This noble and distinguished surname recorded as Antal and Antat, although often Moslem, originates from "Antonius", what maybe described as a pre-Christian or pagan Roman clan name. It is believed to translate as "praiseworthy" or "priceless", and Marcus Antonius circa 83 - 30 B.C., friend to Caesar, and lover of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, was the most notable member of the clan. The surname developed in the medieval period, being first recorded in England in the 13th century, see below, and now world-wide has developed into over one hundred individual spellings.Examples of these spellings range from Antony, Anthoine, Anton and Antona, to Antoinet, Antonelli, Antognoli, and Antuk, and the patronymics such as Antunez, D'Antoni, Antoons, Antonssen, Antonov, and Antonwicz. The great popularity of the original name throughout Christendom, is largely due to two saints. The first being St. Anthony of Egypt (c251 to 331), founder of monasticism in the 4th Century, and the second, St. Anthony of Padua (1195 - 1231), who became a favoured disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. His learning and eloquence was so great that he is said to have drawn a congregation of fishes to raise their heads out of the sea and listen to him breathlessly! Amongst the earliest examples of the surname recording are those of William Antony, who was recorded in the tax charters of the county of Suffolk, England, in the year 1306, whilst in Germany in 1527 Schultheis Anthonius was recorded as being the Stadtschreiber (Town clerk) for the city of Kassel. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any country is probably that of John Antoyne, which was dated 1275, in the charters of the county of Worcester, England.
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