Sheet no. 1
The first column of the text in the scroll, which is the only rectangular column in the manuscript, is surrounded by a depiction of the city that is labeled at the top in the Latin alphabet: "Statt Shusonn".
The representation of the city of Susa (Shushan) continues in the lower part of the next panel, which is filled in detail with numerous buildings. At the top left, there is a long table at which King Ahasuerus and seven princes of Persia and Media - all crowned - are seated (Es. 1:3-8, 14). Every person is labeled in Hebrew, in a semi-cursive script, and the scene incorporates a partial quotation from the Book of Esther (Es. 1:3-5, 13):
ויעש המלך משתה לכל שריו ועבדיו לחצר גנת ביתן. ויאמר המלך לחכמים
Below the banquet table, several figures of men (two of them on horseback), women, and a carriage populate the space. One of the women is crowned and seated; this likely suggests Vashti's banquet (Es. 1:9). Between the figures, Hebrew words from Esther are inscribed:
גם ושתי המלכה עשתה משתה (Es. 1:9)
ותמאן המלכה ושתי לבא (Es. 1:12)
ואשר נגזר עליה (Es. 2:1)
The visual narration continues in the lower margin under the second text panel. Here are depicted riders - likely the king's messengers (Es. 1:22) - and a carriage in which maidens could be brought to the palace (Es. 2:8).
Far on the left, under the third text panel, a group of maidens in sophisticated dress approaches King Ahasuerus. They are arranged according to their height, with the tallest maiden closest to the king, and it can be assumed that this is Esther (Es. 2:16). King Ahasuerus holds a scepter, and the gesture of his other hand suggests that he is choosing Esther.
The upper margin and the spaces between the panels are decorated with floral ornaments.
C | City
B | Buildings
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' banquet (Es. 1:3-8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus and the seven princes of Persia and Media (Es. 1:13-15) | Seven princes of Persia and Media (Es. 1:14)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther and maiden(s) are brought to the palace (Es. 2:8)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Esther presented before Ahasuerus (Es. 2:16)
O | Ornamentation: | Ornament
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Execution of Vashti - beheading
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Ahasuerus' messenger(s) (Es. 1:22)
E | Esther, Book of (following the order of the story) | Vashti's banquet (Es. 1:9)
The manuscript is well preserved, although its opening and final parts are very dark and the decorations on it are damaged.
The final panel is not preserved entirely; to the final part of the membrane and underneath it, a short piece of parchment is glued.
There are some slight damages to the decorations in the scroll.
The Book of Esther in Hebrew
The scroll is formed of 3 sheets, containing in total 17 "columns" of text of 16, 18, 20-24, or 26 lines each. "Col." 15 includes 11 lines divided into two half-columns.
The lines of the text fit the shape of the panels, therefore they are of different lengths.
The number of the text columns per membrane: no. 1 - 4, no. 2 - 7, no. 3 - 6.
The text is written in Hebrew square Ashkenazi script with tagin in brown ink on the flesh side of the parchment membranes.
Additions to the text in the semi-cursive script are written.
The letters ח (Es. 1:6) and ת (Es. 9:29) are enlarged and bolded. Other enlarged and diminished letters are included in col. 15.
The ruling is made with a hard point; only horizontal lines are visible.
The pricking is invisible.
The membranes in the scroll are stitched together.
The caption "Statt Susonn" written in Latin letters above the cityscape at the top of the first column of the text appears.
This megillah is one of three scrolls from Germany featuring similar decorative programs, most likely executed by the same anonymous artist. However, only this one includes figurative scenes of the Esther story. All three of them, in their opening panels, show cityscapes of Susa (Shushan), the capital of the ancient Persian Empire. All three also bear the caption "Statt Susonn" written in Latin letters - hence the designation for the scroll's artist. The other scroll is in the collection of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (S44), and the third one was sold at the New York Sotheby's auction in 2013 (see "Bibliography").
The scroll was reproduced in a limited edition facsimile by Linda and Michael Falter, Facsimile Editions Limited, London:
https://www.facsimile-editions.com/en/me/ (accessed on 24.09.2020).
The lot description of one of the other scrolls by the same artist: