Recorded in over seventy surname forms including Sebastian, Bastian, Paustian, with diminutives Bast, Sebastiani, and Sebok, and patronymics Basten, Baston, Basting and Bestages, this is a European name but ultimately of Roman (Latin) origins. It derives from the ancient personal name of pre Christian times called 'Sebastianus'. This in a sense was 'locational' in that it described a person who came from a place in Greece called 'Sebastos' meaning 'revered' or in other words, a holy place. This may in fact have meant that the original name holders were holy men, but that is conjecture.What is not conjecture is that the first recorded nameholder was probably St. Sebastian, who was martyrd in Rome the 3rd century. He is believed to have been a praetorian guard, who was killed for preaching Christianity. The main thrust for the developoment of the surname came after the famous crusades to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule in the 12th century a.d.. It became fashionable for returning soldiers and pilgrims to call their children by biblical or at least Grecian names, in honour of their fathers efforts. Hence the popularity throughout Northern Europe of names like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, or in this case Sebastian. It is unclear as to when the first surname recording was entered in a register, but John Bastian in the English (short) form was recorded in the county of Kent in 1317, whilst Liborius Sebastiani appears in the charters of Rochlitz, Germany, in 1490.
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