This German, Russian, and English surname KRATZER was derived from the medieval given name PANCRAS, originally from the Latin PANCRATIUS, meaning an all-in wrestler. The name was used by early Christians as meaning 'Almighty' and was a suitable epithet of Christ. The name was fairly popular in England during the Middle Ages, for in the 7th century the relics of an early martyr of this name had been sent to England by the Pope. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KRATZ, PANCRAS, PANCRIDGE, PONKRATZ, BANGRATZ, PANLRAZER and KRATZIG. 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. Saint PANCRAS (died. 304) was the Christian martyr, the son of a heathen noble of Phrygia. He was baptised in Rome, but immediately afterwards was slain in the persecutions, while only a young boy. One of the patron saints of children, his feast day is the 12th May. 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. 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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