Lo Schiavo -- Loschiavo -- LoSchiavo -- Schiavo -- Schiava -- Sclavo -- Sclava --Schiavoni -- Schiavone -- Sciavo -- Sciava -- Slavo -- Slava


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Antonio Lo Schiavo 7°
di S.Marina

Ipotesi sul cognome

La diffusione del cognome

La storia antica dei

The LOSCHIAVO's ancient history

La storia moderna dei

Il presente ed il futuro dei
LOSCHIAVO di Santa Marina







The following is a tentative explanation on the evolution of the surname "LOSCHIAVO" which at times, especially during our younger school years, has caused most of us some distress.
Linguistically speaking, the Lo Schiavo name has the same identical derivation as LoSchiavo (no space), Schiavo or Schiavi, Schiavone or Schiavoni, Sciavo or Sciava and the more rare Sclavo or Sclavi.
We, therefore, not only share the name but also the same ethnic background.
In fact, a Professor of Languages from the University La Sapienza in Rome, whose name I will be more than glad to furnish to those of you that might be interested, has completely destroyed the "romantic" notion of the modern meaning of the name Lo Schiavo.
The word “schiavo” meaning “slave” has always conjured up thoughts of our ancestors............ living in deplorable conditions as servants;
.......................... poor derelicts chained on a Roman or Saracen galleon forced to ...........................row;
......................... with a spade and a hoe over their shoulders being led to work .......................... some forsaken desolate land…..or…......
.......................... being sold to the highest bidder in some far away market place.

Our illustrious professor confirms that in the Italian language the word “Schiavo” is a bastardization of the word Slavo which in the olden times, in some parts of our “italica peninsula”, people had difficulty pronouncing.
As time went by, the word Slavo became Sclavo and eventually it developed into Schiavo.
The article “Lo” which is a characteristic of the language was added later in the small communities as further identification of the person in question.

In the more isolated zones such as our islands when someone from the outside would arrive, it was common and polite to refer to the person by his trade or the place from where he came or his ethnicity..…hence Lo Slavo and eventually Lo Schiavo.

Some sources give Scythia as the homeland of the Slavs.
For various reasons between 9th century and 13th century they left their homeland and reached the Italian peninsula settling wherever they could or were welcomed.
There are references to groups of families leaving Bysentium when it fell under the tyranny of the Turks who had defeated Mohammed the II.

The “Slavs” lived in the geographical area which today is identified with Slov-enia, Slov-akia, Yuogoslavia and including Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.
Linquistically, there is a definite correlation between the variations of our name and the names of these nations.

Inside an old
atlas published in the 1928, we found pointed out (as you can see on right) an Jugoslavic area defined "SCHIAVONIA".
It is located to the south of Zagabria and to the north/east of Sarajevo near the town called Brod on the other side of the Sava river.
In the all other (more modern) geographic and historical sources, after this one of the 1928, the same area always
will be defined "SLAVONIA".
This areal definition (Schiavonia) would confirm the converging of the linguistic and ethnic hypotesis.
In fact it follows closely the particular way of defining the people coming from these areas alternatively ...."SCHIAVI" or "SLAVI".
(Atlante Scolastico di Geografia Moderna - Olinto Marinelli -
Vallardi Editore - Milano - edizione 1928)

There is historical evidence that trading took place between the above mentioned states and the Venetian Republic and later all the Italian Adriatic Coast.
In fact, today, in the cities of Venice and Vicenza there are many that bear the name Schiavi and Schiavo which gives further testimony to the correlation between the surname and the name of these Slavic regions.
And also we like remember two cities in this area called : SCHIAVON (Vicenza) and SCHIAVI ABBRUZZO (Chieti)

Aside from all of this, there is also the difference in physical aspects that one could use to prove the above theory.
Today, in spite of the intermingling with the indigenous people, the Slavic characteristics can still be observed in many of us.
Some of us have blue, green or grey eyes. Many are often blonde or light brown hair, light complexion and are taller.
Some of the facial features are softer with a smaller nose and longer face.

During the Middle Ages, last names were starting to be used.
These sometimes stated where the person came from, their trade, their temperament and even their physical aspect.
The name LoSchiavo is more prevalent in the South of Italy than in the North.
One possible explanation for this is that in the North they “looked like” with that population and so the people called them differently; whereas in the southern areas where the population was mostly of Mediterranean stock with dark hair and eyes and olive complexion, these newly arrived settlers (carring "Slavic characteristics") stood out and so they were referred to as “slavo”, or “slavi”.
Later because of the difficulty in pronouncing the word, “Slavo” or “Slavi” they soon took the form of “schiavo” or “schiavi”.

Let me also mention that there are undocumented local legends on the eolian islands and along the southern coast of Italy that tell other ideas connected to the surname of our ancestors.
In 1544, Lipari (the largest eolian island) and also the other six islands were sacked by the pirate Red Beard (Khair–ad-din).
Eight thousand men, women and children were sold into slavery.
This represented 99% of the population.
This incident was most likely also adapted as a means of identification of an individual.
The few that escaped but had a parent, a son or relative (taken away as a slave) soon became know as for example “ Bartolo..... son of the slave” or “Bartolo..... father of the slave”.
Every individual in the entire family would be identified in this manner.
As time went by this form identification became ie. Bartolo.... u schiavu in our dialect and later it entered the Italian language as the last name Lo Schiavo.

What I present here are logically possible explanations for the name.
I’m aware that the documentation is poor, some statements are assumptions on my part just as I’m aware that perhaps I have omitted some historical facts.
I welcome any comments and/or arguments on the subject and invite you to e-mail me your opinions, comments and for further discussions.

Maria Salvi
( Top friend of this website) carefully and kindly translated for you

antonio 7° Lo schiavo di S.Marina Salina










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