This surname of GLEICH was a German nickname for an individual considered fortunate, perhaps someone who had had a narrow escape. The word was derived from the Old German GLUCK (meaning luck) of uncertain origin, and not found before the 12th century. The name is also spelt GLUCK, GLUECK, GLUCKMAN, GLUECKMAN, GLICKLICH and GELUK. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. A notable member of the name was Christoph Wilibald GLUCK (1714-87) the Austro-German composer, born in Bavaria. After teaching music at Prague in 1736 he went to Vienna, then in 1738 to Milan where he studied for four years. In 1741 he wrote his first opera 'Artaserse'. Having achieved some reputation he was invited in 1745 to London. The word Heraldry is derived from the German HEER, (a host, an army) and HELD, (champion): the term BLASON, by which the science is denoted in French, English, Italian and German, has most probably its origin in the German word 'BLAZEN' (to blow the horn). Whenever a new knight appeared at a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet, and as competitors attended with closed vizors, it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called 'Heraldry'. The Germans transmitted the word to the French, and it reached England after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
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