This Spanish and Italian surname of PONZIO was originally derived from the Latin word 'puncta' meaning to pierce. It was used of a worker with a kind of lace used to fasten together the doublet and hose. The name may also have been used as a building term. In medieval times, in roofing, the layers of tiles overlapped and the lowest layers, and sometimes all the layers were pointed or rendered with mortar. This was called 'pointing' in 1265, and the slaters doing this work may well have been called pointers. The name was borne by two 3rd century saints, a Carthagnian deacon and a martyr of Nice, but was not widely popular in the Middle Ages. The name is also spelt POYNTZ, PONCE, POINT, POMS and PONSON. 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. Juan PONCE de Leon (1460-91) was the Spanish monk, scholar and poet, born in Granada. In 1544 he entered the Augustinian order and became professor of theology at Salamanca in 1561. His poetical remains, published in 1631 comprise of translations from Virgil, Horace and the Psalms. 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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