Tag Archives: Persia

Hebrew mss @ CUL: The Whole Megillah

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Purim (March 8), here is a Megilat Esther from Columbia's Smith Collection.  Professor David Eugene Smith, a professor at Columbia's Teacher's College from 1901-1926, was a scholar in the History of Mathematics who went around the world collecting manuscripts and rare books related to his topic.  He spent a lot of time in Persia, studying the Persian system of mathematics.  While there, he also purchased some Hebrew manuscripts, like the Esther Scroll shown here, which he then donated to Columbia University.  The story of Esther, of course, takes place in ancient Persia, or present day Iran.

While other such decorated cases exist, it is rare to find one in such good condition due to the fragility of the ivory.

The second image, below, is the portion of the text with the names of the ten sons of Haman.

 

 

Thanks to a project with the National Library of Israel's Institute for Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, the manuscript can be viewed in its entirety here: