Khayyam may be better known in Serbia these days than he is in the UK. We should be happy to post a separate blog item on Khayyam and the Rubaiyat in Serbia, if you have time to write it – no hurry, and no more than some 500 words and preferably with a relevant image. If you can send the text directly to us on, we will post the item.

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