This Czech surname of SIPES was derived from the old Czech word SIP (arrow) and was perhaps applied as a nickname for a thin man or a swift runner, or as a metonymic occupational name for an archer. Warriors needed weapons during the Middle Ages, and since the bow and arrow were supreme during this time many were engaged in producing or using them as weapons of war. They were considered to be highly skilled craftsmen. Men did not hesitate to engage in fierce combat and they desired as much armour and strong weapons as possible. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. The diminutive SIPEK also means dogrose or briar, the thorns likened to little arrows; the surname may therefore also be a topographic name for someone who lived near a briar patch. The modern state of Czechoslovakia is going through a transitional phase as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain. Its various regions encompassed the medieval provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The first two of these, where the language properly called Czech is spoken, were heavily subject to German cultural and linguistic influence from the Middle Ages onwards, being administratively a Crownland of Austria for much of the time until independence in 1918. This influence is reflected in the many Czech surnames derived from German, both from given names, and from vocabulary words. Occupational names are quite common in Czech as are nicknames, especially those referring to some physical feature. Many of the most common Czech surnames have the diminutive ending 'CEK', which is often found attached to these names.
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