The second sheet contains three panels (nos. 4-6) with six columns of the text (nos. 7-12) and
Frame 7 (text panel 4 - upper margin): On the right, a man (Haman?) dictates the decree against Jews to a scribe who sits at a table before him attended by two other men (Es. 3:12). On the left is the crowned Esther in a courtyard surrounded by a wall. A man (possibly her servant, Hatach) wearing a turban is facing her as if speaking and two maid-servants stand behind her. In the background, in front of the palace gate, is another man in a turban on his head (most likely Mordecai) (Es. 4:4).
Frame 8 (text panel 4 - lower margin): Both episodes included in the cartouche depict Hatach delivering the messages between Esther and Mordecai. On the right, Esther sits on a throne topped by a canopy, flanked by two maid-servants, holding a scepter in her left hand. She is pointing at a man (possibly Hatach) who stands facing her and raises his hands in a gesture of speech (Es. 4:5). On the left, Mordecai stands with folded arms within the palace gate facing a man (Hatach?) who also raises his hands in a gesture of speech (Es. 4:5-7).
Frame 9 (text panel 5 - upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on the throne with a canopy and extends his scepter to the crowned Esther who kneels before him and touches the tip of it. Two men stand behind the throne and Esther is accompanied by two maid-servants who stand in the doorway (Es. 5:2-3). On the left, the first banquet given by Esther is depicted. Esther, Ahasuerus, and Haman sit at a round, laid table set in palace gardens. A man serving dishes is just approaching the table (Es. 5:5).
Frame 10 (text panel 5 - lower margin): On the right, Haman wearing a turban stands and talks to two women; most likely one of them is Zeresh, Haman's wife, suggesting that he build the gallows for Mordecai (Es. 5:14). In the central part of the frame stands the gallows prepared by Haman for Mordecai (Es. 5:14). On the left, Ahasuerus reclines on a bed and two men stand before him; one of them reads from an open book to the king (Es. 6:1).
Frame 11 (text panel 6 - upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus stands next to his throne and points at Haman who stands before him as they talk (Es. 6:6-10). On the left, Mordecai rides a horse followed by two men and Haman walks before him while blowing a trumpet (Es. 6:11). The scene of the triumph of Mordecai is supplemented by the depiction of Haman's daughter who, from a window above, empties a chamber pot on her father's head (T.B. Meg. 16).
Frame 12 (text panel 6 - lower margin): On the right is the second banquet given by Esther (Es. 7:1). The queen sits at a round laid table and is accompanied by Ahasuerus, who sits on the throne topped by a canopy, and by Haman, who sits between them. In the central part of the frame, Haman begs for his life and is prostrate on the floor before Esther while Ahasuerus is returning from the palace gardens (Es. 7:7-8). On the left, Ahasuerus stands in the palace garden with a scepter in his hand and is accompanied by two chamberlains; one of them may be Harbonah, who suggests hanging Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai (Es. 7:9).
The length of the membranes in the scroll: 1) ca. 530 mm, 2) ca. 390 mm, 3) ca. 395 mm, 4) ca. 255 mm.
An average letter is higher than 2 mm.
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther is informed of the plot by her maiden(s) and servant(s) (Es. 4:4)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther sends Hatach to speak to Mordecai (Es. 4:5)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus extending his scepter to Esther (Es. 5:2)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther touching the scepter (Es. 5:2)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther's first banquet (Es. 5:5-8)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Gallows built for Mordecai (Es. 5:14)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman talks to his wife, Zeresh, and friends (Es. 5:14)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus listening to the Book of Records (Es. 6:1-3)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Hatach before Mordecai (Es. 4:5-7)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus asks Haman how to honour a man he wishes to reward (Es. 6:5-10)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai's triumph (Es. 6:11)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman's daughter empties a chamber pot on her father's head (Bab. Talmud, Megillah 16a)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther's second banquet (Es. 7:1)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus returns from the palace garden (Es. 7:8)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman begging for his life (Es. 7:8)
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Harbona suggests to hang Haman (Es. 7:9)
Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
Ornamentation: | Endless knot
Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Scribe(s) writing Haman's decree (Es. 3:12)
In general, the scroll is well preserved, however, its state of preservation varies depending on the sheet. The differences concern especially the state of preservation of the text and the coloring of the background on the upper and lower margins.
The second sheet shows diagonal stripes of faded or erased text that in these places is difficult to decipher.
On the third membrane, the text is almost illegible (cols. 13-16) and it contrasts very strongly with the column on the fourth sheet that has been preserved in almost perfect condition (the same is true about its decoration).
The edges of the sheets are straight, but there are some stains on them, e.g. on the third sheet at the top, there is a large wax (?) stain.
The scroll consists of 4 membranes, with 19 text columns each with 23 lines per column, except for col. 16 which has 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
Sheets nos. 1-3 contain 3 double text columns and the last sheet contains a single panel.
The text is inscribed in small Italian square Hebrew script, in black ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes.
The state of preservation of the text in col. 16 does not allow to determine if the enlarged and diminished letters are inscribed in it; however, it seems that the letter ו in the last line is enlarged. The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are highlighted.
The parchment is bright, rather thick and stiff. Sheet no. 3 is made of a different type of parchment.
The ruling is visible; the least visible are the lines on the first sheet. On all sheets, vertical lines are more strongly marked.
The membranes are stitched together.
The hues of blue paint in which the background was colored vary on the subsequent membranes.
The endless knot patterns were originally decorated with gold paint.
On the second and fourth sheets, there are the seals of the Erlangen University Library.
The scroll is mentioned by Johann Christoph Wagenseil (1633-1705), a German historian, Orientalist, jurist, and Christian Hebraist in his work "Von Erziehung eines jungen Prinzen..." (see "Bibliography"). This is the oldest historical testimony of its existence and at the same time, the earliest mention of the manuscripts adorned with this pattern that is crucial for their dating. Wagenseil claimed that it is the oldest Hebrew manuscript in the world and that is from Persia ("Von Erziehung eines jungen Prinzen..., 229") that must be considered only a metaphor.
The scroll was exhibited on the "Synagoga" exhibition that took place in 1960/1961 in Recklinghausen and in 1961 in Frankfurt am Main (respectively objects B 65 and 128 in the catalogues - see "Bibliography").
The manuscript is mentioned in:
Johann Konrad Irmischer, Handschriften-Katalog der Königlichen Universitäts-Bibliothek zu Erlangen, Frankfurt am Main-Erlangen (Heyder und Zimmer) 1852, 1-2, object 4.
Ernst Roth, Hans Stridl, Lothar Tetzner, Hebräische Handschriften. Teil 2 (Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Bd. VI, 2.), Wiesbaden 1965, object 56.
Synagoga. Kultgeräte und Kunstwerke von der Zeit der Patriarchen bis zur Gegenwart, Städtische Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, 3. November 1960 – 15. Januar 1961, ed. Anneliese Schröder, Recklinghausen 1961, object B 65.
Synagoga. Jüdische Altertümer Handschriften und Kultgeräte. Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main, 17. Mai – 16. Juli 1961, Frankfurt am Main 1961, object 128.
Mendel Metzger, Eine illustrierte Estherrolle der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts im Historischen Museum Frankfurt am Main, mit einem Anhang über Megilla-Hülsen, „Schriften des Historischen Museums Frankfurt am Main”, 13 (1972), 95–116.
Theodor Ehrenstein, Das Alte Testament im Bilde: ein Illustrationswerk mit über 2000 Abbildungen, Wien 1923, 911, image 66 (a reproduction of a fragment).
Johann Christoph Wagenseil, Von Erziehung eines jungen Prinzen, der vor allen Studien einen Abscheu hat, daß er dennoch gelehrt und geschickt werde, Leipzig 1705, 229.
The scrolls sharing the same pattern are discussed in:
Dagmara Budzioch, The Decorated Esther Scrolls from the Museum of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and the Tradition of Megillot Esther Decoration in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries – An Outline [Polish: Dekorowane zwoje Estery z Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Warszawie na tle tradycji dekorowania megillot Ester w XVII i XVIII wieku. Zarys problematyki], Warsaw 2019, 1:119-128.
For more information on Wagenseil see e.g.
Harry Zohn, M.C. Davis, Johann Christoph Wagenseil, Polymath, Monatshefte, vol. 46, No. 1 (Jan., 1954), 35-40.