This English, French, Germand and Dutch surname was originally derived from the Old French given name CHRISTIAN, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CHRISTIANUS meaning 'follower of Christ'. It was a derivative of the Greek word KHRISTOS meaning 'to anoint'. This male given name was introduced into England following the Norman Conquest OF 1066, especially by Breton settlers. It was also used in the same form as a female name, and in some cases the name may be metonymic in origin. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. A noteworthy person of the name was Asmus Jakob CARSTENS (1754-98) the German painter, born near Schleswig. He studied art at Copenhagen and in 1783-88, barely supported himself by portrait painting in Lubeck and Berlin before his 'Fall of the Angels' gained him a professorship in the Academy of Art in Berlin in 1790. He lived in Rome from 1792, working on classical themes. 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. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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