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Martorana Coat of Arms / Martorana Family Crest

The surname of MARTORANA is of Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese and English origin, a baptismal name 'the son of Martin' belonging to Mars, the God of war. This name was borne by a famous 4th century saint, Martin of Tours, and consequently became extremely popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It was also a metonymic occupational name for a smith or a nickname for a forceful person, rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form MARTULUS. The smith was one of the most important men in medieval Europe. He served both the lord and the peasants. It was his duty to shoe the lord's horses, mend and sharpen his plows and make all the metal objects that were required. For these duties he would receive certain honours such as charcoal and wood from the lord's forest and the right to have his land ploughed by the lord's plows. He also did work for the serfs in the manor, from whom he would receive payment. Henry II of England in 1181, ordered every holder of land worth \10 a year, to provide himself with a coat of mail, a helmet, a shield and a lance, and many smiths were required to make these articles. The smith, as a worker in metals was important in every country, and many surnames in America have been translated from SMITH from many different languages.The name has many variant spellings which include MARTELL, MARTEAU, MARTELIER, MARTELLI, MARTIELLO AND MARTELET. 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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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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