This Spanish and Portugese name of SANCHEZ is derived from an extremely common medieval given name SANCTUS, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form SANCTIUS. The name was borne by a 9th century martyr of Cordova. The name is also spelt SANZ, SANS, SANZIO, SAENZ, SAINZ, SANCHIZ, SANCHIS and SANCHES. Portugese surnames share many of the features of Spanish surnames, in particular Arabic and Visigothic influence. A notable feature of Portugese surnames is the class of religious names referring to festivals of the church or attributes of the Virgin Mary. One respect in which Portugese names differ from those of the rest of the Iberian peninsular, is that some were adopted at a comparatively late date and honour saints who did not give rise to surnames in other languages. Portugese names typically have the ending 'eiro'. A notable member of the name was Francisco SANCHEZ (1550-1631) the Portugese or Spanish physician and philosopher, probably from Braga in Portugal. He became professor of philosophy (1585) and then medicine (1612) at Toulouse. His main work is a study of philosophical scepticism 'Quod Nihil Scitur' written in 1576. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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