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Jud Lew
Occupation Fencing master
Ethnicity Jewish (?)
Movement Liechtenauer Tradition
Language Early New High German
Concordance by Michael Chidester
Translations Traducción castellano

Jud Lew is the name (or possibly pseudonym) of a 15th century German fencing master. The appellation "Jude" seems to signify that he was Jewish, though Jude was also a surname of some non-Jewish families, and 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, an anonymous compilation of various fencing treatises created in the 1460s. In fact, his name is only associated with a single section of that book,[2] a gloss of Johannes Liechtenauer's Recital on mounted fencing that is one 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, this is almost certainly an error.[3] By convention, the gloss of Liechtenauer's Recital on long sword fencing that generally accompanies this mounted gloss is also attributed to Lew.


Early on in its history, the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss seems to have split into two or three primary branches, and no definite copies of the unaltered original are known to survive. The gloss of Sigmund ain Ringeck also seems to be related to this work, due to the considerable overlap in text and contents, but it is currently unclear if Ringeck's gloss is based on that of pseudo-Danzig or if they both derive from an even earlier original gloss (or even if Ringeck and pseudo-Danzig are the same author and the "Ringeck" gloss should be considered Branch D).

Branch A, first attested in the Augsburg version (1450s) and comprising the majority of extant copies, has more plays overall than Branch B but generally shorter descriptions in areas of overlap. It also glosses only Liechtenauer's Recital on long sword and mounted fencing; 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 (or, in the case of the 1512 Vienna II, Ringeck's short sword gloss). Apart from the Augsburg, the other principal text in Branch A is the Salzburg version (1491), which was copied independently[4] and also incorporates twelve paragraphs from Ringeck's gloss and nineteen paragraphs from an unidentified third source. Branch A was redacted by Paulus Hector Mair (three mss., 1540s), Lienhart Sollinger (1556), and Joachim Meyer (1570), which despite being the latest is the cleanest extant version and was likely either copied directly from the original or created by comparing multiple versions to correct their errors. It was also one of the bases for Johannes Lecküchner's gloss 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 plays 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 differs 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 from the Rome,[5] while Augsburg II (1564) collects only the six illustrated wrestling plays from the Krakow. Even more anomalous is the Glasgow version (1508), consisting solely of a nearly complete redaction of the short sword gloss (assigning it 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.

A Branch C might be said to exist as well, first attested in the Vienna version (1480s). It is unclear whether it was derived independently from the original, represents an intermediate evolutionary step between Branches A and B, or was created by simply merging copies of the other branches together. The structure and contents of this branch very closely align with Branch B, lacking most of the unique plays of Branch A and including the gloss of the short sword, but the actual text is more consistent with that of Branch A. A fragment of Branch C appears in the writings of Jörg Wilhalm Hutter (several mss., 1520s), though Glasgow II (1533) assigns the fragment a much earlier origin, stating that it was devised by one Nicolaüs in 1489.

Finally, there is one version of the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss that defies categorization into any branch, namely the one that Mair created based on papers purchased from the estate of Antonius Rast. This gloss is a chimeric work, combining text from all three branches in an apparently-arbitrary sequence, and then concluding with the final eighteen paragraphs of Ringeck.

While all branches were originally presented in a single concordance in the pseudo-Peter von Danzig article, the differences between them are extensive enough that they merit separate consideration. Thus, Branch A has been placed here on the page of Jud Lew, to whom is seemingly attributed the gloss on mounted fencing, while Branch B has been retained on the main pseudo-Danzig page and branch C is now on the Nicolaüs Augsburger page.