This Italian surname MAZZEO is a nickname which was applied to a destructive individual, a derivative of the Italian MAZZARE meaning to kill or destroy. The name was rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form MACTARE. Other spellings of the name include MAZZO, MASSO, MAZZETTO, MAZZETTI, MAZZINO, MAZZINI, MAZZOLA, MAZZUOLI, MAZZOLETTI, MAZZONE, MAZZONI, MAZZABUE, MAZZACANE and MAZZALOVA, to name but a few. The name was also a baptismal name from the Italian MAZZA a pet form of Giacomazzo 'the son of James'. The result of the popularity as a given name was largely due to the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611) the form James is used in the New Testament as the name of two of Christ's apostles (James the brother of John and James the brother of Andrew) whereas in the Old Testament the brother of Esau is called Jacob. The form James comes from the Latin JACOBUS. 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. Families deriving their titles from popes have incorporated papal insignia in their arms, notably the papal tiara and the crossed keys. The heraldry is reflected by the history of the country which has been used as a battlefield for successive German, French, Spanish and Austrian invaders. Italian heraldry has however developed certain characteristics shown by the use of horse-head shaped shields which were put on the foreheads of horses at tournaments. Crests are rare but when they do appear are quite ostentatious. MASO Di BANCO (1325-50) was the Italian painter who is recorded as working in Florence between 1343 and 1350. Although few works are ascribed to him, he was held in great esteem by later Italian artists, due to his realistic style. His best known work is a fresco in Saint Croce, Florence, of the legend of St. Silvestor who quelled a dragon which, by its foul breath, had terrorized Rome.
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