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Died after 1489
Occupation Fencing master
Movement Augsburg tradition
Influences Johannes Liechtenauer
Influenced Jörg Wilhalm Hutter
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Archetype(s) Currently lost
Concordance by Michael Chidester

Nicolaüs was a 15th century German fencing master, presumably from Augsburg.[1] Nothing is known about this master outside of his treatise, but he seems to have been an initiate of the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer (his treatise always appears coupled with a repetition of the grand master's Recital). On or around 2 July 1489,[2] he seems to have completed some version of a gloss on fencing with the long sword, apparently based on the anonymous pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss of Liechtenauer's Recital.


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[3] 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,[4] 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.

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 well understood.

(A final text of interest is the treatise of Hans Medel von Salzburg, which was acquired by Mair in 1539[5] and bound into the Cod. I.6.2º.5 after 1566.[6] 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 Ringeck and Nicolaüs. 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 on the page of Lew, Branch B has been retained on the main pseudo-Danzig page, and branch C is presented here.

To allow easier comparison between the two complete versions, Augsburg II is presented in the column next to Vienna, before the earlier fragmentary versions.

Additional Resources


  1. His work is only associated with treatises by Aurgsubrg residents.
  2. The date of the Visitation of Mary, the feast day mentioned in the Glasgow version of his treatise.
  3. Both Augsburg and Salzburg contain significant scribal errors of omission that allow us to identify manuscripts copied from them.
  4. Zabinski, pp 82-83
  5. Medel's section of the Cod. I.6.2º.5 is internally dated on folio 21r.
  6. The record of the Marxbrüder in the manuscript ends on folio 20r with the year 1566, so Mair couldn't have acquired it before then.
  7. 7.0 7.1 In Hutter, there is no demarcation between the verse and the gloss, and these two paragraphs appear to belong to the verse.
  8. Vienna: cleave closely behind
  9. Vienna: completely wrong
  10. Written "with before" in the text, which marks indicating that the words should be reversed.
  11. Augsburg: "Gloss: When you arrive at the opponent, then whatever you wish to fence, drive that with your entire strength. Strike them to the head and to the body from close proximity and remain with your point in front of their face or chest, so that they cannot change through in front of your point. And then if they bind strongly against your sword and rise up high with their sword, then strike below to their body or give them a flesh wound upon their arm before they come to their senses and immediately dart back from that."
  12. Könnte auch als »thun« gelesen werden.
  13. Augsburg terminates here.
  14. Vienna: threats
  15. Augsburg II: You will learn about this hereafter
  16. Augsburg II: "Gloss: Note here the correct chief components of the recital of the long sword have been named and is seventeen side by side."
  17. Vienna: "those will be clarified.
  18. Augsburg II: descending cut
  19. sic. The next line reads: "then you cut from above from your right side as well" It is from their right side. The Augsburg II conserves this mistake
  20. Augsburg II: when the opponent strikes for your head from your right side from above
  21. Line is omitted from the Vienna
  22. Augsburg II: displace. (Matches the Lew)
  23. Augsburg II omits: or cut
  24. Vienna omits "not"
  25. Vienna omits "with all cuts and thrusts"
  26. The verse matching this is slightly different further down: "Learn to remain upon them if you wish to finish", but this phrasing does somewhat exist in the version of the zettel without the gloss in the Vienna, on folio 105r.
  27. Vienna omits with
  28. Augsburg II omits with
  29. Augsburg II omits: with the short edge
  30. Vienna omits: and with that, drop back down with your arms
  31. Vienna: pommel
  32. Augsburg II omits holding
  33. Abridged from pPvD
  34. Augsburg II omits: "threatens to cut in from above and come before yours" and replaces it with: "and waits upon you" as per the Lew
  35. Here the Vienna version is similar to Pseudo-Peter von Danzig, whereas the Augsberg version resembles Lew.
  36. Augsburg II: "Gloss: This is When you initiate a cut via the cross cut, do it with strength. Then if they parry, rise up to the weak of their sword with the strong of your sword. If you then seize the weak of their sword, work over their sword to either the lower opening or high against their neck by mutating. But if they are too strong mit their act of parrying, then shove their sword away and strike on their other side via the cross cut. Or if they will rush in, then take the slice under their arms or await the wrestling.
  37. Augsburg II: body
  38. Vienna: left
  39. Vienna omits
  40. Augsburg II: notable
  41. Augsburg II: aborts during the cut of your sword
  42. Vienna: omits this line
  43. Munich I: inverted/twisted
  44. Obviously the writer left out a part here because it starts with the right Plfug and ends with the left.
  45. Vienna and Augsburg II omits
  46. Vienna omits
  47. "at your right shoulder" omitted from Augsburg II.
  48. "or with your point" omitted from Vienna and Augsburg II.
  49. Vienna: "And pinning is executed like this: When you come to the opponent with the initiation of fencing, then position yourself with your sword in either the guard of the ox or of the plow. Then if the opponent will from their right side either cut in from above or thrust in from below, note when they lift up their sword to strike or draws towards themselves below to thrust and shoot in ahead into long point into their left side opening before they can deploy their cut or thrust and see if can you pin them."
  50. Vienna: "Do the same when the opponent initiates a cut from below and this goes to both sides. Then if they become aware of your pinning and parries, then keep your sword against theirs and do not draw away from it and work quite swiftly with your sword to the nearest opening so they cannot come to any play. Then if they withdraw themselves from your sword, execute the racing behind which will be explained to you hereafter."
  51. kainer
  52. Wolfenbüttel: Broken gate to the outside
  53. Vienna omits
  54. Augsburg II omits
  55. Augsburg and the others follow the lew: "either cut in from the act of parrying or wind in against your sword"
  56. The others follow the lew: "either misfires or ..."
  57. Vienna: The text about overrunning
  58. The others: "and take the slice"
  59. Vienna: through, Wolfenbüttel: "press it"
  60. The others omit "opening of"
  61. Others: again
  62. Vienna omits: "nor pin you"
  63. All Hutter copies end with: "When he Parries before you and allows the point to already run…"
  64. Augsburg II introduces scribal error. "Thut im we" became "thut ime be…"
  65. bind you down
  66. Augsburg omits
  67. Vienna: right
  68. Augsburg II keeps this with the previous play like in the Lew.
  69. Augsburg II has left as in the Rome
  70. Augsburg II has right as in the Rome
  71. This paragraph appears after 98 in the Vienna, which seems to be an error.
  72. Vienna repeats "vnd haw im am swert", a scribal error.
  73. Korrigiert aus »das«.
  74. This is the end of the Augsburg II Nicolaus gloss. The remainder of the gloss in Augsburg II is taken from Sigmund ain Ringeck.
  75. unclear: could be a small boat, or the area around something. I think this is referencing the wind and counter wind. See Ringeck for additional context