This surname of DEMKO was a Russian patronymic from the given name DMITRI, from the Greek DEMETRIOS (follower) of DEMETER, the goddess of fertility, whose name derived from an obscure element 'de', sometimes taken as a Doric equivalent of Attic + Meter (earth-mother). This ostensibly pagan name was in fact borne by several early Christian martyrs, and its popularity in Eastern Europe is largely due to the fame of a 4th century saint executed under Diocletian. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. 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. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate. The name has many variant spellings which include DIMITRIEV, DMITRIEVSKI, ZMITROVICH, MITRO and De MITRIS.
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