This surname GIOIA was originally derived from the Hebrew given name YOCJANAN (Jehovah has favoured me with a son), and 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 not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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