This Spanish name of ALFONSO was originally from a Germanic personal name ADAFUNS (composed of the elements ADAL meaning 'noble' and FUNS 'ready'. This name was especially popular among the Visigoths and Langobards, and was later taken by a number of kings of Spain in the form Alfonso. In Spain identifying patronymics are to be found as early as the mid-9th century, but these changed with each generation, and hereditary surnames seem to have come in slightly later in Spain than in England and France. As well as the names of the traditional major saints of the Christian Church, many of the most common Spanish surnames are derived from personal names of Germanic origin. For the most part these names are characteristically Hispanic. They derive from the language of the Visigoths, who controlled Spain between the mid-5th and early 8th centuries. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. ALFONSO X called 'The Astronomer' or 'The Wise' (1221-84) was the king of Leon and Castile. He was born in Burgos, and succeeded his father Ferdinand III in 1252. He captured Cadiz and Algarve from the Moors, and thus united Murcia with Castile. In 1271 he crushed an insurrection headed by his son Philip; but a second rising under another son Sancho in 1282 deprived him of his throne. He was the founder of a Castilian national literature. He caused the first general history of Spain to be composed in Castilian, as well as a translation of the Old Testament to be made by Toledo Jews. His great code of laws and his planetary table are famous; he wrote several long poems besides works on chemistry and philosophy. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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