Omar Khayyam, in 11th century Persia,
between glasses of wine,
demonstrates the problems with Euclid’s fifth
Six centuries later
Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri
a Jesuit, trying to show that not
assuming the fifth
postulate leads to contradiction,
derives the major theorems
of hyperbolic geometry
(which two centuries later
will make the fame of Bolyai and Lobachewsky,
not to mention Riemann)
and not realizing what he’s missing
proceeds to declare them nonsensical
and to be rejected.
Saccheri taught philosophy in Turin,
between 1694 and 1697.
Near the Consolata, where he’d catch the morning mass
he sipped “Bavareisa” a concoction
of chocolate, coffee, and milk
and looked at the pretty girls
he could not touch.