The Italian and French surname of MANETTA was originally of German and English origin. It was a nickname for a fierce or strong man, or for a man contrasted with a boy. In some cases the name may have arisen as an occupational name for a servant, from the medieval use of the term to describe a person of inferior status. It is also from a Germanic personal name, found in Old English as MANNA. The name was adopted by Ashkenazic Jews, of uncertain origin, possibly from the Hebrew and Yiddish MANN 'faith in God'. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MANET, MAN, MANSKY, MANSKI, MONSKY, MANNON, MANNI, MANNEL, MANNONE and MANIS, to name but a few. A most notable member of the name was Edouard MANET (1832-83) the French painter, born in Paris. Originally intended for a legal career, he was sent on a voyage to Rio to distract his thoughts from art. However he still studied painting and his 'Spanish Guitar Player' was awarded honourable mention. Pursuing official recognitian he continued to paint. His last major work was 'A Bar at the Folies-Bergere' (1882) and in that year he was appointed Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur'. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. Central Italian heraldry has been much influenced by the church. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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