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Pseudo-Peter von Danzig

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Gloss and Interpretation of
the Recital on the Long Sword
die gloss und die auslegung der zettel
des langen schwerts
Johannes Liechtenauer.jpg
Author(s) Unknown
Ascribed to Pseudo-Peter von Danzig
Illustrated by Unknown
Date before 1452
Language Early New High German
State of Existence Original hypothetical;
multiple branches exist
Cod. 44.A.8 (1452)
First Printed
English Edition
Tobler, 2010
Concordance by Michael Chidester

"Pseudo-Peter von Danzig" is the name given to an anonymous late 14th or early 15th century German fencing master.[1] Some time before the creation of the Codex 44.A.8 in 1452, he authored a gloss of Johannes Liechtenauer's Recital (Zettel) which would go on to become the most widespread in the tradition. While the identity of the glossator remains unknown, it is possible that he was in fact Jud Lew or Sigmund ain Ringeck, both of whose glosses show strong similarities to the work. On the other hand, the introduction to the Rome version of the text could be construed as attributing it to Liechtenauer himself.


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 devices 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[2] and also incorporates ten paragraphs from Ringeck's gloss and twenty 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 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 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,[3] while Augsburg II (1564) collects only the six illustrated wrestling devices 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), though 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 devices 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 abomination, 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 this article, the differences between them were revealed thereby to be extensive enough that they merit separate consideration. Thus, Branch A has been placed on the page of Jud Lew, to whom is seemingly attributed the gloss on mounted fencing, while Branch B has been retained here. Branch C will be placed on another page in the future.


Temporary division

Additional Resources


  1. This name stems from the false assumption of many 20th century writers identifying him with Peter von Danzig zum Ingolstadt.
  2. Both Augsburg and Salzburg contain significant scribal errors of omission that allow us to identify manuscripts copied from them.
  3. Zabinski, pp 82-83
  4. Per Trosclair, Goliath text reads "In the same way, the counterpart from the left side through, you shall always render hew and tread with each other as one."
  5. Or "tap-hit".
  6. "As painted hereafter" added in the Krakow.
  7. Couplets 102-109.
  8. Couplet 74.
  9. "and binds strongly on your sword therewith" omitted from the Krakow.
  10. 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.
  11. "the Four Openings" omitted from the Krakow.
  12. K. "The Following Technique".
  13. "from all" omitted from the Krakow.
  14. "with" omitted from the Krakow.
  15. Letter erased and overwritten.
  16. "with something" omitted from the Krakow.
  17. This text is a repetition of the first paragraph on folio 68r, but this is the illustration that corresponds to the text in Goliath (folio 54v).
  18. K. "with both hands".
  19. 19.0 19.1 Indecipherable due to an ink blotch.
  20. "and see" omitted from the Krakow.
  21. K. "Here you should drive four windings from both hands from the two over-hangings, that is, the ox".
  22. crosswise? across? obliquely?
  23. satelbogen, maybe saddle horn?
  24. let your lance sink down in front
  25. bridle?
  26. look into this, "in nöten"
  27. zu hilff - to help
  28. This is wrong, it is the 5th figure.
  29. eysenhuet - iron hat
  30. move him? move to him?
  31. Could be bridle. Have it as "reins" because it makes more sense in the context of the play below.
  32. Other one says "too".
  33. Typo in the source, should be 25 (xxv)
  34. Somewhere else it says "strike a glancing blow," I think that's the same idea
  35. This quatrain is a mess
  36. G. "wisely and masterfully".
  37. G. "students".
  38. Corrected from »sein«.
  39. Corrected from »seinem«.
  40. Glasgow contains extensive differences.
  41. The rest vanishes in the binding.
  42. And you should... with the point" omitted from the Glasgow.
  43. G. "work to the openings".
  44. "the face" omitted in the Glasgow.
  45. Clause omitted from the Glasgow.
  46. "you should not defend or displace" omitted from the Glasgow.
  47. Corrected from »dam«.
  48. Corrected from »dem«.
  49. Corrected from »vchsel«.
  50. G. "hold fast the blade and the fingers together".
  51. Corrected from »mit«.