The German surname of MAX is from a short form of the given name MAXIMILIAN. The name was rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form MAXIMILLIANUS, meaning 'greatest'. The name was borne by a 3rd century saint venerated particularly in the region of Passau, where he founded a church. This given name was comparatively rare at the most popular period of surnames coming into being; it gained popularity from the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (born in 1459), who was named by his father, Frederick III of Austria, in honour of the Roman heroes Q, Fabius Maximus and Scipio Aemilianus, as if with a combination of their names. The name is also borne by Ashkenazic Jews. Another spelling is MILIJANOVIC. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. Another notable of the name was MAXIMILLIAN (1832-1867) the Emperor of Mexico. He accepted that title when the French emperor, Napoleon III's troops occupied the country, but encountered resistance from the deposed president Juarez. In 1866 after the French troops withdrew on the insistence of the United States, Maximillian was captured by Mexican republicans and shot. 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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