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Manuel Coat of Arms / Manuel Family Crest

Manuel Coat of Arms / Manuel Family Crest

The surname of MANUEL was a Jewish surname from the Hebrew given name of Imanuel meaning 'God is with us'. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. The name was also a Spanish surname used in the Middle Ages by Christians in honour of a minor 3rd century martyr. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. Emanuel I, also MANUEL 'the Fortunate' (1469-1521) was the king of Portugal, succeeded John II in 1495. His reign, marred only by persecution of the Jews, was the golden age of Portugal. He prepared the code of laws which bears his name, and made his court a centre of chivalry, art and science. The discovery of Brazil and the expeditions encouraged by Emanuel, did much to make Portugal the first naval power of Europe and the centre of commerce. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Nikolaus MANUEL (1484-1530) was the Swiss painter, and reformer, born in Berne. He produced biblical and mythological pictures in the Renaissance style. He held several government offices, was a member of the Great Council, and wrote satirical verse.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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