This English, French, Czech, Polish, Belorussian and East Ashkenazic Jewish surname of URBANKSI was from a medieval given name derived from the word URBS (town, city) and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form URBANUS (city dweller). The name was borne by a 4th century saint, the patron of vines, and by seven early popes. The name has numerous variant spellings which include URBEN, URBAIN, URBANIEC, DURBAN, HURBAN, HORBAN, ORBAHN, WURBANK, URBANEK and URBANIAK, to name but a few. Notables of the name include URBAN I (died 230) the bishop of Rome (222-230). He is said to have been a martyr. URBAN II (circa. 1035-1099) was pope from 1088. He became cardinal-bishop of Ostia and was elected pope. URBAN VIII (1568-1644) was pope from 1623. He was born in Florence. He carried out much ecclesiastical reform and established his own family in the Roman aristocracy, and built Castel Gandelfo. 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. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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