The Slavonic surname of GAZDA is of two-fold origin. It was an occupational name for one who rented houses, a landlord, one who controlled others. 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 name was also a topographic name for the dweller at the sign of the dove. The dove has taken a large part in legend, folklore and religious symbolism. It is frequently seen in early Christian art, often as the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The name is also spelt GAZDZIAK and GAZA. 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. Theodorus GAZA (1398-1478) was the Byzantine scholar, born in Thessalonica. He fled before the Turks to Italy (circa. 1444) and taught Greek at Ferrara and later philosophy at Rome. Cardinal Bessarion obtained for him a small benefice in Calabria. His principal work was a Greek grammar (1495) and he translated into Latin portions of Aristle, Theophrastus and St. Chrysostom.
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