The surname Boccanegra (Italian) or Bocanegra (Spanish) originated sometime in the 13th century AD, in northern Italy. The following information contributes to the origin, meaning and translation for this name.

The origin of surnames:

A surname, or family name, can be defined as a legal identification tag which is transmitted by family members from generation to generation. Different areas of the world adopted surnames at different periods in time. For example, surnames were commonly used two thousand years ago in areas occupied or influenced by the Romans. Other areas of the world were slower to begin using surnames, but they were coming into regular use by the time of the Middle Ages, first by the nobility, then by the gentry. During the 13th century surnames were used to reflect the occupation, status, title or identification of the bearer. These “labels” for last names, derived from the specialty crafts and trades of the medieval period, are fairly self-explanatory. A MILLER was essential for grinding flour from grain, a WAINWRIGHT was a wagon builder, and BISHOP was in the employ of a Bishop. Different surnames often developed from the same title or identification based on the language of the country of origin (MÜLLER, for example, is German for Miller). Other names such as BOCCADEORO (Gold Mouth) were held by politicians and BOCCASAVIA (sensible mouth) were held by philosophers in Italy. Sometimes nicknames became surnames. These types of surnames were often used to describe something unusual about an ancestor's physique. Small and Petit are obvious examples, as is Blackbeard. However, the label or identification of a surname was not always a positive thing.

The Church

During the 12th and 13th century Western Europe begins to come out of its dark age. There is an age of discovery and rediscovery, and an eventual Renaissance in Florence in the 1400s. During this period of time due to a period of religious struggle, Protestants and Catholics viewed the era from opposing perspectives and all those who did not conform completely to the church were considered Pagans. It was believed by the church that an individual was either with the church or against the church, an all or nothing mentality. Many individuals in Europe still practiced alchemy, herboligy and sorcery. They were the healers of the time long before medical physicians. These soothsayers and alchemists were the counsel for Kings, Counts and nobleman, even though they were branded as pagans for there practice. They would conjure spirits to reunite with the living, crush herbs for medicinal cures, tell fortunes of defeat and victory during war, read signs in the phases of the moon and much more. The church labeled these mystics as heretics, witches and warlocks for their so called dark arts and dark words.

The Original:

In the 12th century, the Geneose were granted sovereignty over the port and the Rock of Monaco by the Emperor of Germany. In 1215, a fortress (now the Prince's Palace) was built. These were years of struggle between the Guelphs (who were followers of the Pope and church) and the Ghibellines (who were supporters of the Emperor). In 1295, with the coming into power of the Ghibellines, an important Genoese family, who had taken the side of the Guelphs, were forced into exile in Provence. In 1297 under the guidance of an alchemist known as Draco (a mystic from Genoa), Francesco Grimaldi (known as 'Malizia' (malice) was advised to disguise himself as a monk to gain entrance to the Guelphs fortress and was foretold that this would insure his victory. The advice from the mystic worked, the gates opened to let him in, thus enabling his soldiers to take the garrison by storm. For his treachery, the church persecuted and branded the mystic and his family as those who “speak evil” or “evil Speakers”.

So the mystic Draco was deemed "Boccanegra" (evil-speaker by the church)or was Francesco Grimaldi deemed "Boccanegra" ????

The Name, the title, the label:

Bocca in Italian means–Mouth. Negra in Italian means–Black. Translation - Mouth Black, or in English Black Mouth.
During the 13th century the representation or depiction of evil was Black (or Darkness) The representation or depiction of speaking was the Mouth.

The origin of the surname Boccanegra is in fact–Evil Speak. The ancestors of this name were branded as heretics, alchemists, sorceresses, mystics, witches and warlocks.

The come back:

The family late rose to power in Genoa. Simone Boccanegra, who died 1363, was the first Doge of Genoa. The title of Doge was used for the elected chief of state in a number of Italian "crowned republics". The two best known such republics were Venice and Genoa, which rivaled each other, and the other regional great powers, by building their historical city-states into maritime, commercial, and territorial mini-empires. Simone Boccanegra was elected as doge for life on September 24, 1339, as the candidate of the "popular" Ghibelline faction. Boccanegra was opposed by the aristocratic Guelf faction, representing the old mercantile nobility, which his first actions excluded from public life. With the old nobility excluded from power, a new class of mercantile house arose. There were constant conspiracies and attempts against Boccanegra's life from the outset. (The first conspirator's head rolled on December 20, 1339) This led to the establishment of a bodyguard of 103 mounted soldiers. For Boccanegra's security these were drawn from Pisa, the inveterate enemy of Genoa, where, however, Simone's brother Niccolò was "captain of the people", their mother having been a Pisan aristocrat. Boccanegra was forced to resign his office at a public meeting he had called in December of 1344. Giovanni Valente ruled as chief magistrate, until Boccanegra regained power in 1356. Boccanegra was fatally poisoned in 1363. Simone Boccanegra's tomb in the church of San Francesco in Castelletto was decorated with a remarkable funeral sculpture, depicting him as if lying in state with extraordinary realism in his features. This sculpture is now in the Museum of Sant'Agostino.


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