Origins Of The Italian Surname ‘Mansi’
This page and its contents, including all images, is Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 23 November 2013
… Since doing research for my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?‘ I have become fascinated with the origins of surnames. … … My maternal great grandmother’s maiden name is recorded on original documents as Raffaela Marisi Mansi and her father’s name as Johannis Mansi (possibly reflecting Austrian origins). It’s likely that Raffaela’s mother’s family name was the Italian Marisi. Raffaela was raped by a Catholic Priest in Rome when she was 13 years old. She was sent to London in disgrace when she became pregnant as a result of the rape. … … creating ripples which affected the fortunes of succeeding generations.
… The first Italian records showing variations of the surname Mansi were found in Venetia, northern Italy. The region of Venetia is named for the Veneti, a race related to the Illyrians who allied themselves with the ancient Romans and consequently prospered. From this famous region in Italy, the name Manzo, or Manso, emerges. Research shows that it is Germanic in origin and means ‘strength’. It is believed that the name became Italianized over time with various spellings according to dialect. For example, documents can be found in Friuli dating as far back as 1083, with such names as Patriarca di Aquileia Volserico Manzano. The history of the Venetia region begins with the invasion of the Ostrogoths and Vandals under Attila the Hun in the mid 5th Century CE.
The most famous city in the region is Venice which was created on the island of Rialto as a refuge for those fleeing from Attila and his army. The city of Venice remained a refuge for many centuries. After the Lombardi invasion of Italy in the 6th Century, more fled to its relative safety. Venice became a fully fledged city in the 8th Century when Duke Orso was elected and supported by Pope Gregory. However, it wasn’t until the Frankish invasion that Venice felt a true sense of unity, when an alliance was formed in order to retain its independence. In the 9th Century, while Charlemagne was king of Italy, the Eastern Emperor Nicephorus was lord over Venice. Thus Venice retained closer alliances with the East than with the rest of Europe. Venice became a religious rival of Rome when it received the remains of St Mark, for whom the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco and the Piazza San Marco are so named. … ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. The famous winged lion, which is considered to be the emblem of Venice, was originally the emblem of St Mark. Venice proved itself to be an economically strong city, noteworthy for its trade overseas and as a gateway to the major trade centres of Central Europe. It also maintained diplomatic ties with the East. Various forms of the surname gradually moved down the peninsula: Manzi, Manzo, Mansi, Manzano, Manzoni, Manzonni, Manzonno, Manzina, Manzino, Manzini, Mansone, Manzolino, Manzolina, Manzone, Manzano, Manzoli, to name a few variations. Artistic prosperity was one of the most important features of Venetian history. Many of the most famous painters in the history of art come from this region. The earliest Coat of Arms for the Manzo dynasty displays a blue shield with a lion holding a bull’s head and three fleur de lis. Prominent members who share the Manzo/Manso heritage include Torpe di Federico del Manzone of Sicily, a priest in Pisa for seven years. His son acquired the position after his death. Pierangelo Manzoli (Marcello Stellato) a poet and philosopher 1500 – c.1543 Cianciano Manzano was commander of the castle of Manzano the remains of which still stand in Friuli. The Manzini family of Modeno was one of the most powerful families in the city during the medieval period. Alessandro Manzoni was born in Milan in 1785. He was a poet and novelist of noble blood and wrote the historical novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) published in 1827. It is regarded as the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language. In 1860, Manzoni was elected senator for the Kingdom of Italy. Pope Benedicto XlV born Prospero Lorenzo in Bologna 1675 to Marcello Lambertini. He died in Rome in 1758. He was a descendant of the Mansi family. See more: Pope Benedict XlV Lucida Mansi was a descendent of wealthy silk merchants and her family home, the Mansi Palace, still stands today in Lucca, Italy, as a museum owned by the state since 1957. For more about the legend of Lucida Mansi see ‘Silhouette in Bagni Di Lucca‘ In 1680 the marriage between Arlo Mansi and Eleonora Pepoli, from a wealthy Bolognese family, increased the riches of the Mansi family. This was the first familial Roman/Italian connection with the Germanic Mansi clan. The Mansi family’s commercial enterprises sold silks, and other fabrics throughout France, Italy and Germany. The first members of the Mansi family arrived in Italy from Saxony in the 11th Century. ….