This Italian, German, French and English surname of ALBINI was originally derived from the given name ALBIN, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin from ALBINUS (white). This was the name of several minor early Christian saints, including St. Aubin, bishop of Angers (died 554). The popularity of the given name was also influenced, especially in Austria, by the Germanic given name ALBUIN, composed of the elements ALB (elf) + WIN (friend). This was the name of the Lombard leader (died. 572) who made himself king of Northern Italy, and also of a bishop of Brixen (Bressanone in south Tyrol. The name is also spelt AUBIN, OBIN, ALBY, AUBIN, AUBY, ALBIONI, ALBINKSI, ALBINET and AUBINEAU, to name bur a few. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Saint Alban (3rd century AD) was a Roman soldier venerated as the first Christian martyr in Briton. He was a pagan Romano-Britain living in the town of Verulamium (now St. Albans) who was scourged and beheaded around 300 AD. for sheltering and giving a change of clothes for a fugitive Christian priest. His feast day is 22nd June. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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