Throughout the history of mankind, people have used names to call each other. Even in the most primitive societies, every member of the tribe had a name.
Names appeared when people began to make screams and other sounds to identify themselves. Each person had a sound to represent him. More complex words began to be used later, when the entire tribe or family chose a name for a person, or a person chose it himself. The names changed as people got older. This was accompanied by special rituals and ceremonies.
Surnames first appeared in China around 2850 BC. according to the imperial decree. The Chinese usually have three words in the full name, with the surname in the first place. The second name is called the name of the generation. It is chosen by the whole family from the poem. In the last place is the name itself.
The ancient Romans used only one name to name a person. Then they switched to three, then one again. During the time of Julius Caesar, three words were used in the name: Gaius Julius Caesar, Mark Licinius Crassus.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, they began to use the surname in the full name of a person. This was especially true for people of the upper classes, for whom it was important to be different from other members of society.
People of noble blood passed on their surnames to younger generations. For the first time this tradition originated in Italy, and then spread throughout Europe.
The surnames were of different origins. Some came from the names of cities, others from the name of the occupation, others from the names of animals, the fourth were borrowed from previous generations. Among the Anglo-Saxons, for example, such surnames were given by the father's name. So, the name Johnson meant "John's son", O'Rourke meant "Rourke's son."
The Jews were the last to adopt the custom of using surnames. Very often, Jewish clans lived separately, and they simply did not need surnames. Jesus Christ also did not have a surname. Christ, as many mistakenly believe, is not a surname, but a kind of title. Christ means "one who is in oneness with God and appears as a teacher."
But in 1800 laws arose requiring every Jewish family to have a surname. Then the Jews began to choose pleasant-sounding surnames: Goldberg ("golden mountain"), Rosenthal ("valley of roses"), or biblical names: Benjamin, Levi.
Russian surnames did not appear immediately either. At the time of Prince Igor (12th century) there were no surnames. The famous commander was called simply by the name Igor or by the name and patronymic Igor Svyatoslavlevich. Although he belonged to the family of Rurikovich, the name of Rurikovich cannot be considered. This is an appeal by the name of the ancestor, which was Rurik. Such an address can also be read in the Bible: "son of Joseph, Elijah", which means nothing more than a mention of a father or another ancestor, something like a middle name. The phrase Ivan the Terrible is also not a name with a surname, since Grozny is rather a nickname. Until certain times, the people gave Russian rulers various nicknames. The Romanov dynasty, on the other hand, had a surname.