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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
Genres
Language Early New High German
Manuscript(s)
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.

Treatises

Early on in its history, Pseudo-Peter von Danzig's 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, appearing first 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. Branch A was later used by Johannes Lecküchner as a source when he compiled his own gloss of a Recital on the Messer.

Branch B, only found in the Rome (1452), Krakow (1510-20), and Augsburg II (1564) versions, has slightly longer descriptions than Branch A, but fewer devices overall. It glosses Liechtenauer's entire Recital, including the Short Sword, and may therefore be considered more complete than Branch A; it also different from Branch A in that all three known copies are illustrated to some extent where none in the other branch are.

There is one version of the text that defies categorization into one branch or the other, that included in the Vienna manuscript (ca. 1480) along with Paulus Kal's work (thought Kal's level of involvement is unknown). The text of this version is more consistent with the generally shorter descriptions of Branch A, but the contents are more consistent with Branch B, lacking most of the unique devices of Branch A and including the gloss of the Short Sword. The Vienna version may thus 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 work).

While Branches A and B were formerly presented in a single combined document on the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig page, the differences between them are extensive enough that they merit separate consideration. Thus Branch A has been moved here to Jud Lew's page, 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.

Additional Resources

References

  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. Squint here means "an askew glance", referring to both the sword's direction of travel and also the use of deception with the eyes with this hew.