22 Facts About Alans


Alans were an ancient and medieval Iranian nomadic pastoral people of the North Caucasus – generally regarded as part of the Sarmatians, and possibly related to the Massagetae.

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The Iberian Alans, soundly defeated by the Visigoths in 418 CE, subsequently surrendered their authority to the Hasdingi Vandals.

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In 428CE, the Vandals and Alans crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into North Africa, where they founded a kingdom which lasted until its conquest by forces of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 534.

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Those Alans who remained under Hunnic rule eventually founded the powerful kingdom of Alania in the North Caucasus in the 9th century; it survived until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century CE.

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Alans spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into the modern Ossetian language.

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Alans were known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, As, and Os .

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Alans were formed out of the merger of the Massagetae, a Central Asian Iranian nomadic people, with some old tribal groups.

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The Alans are mentioned in the Vologases inscription which reads that Vologases I, the Parthian king between around 45 and 78 CE, in the 11th year of his reign, battled Kuluk, king of the Alani.

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Fact that the Alans invaded Parthia through Hyrcania shows that at the time many Alans were still based north-east of the Caspian Sea.

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The Alans however seem to have had a significant influence on the culture of the Goths, who became excellent horsemen and adopted the Alanic animal style art.

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In 463 the Alans defeated the Goths at the battle of Orleans, and they later defeated the Franks led by Childeric in 466.

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However, the Alans, who were Chalcedonian Christians like Clovis, desired cordial relations with him to counterbalance the hostile Arian Visigoths who coveted the land north of the Loire.

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The Kingdom of the Alans was among the first Barbarian kingdoms to be founded.

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In 418, the Alan king, Attaces, was killed in battle against the Visigoths, and this branch of the Alans subsequently appealed to the Asding Vandal king Gunderic to accept the Alan crown.

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Alans who remained in their original area of settlement north of the Caucasus, came into contact and conflict with the Bulgars, the Gokturks, and the Khazars, who drove most of them from the plains and into the mountains.

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Alans converted to Byzantine Orthodoxy in the first quarter of the 10th century, during the patriarchate of Nicholas I Mystikos.

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The Alans are collectively mentioned as Byzantine-rite Christians in the 13th century.

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The Caucasian Alans were the ancestors of the modern Ossetians, whose ethnonym derives from the name As, a sister tribe of the Alans.

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Alans reported to have found several arrowheads and spears from the 13th century near the very mountain the battle took place at:.

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Alans were recruited into the Mongol forces with one unit called "Right Alan Guard" which was combined with "recently surrendered" soldiers, Mongols, and Chinese soldiers stationed in the area of the former Kingdom of Qocho and in Besh Balikh the Mongols established a Chinese military colony led by Chinese general Qi Kongzhi .

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Alans living as Mongol subjects in Crimea, Old Astrakhan, the Khan's capital Karakorum, and still as freemen in their Caucasian homeland .

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Ancient language of the Alans was an Eastern Iranian dialect either identical, or at least closely related, to ancient Eastern Iranian languages.

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