This surname of MAHL is a German occupational name for a painter, especially a painter of stained glass. The word was derived from the Old German word MALEN. The name was also adopted by Ashkenazic Jews, and was used of an artist or house-painter. The name is also spelt MAHLER, MOHLER, MEHLER and MAALER. 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. A notable member of the name was Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) the Czechoslovakian-born Austrian composer, born in Kalist. In 1875 he went to Vienna Conservatory, where he studied composition and conducting. Unsuccessful in an opera competition with the work which he later turned into the cantata 'Das Klagende Lied' he turned to conducting, reaching quickly important positions in Prague, Leipzig, Budapest and Hamburg. In 1897 he became conductor and artistic director at Vienna State Opera House, where he established the high standards for which that theatre has become famous. Another notable member of the name was Johann Adam MOHLER (1796-1838) the German theologian, born in Igersheim. He was professor of Roman Catholic theology at Tubingen and Munich. He wrote 'Symbolik' (1832) on the doctrinal differences of Catholics and Protestants. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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