This surname of NEVIUS is a Spanish religious byname, from the title Maria de la NIEVES 'Mary of the Snows', given particularly to children born on the 5th August, on which date the Virgin allegedly once caused it to snow in Rome. It is possible that the surname also derives from a nickname with the same meaning as NEVADO. The name is also spelt NERVA, NIEVES, NEVES and NEVE. The name was rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form NIVARE. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. 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 names 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. Marcus Cocceius NERVA (circa.32-98) was the Roman emperor, elected in the year 96 by the Senate. He introduced liberal reforms but lacked military support, and had to adopt Trajan as his successor. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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