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

Lew or Lewe is the presumed name of a 15th century German fencing master. 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]

The name Lewe means "lion" and might have been a nickname or pseudonym. The colophon to the Cod. I.6.4º.3,[2] which states "Here ends the Jewish art of the man called Lew", has lead people to fabricate names like Jud Lew or Jude Lew (meaning "Lew the Jew"), even though such a name doesn't appear anywhere in the historical record, and even to speculate that Lew might be a Germanization of a Hebrew name like Levi.

Lew is sometimes erroneously credited with authoring the whole of the Cod. I.6.4º.3, which is an anonymous compilation of various fencing treatises created in the 1460s. His name is actually associated with just two sections of that book: he is credited as the author of an armored fencing treatise which was really written by Martin Huntsfeld,[3] and is mentioned at the end of a gloss of Johannes Liechtenauer's Recital on mounted fencing[4] (by convention, the gloss of Liechtenauer's Recital on long sword fencing that almost always accompanies this mounted gloss is also attributed to Lew). Though this colophon is generally regarded as indicating that Lew authored the gloss (which is one branch of the larger Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss family), it could alternatively be interpreted to mean that Lew was the scribe or client for the whole manuscript.


Early on in its history, the prototype of the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss seems to have split into at least three 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 a fourth branch).

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 Lignitzer and Martin Huntsfeld (or, in the case of the 1512 Vienna II, Ringeck's short sword gloss). Branch A is sometimes called the Lew gloss, based on a potential attribution at the end of the mounted gloss in a few copies. Apart from the Augsburg, the other principal text in Branch A is the Salzburg version (1491), which was copied independently[5] 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 (1535-40) seems to be an incomplete (though extensively illustrated) copy taken from the Rome,[6] 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 which begins with seven paragraphs of unknown origin. The other version of Branch B is the Vienna, which includes the mounted and short sword sections but omits the long sword in favor of Branch C. A fifth manuscript, the Falkner Turnierbuch, is known to have once existed but seems to have been destroyed in the Siege of Strasbourg.

Branch C is 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 (though not identical). The other substantial copy of Branch C is the Augsburg version II (1553), which was created by Paulus Hector Mair based on the writings of Antonius Rast, and which segues into the text of Ringeck's gloss for the final eighteen paragraphs. A substantial fragment of Branch C is present in five additional 16th century manuscripts alongside the illustrated treatise of Jörg Wilhalm Hutter; one of these, Glasgow II (1533) assigns the text a much earlier origin, stating that it was devised by one Nicolaüs in 1489. This branch has received the least attention and is currently the least understood.

(A final text of interest is the treatise of Hans Medel von Salzburg, which was acquired by Mair in 1539[7] and bound into the Cod. I.6.2º.5 after 1566.[8] Medel demonstrates familiarity with the teachings of a variety of 15th century Liechtenauer masters, and his text often takes the form of a revision and expansion of the long sword glosses of Branch C and Ringeck. Because of the extent of the original and mixed content, Medel's versions are not included in any of these pages.)


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 Lew, Branch B has been retained on the main pseudo-Danzig page, and branch C is now on the Nicolaüs page.