Panel of Brussels tapestry in wool and silk circa 1680 having for register La Vie d'Esther, framed by a border imitating frame.
King Ahasuerus falls in love with Esther's charm.
The action takes place after the destruction of the first Temple of Jerusalem and the exile in Babylon. About half a century after Nebuchadnezzar's victory, his empire fell to King Cyrus II of Persia. Although he authorized the return of the Jews to Judea, many continued to live in diaspora in the Persian empire. Esther's account is set around this time in the court of the king of Persia.
With Esther, we are in Persia, in the city of Shushan, at a great feast that the king Ahasuerus gives to his court, and during this staging of pleasures and enjoyments that is to last one hundred and eighty days, the king suddenly has the whim to show his wife, Queen Vashti, naked to the guests. The starting point is there. The whole thing. And one must hear, in the incipit of the book, the unfolding of what Baudelaire called "the oriental splendour": beds of gold and silver, the ground paved with porphyry, mother-of-pearl and black stones. It was drunkenness that prompted the king to order seven of his eunuchs to fetch the queen and show the beauty to the participants of the banquet....
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