The German surname of RUPPEL was a baptismal name 'the son of Rodbert' meaning fame-bright. This name was originally derived from the Germanic personal name, composed of the elements HROD and BERHT. The name was found occasionally in England before the Conquest, but in the main it was introduced into England by the Normans, and quickly became popular among all classes of society. Other spellings of the name include RUPPELL, RUPERT, ROPE, RIEPLE, RUPPELE, ROBART, ROBARD, REBERT, ROBB, ROBBE and ROBERT, to name but a few. The popularity of the name in England became stronger when Prince RUPERT of the Rhine (1618-92) who was a courageous soldier showed much bravery while fighting on the side of his uncle King Charles I during the English civil war and later, as a naval commander in the Dutch wars. 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. A notable member of the name was Wilhelm Peter Eduard Simon RUPPELL (1794-1884) the German zoologist and explorer, born in Frankfurt-am-Main, the son of a wealthy banker. He studied natural history at Pavia and Genoa, and made his first major expedition to the Sudan from 1821 to 1827, and to Ethiopia from 1830 until 1834. He published extensive maps and scientific accounts of his travels, including the monumental 'Reise in Abyssynien' (1838-40). 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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