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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Esther

Biblical, flourished circa 450 B.C.E., Persia (modern-day Iran, Afghanistan)

Esther, a Jew, was taken as a wife by the king of Persia, Ahasuerus. Not long after, Ahasuerus gave his minister, Haman, authority to rid Persia of all Jewish people by means of genocide. Esther intervened and wrested the concession that Jews were to be allowed to defend themselves against their enemies. Haman and his sons were hanged and many of his followers, all anti-Semites, were killed. The Jewish feast of Purim commemorates this victory.