This French, Russian, Slavic and English surname of WESLOWSKI was a baptismal name, a descendant of VASILY, a hypocristic form of the name BASIL 'kingly'; or the man from VESLY an estate in France. The name was also applied to the joyous or happy fellow. Nicknames usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants. The name is also spelt VESELOV, VEXELAGO, VESELINOVIC, VESOVIC, VESSELY and WESOLOWSKI. The name was originally from a medieval given name spelled thus, but ultimately from the Greek Basileios 'Royal' the name borne by a 4th century bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, regarded as one of the four Fathers of the Eastern Church; he wrote important theological works and established a rule for religious orders of monks. In some cases the surname also comes from the feminine form of the given name. St Basilla (AD 304) was a Roman maiden, who according to legend chose death rather than marry a pagan. Various other saints are also known under this name Basilla. The popularity of the name Vasili in Russia is largely due to the fact that this was the Church name of St. Vladimir (956-1015) Prince of Kiev, who was chiefly responsible for the introduction of Christianity to Russia. 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.
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