The Italian surname of FLORA was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'the dweller by the woods where flowers are grown'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. The word flower was a conventional term of endearment in medieval romantic poetry, and as early as the 13th century it is also regularly found as a female given name. It was originally from the Latin personal name of FLORUS, borne by a saint active in the Auvergne during the 4th or 5th centuries, and the name FLORA was borne by a 9th century Spanish martyr. The name has numerous variant spellings which include FIORELLO, FIORI, FIORILLO, FIORINO, FIORITO, FIORAVANTI and FIORELLO. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. A notable member of the name was Giuseppe FIORELLI (1823-96) the Italian archaeologist, born in Naples, whose excavations at Pompeii helped preserve the ancient city. As professor of Archaeology at Naples University and director of excavations (1860-75) he dug for the first time layer by layer and on a large scale so that completed buildings and blocks of the city could be explored and displayed. He was the Director of the National Museum at Naples from 1863, and was director general of Italian Antquities and Fine Arts from 1875 until 1896.
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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