There is a large group of surnames, more frequent in French, German and Italian names, which are actually a compound of nickname and patronymic. They consist of an adjective indicating size or an attractive quality as a prefix attached to a given name. GIARRUSSO is such a name literally meaning the red-haired or ruddy-complexioned man named John, the Italian form of the name Giovanni (Jehovah has favoured me with a son). The name was adopted into the Latin (via Greek) as JOHANNES. This name has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, being given in honour of St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as others of the nearly one thousand saints of the name. There are numerous variant spellings of the surname, and it is known to every country in the world in different forms which include GIANNONE, GIACALONE, GIACOBBE, GIACEOMELLI, GIACOMINI, GIACOMO, GIACONE, GIACIMO, GIAMBRONE, GIAMPAOLO and GIANCOLA, to name but a few. There have been many notables of the name including twenty-one popes and two anti-popes XVI (997-8) and XXIII the former included in the papal numbering, which erroneously contained a fictitious John XV who was thought to have ruled for a few weeks immediately prior to the true John (985-96). John (surnamed Lackland) 1167-1216 was the king of England from 1199 youngest son of Henry II born in Oxford. He attempted to seize the crown during Richard I's captivity in Austria, but was pardoned and nominated his successor by his brother on his deathbed. He was crowned at Westminster on 27th May 1199. He alienated barons by bad administration and heavy taxation and was forced to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymeade on 15th June 1215. It was also the name of two kings of France John I (1316) who lived only seven days, and John II (1319-64) taken prisoner at Poitiers by the Black Prince, returned to captivity in England when he could not raise ransom money agreed upon, and died in London. Pietro GIANNONE (1676-1748) was the Italian antipapal historian, born in Ischitella in Naples. A barrister, his 'Storia civile de regno di Napoli' written in 1723, led to his excommunication and banishment from Naples; at Geneva he published 'Il Triregno' a bitter attack upon the papal presentations. Decoyed into Savoy in 1736, he was kidnapped by secret agents, and imprisoned in Turin until his death.
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