Jewish fight masters?

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Jewish fight masters?

Postby admin » 07 May 2008 18:02

Ott the Jew, Jud Lew - who else?
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Postby Phil C » 07 May 2008 18:25

Daniel Mendoza- pugilist and gent.
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Postby Alexander » 12 May 2008 13:20

Andres Jud is mentioned in the Nuremberg Handschrift GNM 3227a.

He probably is the same person as Andres Lignitzer. If Andres Jud and Lignitzer are indeed one and the same, then Andres Lignitzer's brother, Jacob, can be added to the list as well.

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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 13 May 2008 11:48

Alexander wrote:Andres Jud is mentioned in the Nuremberg Handschrift GNM 3227a.

He probably is the same person as Andres Lignitzer. If Andres Jud and Lignitzer are indeed one and the same, then Andres Lignitzer's brother, Jacob, can be added to the list as well.

Alexander
Hmm, rather speculative - I haven't worked so much with 3227a lately, but what makes you believe that Andres Jud is the same person as Andres Lignitzer? If it's just the name Andres, I would be cautious. The name was pretty common for christians.
This is exactly how myths develop - just remember the thing with "Doebringer manuscript"....

Olivier Dupuis did a lecture and workshop on that french guy Andre des Bordes, who was jew and born as Abraham Racinot. IIRC his manuscript dates to 1610.
There must be a transcription online somewhere on the site of Arts d'Armes.

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Postby Alexander » 13 May 2008 17:38

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:
Alexander wrote:Andres Jud is mentioned in the Nuremberg Handschrift GNM 3227a.

He probably is the same person as Andres Lignitzer. If Andres Jud and Lignitzer are indeed one and the same, then Andres Lignitzer's brother, Jacob, can be added to the list as well.

Alexander
Hmm, rather speculative - I haven't worked so much with 3227a lately, but what makes you believe that Andres Jud is the same person as Andres Lignitzer? If it's just the name Andres, I would be cautious.

Fair enough. In 3227a, IIRC, an Andres Jud (or Juden) is credited as a fight master. So there's not much doubt about there being at least one jewish master mentioned.

I agree that saying that the two Andreses are the same is conjecture. Perhaps I should have said "possibly" instead of "probably" though one does have to wonder what the chances are of there being two fight masters both called Andres.
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Likely No Jewish Fechtmeister

Postby Jeffrey Hull » 23 May 2008 02:17

It seems incorrect to speak of Jewish "fight-masters", or more precisely, "fencing masters".

For one thing, various Medieval German legal texts (Sachsenspiegel, Schwabenspiegel, etc.) make it quite clear that Jews were banned from the right to bearing arms. That makes it difficult to be a fencer much less a fencing master. Plus the business of knighthood and its arms & armour, and especially in context of its warfare & dueling, were so intertwined with Christian ritual and tradition, it seems unlikely that Christian knights would have dealt with anybody other than someone else allowed to bear arms like themselves (i.e. a Christian fencing master).

The two individuals mentioned thus probably were not fechtmeister. Ott der Jude must indeed have been a ringenmeister (wrestling master), but that does not make him a fechtmeister (who would be dealing with weaponry as well); indeed, no fencing lore is ascribed to him. However, Kal (1462) calls him Maister and speaks of his wrestling, listing him in the "Liechtenauer society" (liechtenawer…geselschafft) of like a dozen-and-a-half martial masters; while Talhoffer (1443) speaks highly of & presents copy of his ringen (wrestling). Yet we may note, that depite often being called der Jud, that Ott was someone "who had become a baptised Jew" (der eyn tauffter Jud ist gewesen) -- thus he was nominally a Christian. In any event, wrestling being unarmed combatives, such was available and legal to German Jews -- and apparently Ott excelled at it. Indeed, Kal stated Ott was he who had become the lord of Austrian wrestlers (der der hern von osterreicher ringer gewessen ist) -- and not the "wrestling teacher to the lords of Austria" as mistakenly interpreted by some (Galas, 1997 & Rector, 2000). However, it is possible that he was a teacher of ringen to whomever, including Christian knights.

Jud Lew's writings (1452) are derivative, even copies, of various masters (Liechtenauer, Von Danzig, Hundsfeld, Ott). Perhaps somehow he was a fechter (fencer) despite the aforesaid pervasive legal exclusion; and evidently he was scribe & editor; but we cannot confirm that he was a fechtmeister.

Andres Jud gets mentioned by Priest Doebringer (1389) as one of three co-authors (i.e. with Josts von der Nyssen & Niclas Prewssen) of ander meister gefechte (other masters combatives), a sort of mish-mash of fencing lore that served as auxiliary techniques to the main body of Liechtenauer fencing lore. Similar mention of Andres may be in Fecht und Ringerbuch (1508).

So there was some small chance that there were Jewish fechter and fechtmeister in Medieval & Renaissance Germany. But as to actually teaching anybody fechten, and if so whom, that is difficult to establish, especially in regards to conjecturing about teaching Christian knights.

The mention in whatever sources of Spanish Jewish knights, and/or "tourneys" with Jewish participation, are either culturally or sportively irrelevant to the German martial context.
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Postby Fab » 23 May 2008 02:42

Hi Jeffrey.

I understand your saying that Galas might be wrong. Obviously you've never met him nor talked to him, but I leave you to that.

But for all your knlowledgeability in HEMA, I still cannot stand for your calling of ms 3227a as of being by Döbringer's hand.

Now, who am I to make such statements...........
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Postby admin » 23 May 2008 10:24

Very interesting information Jeffrey, thanks for sharing.

English law regarding Jews and weapons was similar, though there were practically no Jews in England at this time anyway, as they'd all been expelled by Edward I. They did drift back over time though. Their place in the worlds of banking and jewellery was taken mostly by Italians in England - hence the huge debts owed to Italians under Edward III, Richard II and Henry V, and possibly part of the reason for various activities of Sir John Hawkwood in Italy (operating in the interests of Richard II).
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby batjka » 01 Apr 2015 16:35

New to the forum and looking through it came across this ancient thread. Sorry for reviving it, hope that the people don't mind.

I have to disagree with Jeffrey's opinion above. And here's why:

1) According to the "Armed Jews in Legal sources from the High and Late Middle Ages", published by Christine Magin, there were actually no legal restrictions on Jews bearing arms in Germany of the time. She shows, using the historic legal definitions and examples, that the Jews were in fact bearing arms in medieval Germany both before and after the mid-13th Century

2) "Bearing and use of weapons by Jews in the (late) middle ages", published by Marcus J. Wenniger, gives several examples of Jews in the 14th and 15th Centuries pledging their armed services to the local lords (just as the knights did). One of those Jews is curiously named Thomas Jud. The author also shows that in several German towns the Jews were obligated, even in the 16th Century, to guard the walls etc. The list of these towns includes Glutz, an assumed residence of Liechtenauer Society member Peter Wildigans von Glatz.

3) From the map of the towns where Liechtenauer Society members lived, it's clear that at least some of them were in Poland and not Germany. In Poland, the Jews were actually given all rights and privileges of the nobility, including a right to carry swords in public. From the 17th century Hannover Chronicle it is clear that the Jews were "knowledgeable in the arts or war" and had necessary arms and armor. So it's entirely possible that Lew Jud, Andres Jud and so on lived in Poland and trained others in the use of the sword and other weapons.

Just something that I researched out of curiosity as I did not previously suspect that Jewish fight masters had existed until I started learning the longsword.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby batjka » 03 Apr 2015 16:35

Found another tentative proof of Jews being involved in Martial Arts in the Holy Roman Empire. This is from the founding charter of the Federfecher Guild, granted to them by the Emperor Rudolf II in 1607:

"Because it is found that in the City of Prague and also elsewhere the Jews of the Marxbruder, only for the disdainful profit do they act in a scholarly and informed manner. Thus that they sometimes in the schools publicly fenced and themselves were mentioned as Marxbruder, Who is unadorned and a Christian reproved, for this reason, will those of the Feather be forbidden from teaching Jews and/or the Unbaptized, neither around nor for any money are they to be taught the art of fencing nor are they permitted to know it's secret techniques and parts; but if one Jew there for himself steps forward, is he abolished and none is permitted to wave the sword against him. The masters of the Feather however, may apply commoner tests, but such an overstepping of bounds would unite the Jews through their informed masses by being taught, so only after they are recognized by the first Hauptleut either with enrollment in the school, trained for one year long, or should in other ways by a Monetary fine be subjected to."

This is obviously a rough translation, but it gives the idea that the Maxburders were teaching the Jews and that the Jews were actually members of the Brotherhood.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby Michael Chidester » 04 Apr 2015 00:24

You may notice that Jeff no longer has an account here, so I doubt he's aware of what you're posting.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby Sean M » 04 Apr 2015 22:06

Michael Chidester wrote:You may notice that Jeff no longer has an account here, so I doubt he's aware of what you're posting.

Posting relevant sources and scholarship to an old thread is useful to a lot of people though. It seems to me that the community needs more people who read about their period in general and link their understanding of the manuals to other areas of research in ways which any interested person with a good library can follow. I am not a trained medievalist, so I depend on the work of those who are.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby Piermarco » 07 Apr 2015 19:07

I'm not sure about Des Bordes, since other sources suggest he was a Huguenot:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CKV ... &q&f=false

However Bondì di Mazo of Venice was almost certainly Jewish, he even has some Hebrew at the front of his treatise:

http://www.bruchius.com/img/Bondi%20di% ... %20RvN.pdf
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby admin » 08 Apr 2015 10:36

Great to see old and useful threads being augmented and updated.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby Piermarco » 08 Apr 2015 12:02

Gelli states that Di Mazo another spelling of the Venetian Jewish family name Di Majo (Di Mazo being Venetian), and that the unusual name Bondì (literally “Good Day”) is an Italianisation of the Hebrew name Yom Tov (again literally “Good Day”).

In any case the Hebrew and the big star of David at the beginning of his treatise is a big clue :)
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby batjka » 08 Apr 2015 14:44

Thank you, Piermarco. This is a very interesting information.

I guess we can also include Diego de Valera. He was born to converted Jewish parents, so he was a Christian of Jewish ethnicity. He wrote a "Treatise on Arms", which is allegedly a fighting manual. I could not find anything concerning this work and have no idea what is contained in it, however. Various sources call it a " fencing manual". Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the contents of this book.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby Urtica Urens » 10 Apr 2015 03:03

It is a work on the laws of the duel, not fencing.
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby batjka » 01 Jun 2016 16:34

Here's an interesting lecture from the Iron Gate Exhibition titled "Sword in daily life". There is a good section about Jewish participation in armed combat, starting at 43:55 :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwsUVaa ... QC-AM5L_y0
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Re: Jewish fight masters?

Postby Ariella Elema » 02 Aug 2016 05:04

I found a few examples of Jews in medieval France involved in judicial duels. They're in my dissertation, pages 168-171.
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