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Jud Lew

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Jud Lew
Born before ca. 1440s
Died date of death unknown
Occupation Fencing master
Ethnicity Jewish
Movement Liechtenauer Tradition
Language Early New High German
Concordance by Michael Chidester
Translations Traducción castellano

Jud Lew was a 15th century German fencing master. His name signifies that he was Jewish, and some sources state that he was baptized Christian. He seems to have stood in the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, though he was not included in Paulus Kal's ca. 1470 list of the members of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer.[1]

Lew is often erroneously credited with authoring the Cod.I.6.4º.3, a compilation of various fencing treatises created in the 1450s. In fact, his name is only associated with a single section of that book, a gloss of Johannes Liechtenauer's Recital on mounted fencing that is a branch of the so-called Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss. Though some versions of Martin Huntfeltz's treatise on armored fencing are also attributed to Lew, but this seems to be an error.


Early on in its history, the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss seems to have split into two primary branches, and no definite copies of the unaltered original are known to survive. The gloss of Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck also seems to be related to this work, due to the considerable overlap in text and contents, but the exact nature of this relationship is currently unclear.

Branch A, first attested in the Augsburg version (1450s) and comprising the majority of extant copies, has more devices overall than the other branch (particularly in the extensive Salzburg version of 1491) but generally shorter descriptions in areas of overlap. It also includes glosses of Liechtenauer's Recital on long sword and mounted fencing only, and in lieu of a gloss of Liechtenauer's short sword it is generally accompanied by the short sword teachings of Andre Liegniczer and Martin Huntfeltz. Apart from containing the most content, the Salzburg version is notable for including nine paragraphs of text that are not found in any other version of Pseudo-Peter von Danzig, but do appear in Ringeck (and constitute almost 10% of that gloss); this predates all known copies of Ringeck's text, but is another indicator of some connection between the works. Branch A was later used by Johannes Lecküchner as a source when he compiled his own gloss of a Recital on the Messer in the late 1470s.

Branch B, attested first in the Rome version (1452), is found in only four manuscripts; it tends to feature slightly longer descriptions than Branch A, but includes fewer devices overall. Branch B glosses Liechtenauer's entire Recital, including the short sword section, and may therefore be considered more complete than Branch A; it also different from Branch A in that three of the four known copies are illustrated to some extent, where none in the other branch are. The Krakow version (1510-20) seems to be an incomplete (though extensively illustrated) copy taken directly from the Rome,[2] while Augsburg II (1564) is taken from the Krakow but only includes the six illustrated devices of wrestling and their respective captions. Even more anomalous is the Glasgow version, consisting solely of a sizeable fragment of the short sword gloss (hence its assignation to Branch B) which is appended to the opening paragraphs of Ringeck's gloss of the same section; since it accompanies Ringeck's long sword and mounted fencing glosses, a possible explanation is that the scribe lacked a complete copy of Ringeck and tried to fill in the deficit with another similar text.

There is one version of the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss that defies categorization into either branch, namely the Vienna version (included in a 1480 manuscript along with Paulus Kal's work, though Kal's personal level of involvement is unknown). The text of this copy is more consistent with the generally shorter descriptions of Branch A, but the overall contents much more closely align with Branch B, lacking most of the unique devices of Branch A and including the gloss of the short sword. The Vienna version may therefore be a copy of the original gloss before it split into these branches (or it may merely be an odd attempt by a scribe to synthesize the two branches into a single, shorter work).

While Branches A and B were originally presented in a single concordance on the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig page, the differences between them were revealed thereby to be extensive enough that they merit separate consideration. Thus Branch A has been moved here to Jud Lew's page, to whom is seemingly attributed the gloss on mounted fencing, while Branch B has been retained on the page of Pseudo-Danzig. As the Vienna version cannot be cleanly assigned to one branch or the other, it will appear in both concordances for comparative purposes.

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Additional Resources


  1. The Fellowship of Liechtenauer is recorded in three versions of Paulus Kal's treatise: MS 1825 (1460s), Cgm 1570 (ca. 1470), and MS KK5126 (1480s).
  2. Zabinski, pp 82-83
  3. "of the man… of the girdle" omitted from the Salzburg. This omission is probably a scribal error, jumping to the second instance of der gürttell.
  4. The subsequent play in Salzburg is taken from the gloss of Sigmund ain Ringeck, and is therefore omitted here.
  5. Fehlstelle im Manuskript.
  6. "and you bind with… standing on the sword" omitted from the Augsburg.
  7. Word omitted in the Augsburg.
  8. "And wind yet… and stab him" omitted from the Augsburg.