The Spanish surname of BAEZ was from a medieval given name, originally from the Greek PELAGIOS, a derivative of PELAGOS meaning 'open-sea'. The name was borne by a 10th century Christian martyr, a young boy tortured and killed by the Moors of Cordoba for refusing to renounce his faith. His fame led to the given name being very popular in Spain in the Middle Ages. It was borne also by the semi-legendary first king of the Reconquest. The name was also borne by various other early martyrs, but in other European countries it has not been popular because of its association with the British heretic PEGAGIUS. 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 name 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. PELAGIUS (360-420) was the British monk and heretic, also perhaps of Irish origin, his name being a Greek translation of the Celtic Morgan (sea-born). He never took orders, and settled in Rome about the year 400. The Pelagian heresy rejected the doctrine of original sin and predestination, insisting on free will and man's inate capacity to do good. The Pelagian sect was soon extinguished, but his ideas often troubled the church. 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. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in Spain (Pais).
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