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Home: Surnames: Zane Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: meaning and history of surname Zane
Posted by: Diane Nichols (ID *****6855) Date: May 31, 2004 at 21:36:39
In Reply to: meaning and history of surname Zane by Susan Bunn of 691

it seems that the Zane name originated in Venice, Italy and is thought to have originally Vipsani of the family of Rome in about 966.

Giacomo Zabarella wrote a history of this house, calling it Il Magnificio. In this book he carries the origins of the house back to the Vipsania House (Gente Vipsania) or Bipzania of Rome, which he traces back to the ancient kings of the euganei, descendants of the companions of Hercules, who, chased from their state of Antenore of
Troy, arrived at Padua. For the splendor of their clear intellects they came to be called Living Euganei, i.e. to say Noblemen. This name degenerated into Vipsani. (Just read Zabarella, who tells us that from the Vipsani are descended the Vizzuni, nobles of Bologna, builders of the Castle there. I mention all this because the Vipzanii, and then the Vizzani, who in 966 were created nobles (Cattani) by the emperor Otto the Great, are said in the Chronology of the Noble Families of that city (Bologna) to have come into Italy with the emperor.) Well, whatever is the origin of the Gente Vipsania, we have it for certain
that it eventually settled in Padua and in the province of Venice, where they long held important government posts. From that area the family moved into Rome in the person of Lucio Vipsania. He was described and numbered among the citizens of that august Metropolis. More than once he was consul and tribune…….One can certainly believe that the Zani of Venice are descended from the Vipsani of Rome, but on the basis of the historical evidence it cannot be
categorically affirmed, since it is difficult, if not impossible, to establish with certitude things that took place so long ago. Having however just this evidence Crescenti in the second volume of his Nobilita d’Italia, in the fourth narration, while speaking of the Zani of
Piacenza, who are related to those of Venice, says that they came to that city with the Roman colonists before the birth of Jesus Christ, and there are those who even today sustain that view. And in the Val di Zove, district of Piacenza, there are Zuliarno, or Zuliano, Ziano or Ziliano, and Ziana. The Abbot Gammunni, in the first volume of his Genealogical History, while treating fo the Zani of Bologna, records that one of the Zani was one of Justinian’s Generals . . . . . (section on possible relationship of Zani, of Venice to Zani of Bologna)>
Finally Bernardo Zane, a Venetian nobleman, wrote in 1488 to Vulpiano Zane, a celebrated lawyer of Bologna these words? “We are from the same house and family.”
The Zani, therefore, lived in Padua. When that city was destroyed by the furor of Attila, King of Hungary, they went with their bishop Revaulo to Malomoco, where they made their residence. There they constructed great buildings and were for a long time tribunes. Also Domenico Martinelli in his Rit atto de Venezia, speaking of the church of St. Francis of the Vigna, which was begun by this family, says that they came into the lagune because of the persecution of Attila. They exercised then the tribunate of the islands of Heraclea and of Torcello, and indeed of all the islands. But at the time of the
invasion of the French they retreated to the Rialto. Noting their departure from Padua, the above mentioned Zabarella wrote thus: The family of the Zani of Venice is not only among the most ancient, but once called de’Zainii, they lived in the city of Padua, but they left
it for fear of the Lombards. They went to the island of Exquilinia (?), and thence to Torcello, and finally to Venice. In those centuries, and especially in the ancient Venetian tongue, one finds names like Ziatqa, Sanii, Ciani, Giani and Giovanni, all words derived from the
word Vipsani, as wrote Zabarella . . . . We must never put in doubt that the surname Ziani, identified with some of the most conspicuous deeds in Venetian history, is not the same as Zane and of the very same family, as many authors testify."

Therefore, the Zane's were among the Doges of Venice and a Zane was responsible for bringing in and erecting the beauriful columns around the Piazza San Marco in Venice. I have been unable, so far, to obtain a copy of the above quoted Manuscript in it's entirety.

diane j nichols

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