Img. ID: 328273
The third sheet contains three panels (nos. 7-9) with six columns of the text (nos. 13-18) and
Frame 13 (text panel 7 - upper margin): On the right, Haman is hanged on the gallows (Es. 7:10). A ladder leans against it and three guards, holding spears, stand on the left. At Haman's feet, there is a dog that is looking at him. On the left, Ahasuerus sits on the throne topped with a canopy and extends his scepter to Esther who kneels at his feet and touches the tip of the scepter. Mordecai stands in the background and watches the scene (Es. 8:1-4). This depicts either the moment when the king gives Haman's properties to Esther (Es. 8:1) or when Esther is pleading to annul Haman's decree (Es. 8:3-4).
Frame 14 (text panel 7 - lower margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on a throne under a canopy and extends the scepter to Esther who kneels at his feet and touches the tip of the scepter. Behind the throne stands a man (Mordecai?) and in the background, two king's scribes sit at a table and write the king's decree (Es. 8:9). On the left, two mounted messengers ride towards a walled city on the far left (Es. 8:14).
Frame 15 (text panel 8 - upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on a throne topped with a canopy and holds a scepter in one hand and with the other hand, he points at Mordecai, who stands before him wearing a turban and an overcoat and bows slightly before the king (Es. 8:15). In the center, figures are fighting in a field; two men are lying on the ground. This is one of the moments when Jews battle their enemies but it is difficult to determine which particular verse is illustrated here (Es. 9:5-12). On the left, five men sit around a laid table. The scene most likely depicts the happiness of Jews at the news of the king's new decree (Es. 8:16-17).
Frame 16 (text panel 8 - lower margin): Several figures are depicted fighting in a field flanked by buildings. Four soldiers holding spears emerge from the left and several bodies already lay on the ground. The scene can depict either Jews who battle their enemies (Es. 9:5-12) or an additional day of the Jews fighting against their enemies (Es. 9:15-16).
Frame 17 (text panel 9 - upper margin): On the right, Ahasuerus sits on the throne under a canopy and holds a scepter. The crowned Esther kneels before him and she is attended by her two maid-servants. On the left, Haman's ten sons are hanging on the same gallows and on either side of it, a guard with a spear in his hand is standing (Es. 9:14).
Frame 18 (text panel 9 - lower margin): Seven men in turbans on their heads who sit around a long laid table are depicted. Two servants carrying trays go out of the room from both sides (Es. 9:17).
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.
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus giving Esther the house of Haman (Es. 8:1)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus extending his scepter to Esther (Es. 8:4)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | New decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves (Es. 8:8-10)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' messenger(s) (Es. 8:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Mordecai before Ahasuerus in royal apparel (Es. 8:15)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour (Es. 8:16-17)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Jews battle their enemies (Es. 9:5-12)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Haman's sons hanged (Es. 9:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther asks the king to hang Haman's sons (Es. 9:13)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Additional day of fighting (Es. 9:15-16)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | First Purim feast (Es. 9:17-23)
O | Ornamentation: | Foliate and floral ornaments | Floral motif
O | Ornamentation: | Endless knot
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther at Ahasuerus' feet, pleading he annuls Haman's decree (Es. 8:3)
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.