It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. This widespread English, German, French Catalan, Italian, Spanish and Hungarian name was originally derived from a Germanic personal name ALBRECHET, which was composed of the elements ADAL (noble) and BERHT (bright and famous). This was one of the most common Germanic given names, and was borne by various medieval princes, military leaders and great churchmen, notably St. Albert of Prague (Czech name Vojtech, Latin name Adalbertus), a Bohemian prince who died a martyr in 997 attempting to convert the Prussians to Christianity; St Albert the Great (?1193-1280) Aristotelian theologian and tutor of Thomas Aquinas; and Albert the Bear (1100-70) Margrave of Brandenburg. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. A notable member of the name was Kobo ABE, born in 1924, the Japanese novelist and playwright, born in Tokyo. He trained as a doctor, but turned to literature after graduating. Reccognition in Japan came with the reward of the Akutagawa prize for 'The Wall' in 1951. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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