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Martorelli Coat of Arms / Martorelli Family Crest

The surname of MARTORELLI 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. 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. A notable member of this name was Charles MARTEL, 'the Hammer' (c.688-74l) ruler of the Franks from 7l9, progenitor of the Carolingian dynasty, and grandfather of Charlemagne. He was the illegitimate son of Pepin II of Heristal and in 7l4 he was chosen duke by the Austrasian (eastern) Franks, defeated the Neustrian (western) Franks in 7l6 and in 7l9 became 'mayor of the palace' of Austrasia and real ruler of all the Frankish kingdom. He earned his nickname by his defeat of the Moors in a desperate battle at Tours, near Poitiers in 732, thus turning back the tide of Arab conquest in Europe, then drove the Saracens out of Burgundy and Languedoc (737). He died in 74l. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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