The surname of LOEWE is from the Yiddish male given name LEYB meaning 'lion' and was a nickname for a brave or regal person, originally derived from the Old German word LOWE meaning 'lion'. In some cases the name may have denoted someone who lived at a house which was distinguished by the sign of a lion. It was also an Ashkenazic Jewish name adopted in some cases because of the association of the animal with the tribe of Judah; in the blessing of Jacob (Genesis.49:9) Judah is likened to a lion's whelp. The name has many variant spellings which include LOEW, LOW, LEEB, LAUE, LEUE, LEV, LEIBUSH, LEYBISH, LEIBOWITZ and LEVENSTEIN, to name but a few. A notable member of the name was Johann Karl Gottfried LOEWE (1796-1869) the German composer, born near Halle. He studied music and theology at Halle, and in 1822 became a musical teacher at Stettin. In 1847 he sang and played before the court in London. He composed operas, oratorios, symphonies, concertos, duets and other works for piano, but his ballads are remarkable poems. He published his autobiography in 1870. Another notable member of the name was Otto LOEWI (1873-1961) the German pharmacologist, born in Frankfurt-am-Main. Educated at Strasbourg and Munich, he was professor of pharmacology at Graz (1909-38). Forced to leave Nazi Germany in 1938 he became research professor at New York College of Medicine from 1940. In 1936 he shared the Nobel prize for medicine. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized.
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