Best known in the west as the poet who wrote the Ruba 'iyat, Omar
Khayyam was also one of the leading mathematicians of the Islamic world. This
manuscript of his "Algebra," written in standard Arabic scientific characters,
was probably copied from an earlier manuscript; the work begins with basic
definitions and makes its principal contribution in the field of cubic
equations. Although the "Algebra" was unknown to western mathematicians until
the eighteenth century, Omar received wide recognition for it in the Islamic
world. He was called to the court of Sultan Malik Shah I (1054-1092), where he
revised astronomical tables and introduced a highly accurate calendar. Among the
other fourteen works bound in this volume are two by Sharaf al-Din al Tusi (d.
ca. 1213/1214), one on the height of vertical objects and the other on the
height of the North Pole, and treatises by Alhazen (965-1039) on the astrolabe,
and by al-Farabi (ca. 870-950) on music.