View Full Version : Rex Wandalorum et Alanorum - Who were the Alans?

Sunday, July 16th, 2006, 09:52 AM
I have met Slavic people, Bavarians, and Hungarians, who all proudly claim some descent from the Alans, or so they believe, while other people feel the Alans were some sort of semi-Persian scum and nothing to be proud of in ones family tree, but who were these people really?:bconfused

SOURCE --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alans)

Following the fortunes of the Vandals into the Iberian peninsula (Hispania) in 409, the separate ethnic identity of Respendial's Alans dissolved. In 418, the Alan king, Attaces, was killed in battle against the Visigoths, and this branch of the Alans subsequently appealed to the Vandal king Gunderic to accept the Alan crown. Although some of these Alans settled in Iberia, most went to North Africa with the Vandals in 429. Later Vandal kings in North Africa styled themselves Rex Wandalorum et Alanorum (King of the Vandals and Alans).

In the Iberian peninsula the Alans settled in Lusitania and the Cartaginense provinces: "Alani Lusitaniam et Carthaginiensem provincias". They became known in retrospect for their massive hunting and fighting dogs, which they apparently introduced to Europe. A giant breed of dog still called Alano survives in the Basque Country. The dogs, which are traditionally used in boar hunting and cattle herding, are associated with the massive dogs that Alans and Vandals brought into Iberia.

Modern genetic science's disclosure of the geographical distribution of historical genetic markers has convinced certain theorists of the connection between Sarmato-Alanic deep ancestral heritage in Europe and the Y-DNA paternal Haplogroup G (Y-DNA), specifically G2[2].

Alan and Vandal migrations 4th–5th centuries. Red: migrations; Orange: military expeditions; Yellow: settlement areas.

Map showing the location of Alans, c. 650 CE.

SOURCE --> http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7294(190704%2F06)2%3A9%3A2%3C276%3ATRDOT O%3E2.0.CO%3B2-E (http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7294%28190704%2F06%292%3A9%3A2%3C276%3AT RDOTO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-E)

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About the Journal (http://links.jstor.org/journals/00027294.html) This journal is licensed to JSTOR by
American Anthropological Association

The Racial Derivation of the Ossetes
Karl S. Kennard
American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1907) , pp. 276-286

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SOURCE --> http://www.publicanthropology.org/Archive/Aa1907.htm (http://www.publicanthropology.org/Archive/Aa1907.htm)

Kennard, Karl S. The Racial Derivation of the Ossetes American Anthropologist April-June, 1907 Vol.9(2):276-286.
The author’s objectives are to figure out why the Ossetes vary physically from the other groups in the Caucasus, and to determine their origin. Groups in the Caucasian Mountains shared the characteristics of dark hair, dark skin and eyes, as well as broad heads, and there is very little variation in the tribes because of their isolation from other groups. The Ossetes, on the other hand, had long heads, were tall, and more than 30% had blond hair. The trait of long-headedness was the fundamental distinguishing feature. Some thought the Ossetes came from the Iranian plateau and settled in the mountains, but everyone from Arabia had dark hair, and there was no mixed breeding. Anthropological investigations discarded these differences and explained them as a matter of race. The Ossetes were probably descendants of the Alani, a Nordic tribe that lived north of the Caucasus. There was no evidence of any one but the Nordic people occupying northern Europe and extending south to the Alps.
The Alani were a group of "white complexion and yellowish hair" (283) who divided and dispersed when the Huns invaded in 176 A.D. They settled in the mountains around the Pass of Dariel. All Alani were blond, but over time some breeding with other groups occurred because the Ossetes occupied the only pass across the mountains. Breeding with other groups, most likely Jews, Mongols, Armenians, Russians, or Tartars, gradually introduced dark hair. Kennard says the Ossetes are "in transit, … from a higher to more degenerate type" (285), but they still hold enough racial features to verify their origin.
Historians conclude the Ossetes were remnants of the Alani, who were a division of the Finns. Lithuanians, Esths, Tchuds, and Russians descended from the Ossetes. This article has a few words that will need to be looked up, like "cephalic index", but overall, it is easy to read and understand.

I have heard different things about these interesting people, who seem to only have only now the small nation of Ossetians, who've seemingly maintained the original racial and linguistic characteristics of their ancestors, who've seemingly contributed in no small part to the ancient history of both our Slavic and Continental Germanic friends, as well as in general that of Europe, while also irritating ancient Rome and even China.

I have read ancient accounts of the original Alans, being referred to, or self-identifying as 'the shining ones', and having a noble bearing, indefatigable horsemanship and valor, and a physical type that was strong, slender, having blonde hair and light-eyes, and a face similarly fierce to the northmen, but more hawkish about the eyes and nose.

I had thought this perhaps a bit of literary license or mythology, because these people were allegedly northern indo-Iranian speakers, but I have spoken with Russian friends on occasion about the interesting facial features of certain tall blonde girls from the CIS who caught my eye, and they repeated this impression of the Alans, by referring to these hawkish-nosed, sharp-angled faces on these girls as being 'a rather Alanic type'. They gave me the impression of Swedish or Baltic girls I've met, but with much of the lovely curves and smoothness of face replaced with sharp angles, and a somewhat beakish nose; nonetheless lovely and interesting in a different way.

So I guess I am interested to hear the opinions and feedback from those here who may know more both about these ancient peoples' physical characteristics, legacy, and that of the modern Ossetian people who are identified as being their only remaining pure descendants, in culture if not in race and language. Any thoughts, observations, relevant pictures or anthropological evidence?