The surname of EPPOLITO was a Spanish and Portugese medieval given name (from the Greek HIPPOLYTOS) composed of the elements HIPPOS (horse) and LUIEN (to loose). This was the name of a figure in classical mythology to rejected the incestuous love of his stepmother Phaedra, but in the Middle Ages was more closely associated with various minor early Christian saints, especially a bishop of Oporto who was martyred by drowning in the 3rd century. The name has numerous variant spellings which include HIPPOLYTE, POLLITT, IPPOLITO, POLITO, POLT, IPPOLITOV and POLUNIN, to name but a few. Portugese surnames share many of the features of Spanish surnames, in particular Arabic and Visigothic influence. A notable feature of Portugese surnames is the class of religious names referring to festivals of the church or attributes of the Virgin Mary. One respect in which Portugese names differ from those of the rest of the Iberian peninsular, is that some were adopted at a comparatively late date and honour saints who did not give rise to surnames in other languages. Portugese names typically have the ending 'eiro'. Saint HIPPOLYTUS (170-2350 was the Christian leader and antipope in Rome. He defended the doctrine of the Logos and attacked the Gnostics. He is generally believed to be the author of a 'Refutation of all Heresies' in ten books, discovered in 1842 in a 14th century manuscript at Mount Athos. He also wrote a smaller work against heretics extant in a Latin translation. 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.
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