WHO WERE THE ALANS?
Mirfatykh Z. ZAKIEV
From his articles collection book
TATARS: PROBLEMS of the HISTORY and LANGUAGE
Collection of articles on problems of linguistic history; revival and development of the Tatar nation. Kazan, 1995. Pp.38-57.
§ 1. General information. As is known from multiple sources, in the expansive region of Eurasia, namely in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East, Middle East, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Southern and Western Siberia, lived differently speaking people, called until the 9–8 cc. BC by the Greek, and then by the Roman historians, by a common name Cimmerians,in the 9–3 cc. BC by Scythians (in Russian: Skif, in Western European: Scyth), at the same time they also called them Sauromats,in the 3 cc. BC – 4 cc. AD they also called them Sarmatians. Then into general use came an ethnonym Alan.
In the Indo-European and official Soviet Russian historical sciences all of them are recognized as Iranian speaking, in particular, as the ancestors of Ossetians, not on the basis of a comprehensive study of the linguistic, mythological, ethnological, archeological and historical data, but coming only from isolated linguistic deductions. This implies that the ancestors of Ossetians lived in the expansive region of Eurasia under the general names of Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans (Ases) between one thousand years BC and a thousand years AD, but in the beginning of the second millennium AD they extraordinarily vanished (or adopted Türkic language) and remained in small numbers only in the Caucasus. Such a presentation of the historical process in Eurasia does not bear criticism even based on the following general considerations. The historical process of the development or assimilation of peoples does not support the opinion about Iranian linguality of the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans. If in such an extensive region of Eurasia, as the Iranists assume, lived Iranian speaking Ossetians during a period of not less than two thousand years, then, on one hand, at the‘arrival' of the Huns they would not have suddenly disappeared without a trace, and would not have immediately turned into Türks, and on another hand the Türks, if they did not live earlier in these regions, could not have created instantaneously in the 6th c. the Great Türkic Kaganate on the most expansive territory from the coast of Pacific Ocean to the Adriatic sea.
We should also keep in mind that the depiction of that ancient population as Iranian speaking contradicts the information of the ancient historians about the multilingualism of Scythians and Sarmatians, and is not supported by the toponymical data of the above named extensive region.
Besides, if Scythians and Sarmatians were Iranian speaking, the ancient Assyrian, Greek, Roman, Chinese historians could not fail to notice it, they knew well both Iranians – Persians, and the Scythians – Sarmatians, i.e. describing these peoples they would have surely noted somehow the similarity or affinity of the Persian and ‘Scythian' languages. But we do not find even a hint of this from the ancient writers. At the same time there are many cases of identification of Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans with various Türkic speaking peoples.
Lastly, if in the extensive territories of Eurasia under a common nameScythians and Sarmatians lived only Iranian speaking peoples, from where would then suddenly appear Slavic, Türkic, and Finno-Ugrian peoples. Only an ironical question is left to be asked: maybe they ‘fell from the sky'?!
Thus, even the general review of the results of the Scythian and Sarmatian studies of Iranists shows that in their tendentiousness they strayed into the realm of unrealistic, unprovable fantasy and concoction.
On the other hand, even before and after the emergence of the Scytho-Iranian concept, many scientists were proving and confirming the Türkic linguistic affinity of Scythians, Sarmatians and Alans, recognizing the presence among them of Slavic, and Finno-Ugrian, and Mongolian, and also, in the smallest degree, of the Iranian peoples. In the opinion of this group of scientists, even long before AD times, on the extensive territories of Eurasia, under the general names of Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans (Ases), lived the ancestors of Türkic peoples. They continued and continue to live now in the same regions, under various ethnonyms, since the middle of the 1st - beginning of the 2nd millennium AD. In fact, starting in the 11 c., from the beginning of the Crusader campaigns, the settlement areas of the Türks gradually narrowed.
But, despite of the presence of the two different prevailing points of view, the (Russian - Translator's note.) official historical science, by all possible and impossible rationales, tries to prove the truthfulness of the Scythian- Sarmatian-Alanian-Ossetian theory. Here is what V.A. Kuznetsov writes in BSE (Big Soviet Encyclopedia): ‘Alans (Lat. Alan), self-name- Irons, in the Byzantian sources - Alans, in Georgian -Osses, in Russian - Yasses, numerous Iranian speaking tribes,separated in the last century BC from the Sarmatian population of the Northern Caspian, Don and Pre-Caucasus area, and settled in the I c.AD (per writings of Roman and Byzantian authors) in Meotia and N.Caucasus, from where they were making devastating incursions into Crimea, Meotia and N.Caucasus, Asia Minor, Media. The basis of the Alan economy of that time was cattle breeding...'
Further, the author describes that in the Central N.Caucasus they formed an association, which was referred to as Alania. In the 8-9 cc. it was included in the Khazar Khaganate. at the turn of 9-10 cc. Alans form a nearly feudal state. In the 10 c. Alans play a significant role in Khazaria's external connections with Byzantium, whence Christianity infiltrates to Alania.
Here V.A. Kuznetsov's information about Alans is stated basically adequately, except that the first part of the first sentence does not correspond to reality at all: it is clear that Alans (Ases) never called themselves Irons, Irons is a self-name of the Ossetians only. Hence, V.A. Kuznetsov begins the statement with a falsification, with a priory identification of Alans as Ossetians.
§ 2. On what basis was originally built the opinion about Ossetian linguistic affinity of Alans (Ases)? Here we meet with a few ‘incontestable 'facts ‘proving' the Ossetian linguality of Alans.
It is known that the ancient historians repeatedly noted a complete similarity in language and dress of Alans and Scythians. Besides, per ancients' message, Alans are one of the Sarmatian peoples. As Iranists classify the Scythians and Sarmatians as Ossetian speaking, so, in their opinion, the Alans should certainly be recognized as Ossetian speaking.
It is known that the theory of the Iranian (or Ossetian) linguistic affinity of the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans was not developed in objective research, and was created purposefully by tendentious etymologization of Scythian and Sarmatian words, through application of exclusively Indo-Iranian languages.Iranists tenaciously did not admit any other languages to the etymology of these words, not Türkic, or Slavic, or Finno-Ugrian, or Mongolian, whose carriers did not ‘fall from the sky', but have lived in these territories for centuries.
We and many other scientists, more than once, have shown that Scytho-Sarmatian key words are better etymologized with the help of Turkic languages. The existing etymologies of these words on the basis of the Iranian languages are not convincing, do not have an elementary system, and certainly Scytho-Sarmatian words do not have any Iranian etymology. We list below some key Scythian-Sarmatian words for illustration.
It is known that the name Scythians for the first time shows up in the Assyrian documents of the middle of the 7 c. BC. The country of Scythians is called Ishkuza, Scythian kings were Ishpakai and Partatua[Pogrebova M.N., 1981, 44-48].
The word Ishkuza on the Iranian basis has not been explained, but in Türkic it has possible etymologies:
1) Ishke~Echke ‘internal'; Uz - Türkic ethnonim of Oguz part of Türks (oguz~ok-uz ‘white, noble Uzes');
2) Ishke~Eske, the first part from a word Scyth~ Scyth ~ ~Eske-de; the word Eske in the pure state, i.e. without an affix, is a Türkicethnonim. The word Scyth (Eske-le) means ‘the people mixed with the people ‘Eske'. The word Eshkuza~ Eske-Uz is used as Uz,i.e. related to the people ‘Eske'; it is the name of the people and of the country;
3) Ishkuza consists of parts Ish-Oguz, where Ish isa variation of a word As, the ancient name of the Türks, Oguzconsists of words ak and uz, and means ‘white, nobleUzes', in turn, Uz also ascends to ethnonym As; Oguz isan ethnonym of a part of the Türks.
Abaev and Fasmer explained Ishpakai as the Iranian word aspa ‘Horse'.Suggesting that the name of the Scythian prince is taken from the name of his people, in words Ishkuza and Ishpakai the initialIsh is a part of the same word. Then it is possible to suggest that in a word Ishpakai~ Ishbaga the part ish is ‘equal, friend'+ baga ‘brings up (baga has also the meanings 'he/she watches, looks, takes care of smb. – Edit.)'; ish baga ‘ finds himself equal,friends'.
Partatua has no Iranian etymology, in Türkic partatua~bardy-tua~bar-ly-tuais ‘born for creation of property, wealth'.
The key words, saved in the Greek sources, are first of all the namesof Scythians' ancestors: Targitai, Lipoksai, Arpoksai, Kolaksai;Scythian ethnonims: Sak, Scyth, Agathir (Agafirs), Gelon, Scolot, Sarmat;Scythian words that were etymologized by Herodotus himself: eorpata,enareis, arimasps; And also the names of Scythian gods: Tabiti,Papai, Ani etc. All these words are etymologized on the basis of Türkiclanguage [see Ethnic Roots Of The Tatar People § 3].
By their ethnological features the Scythians and Sarmatians, certainly, are ancient Türkic people. Specifically, it is the ethnological affinity of Scythians and Türks that deters the advocates of the Scythian-Ossetian theory from research of Scythian ethnological problems. As to the Scytho-Turkic ethnological parallels, they were already noted by the first, and then by the subsequent Scythologists, who came to a conclusion that ‘the vestiges of Scythian culture were perpetuated and persistently preserved in the culture of Türkic-Mongolian (and in an a smaller measure in Slavic and Finno-Ugrian) peoples' [Elnitskiy L.A., 1977, 243]. P.I.Karalkin also came to a conclusion that imperial Scythians were ancestors of the Türkic speaking peoples [Karalkin P.I., 1978, 39-40].
Ethnological features of Scythians and Sarmatians are studied in detail in the book of I.M.Miziev ‘History beside'. It lists 15 Scythian-Türkic (in a wider sense – Altaic) ethnological parallels, and concludes that ‘all noted characteristics of the Scythian-Altai parallels find the nearest analogies, nearly without exception, in the culture and life of the many medieval pastoralists of the Eurasian steppes: Huns, Kipchaks etc., and almost completely continue in the traditional culture of the Türkic -Mongolian peoples of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Volga basin, Caucasus and Altai' [MizievI.M., 1990,].
Thus, the message of the ancients about the similarity of the languages of Scythians, Sarmatians and Alans is not a basis at all for the identification of Alans as Iranian speaking. The results of the research of many scientists show that Alans, as well as their ancestors, Sarmatians and Scythians, were mainly Türkic speaking, i.e. ancestors of the Türks.
§ 3. What are the other reasons to recognize Alans (Asses) as Türkicspeaking? A 1949 issue of V.I.Abaev monograph ‘Ossetian Language AndFolklore' confirms the hypothesis about Iranian speaking of Alans, in additionto the Scytho-Ossetian etymology, by: 1) text of a Zelenchuk epitaph, carvedin the 11 c., and 2) phrases in Alanian language given by the Byzantianwriter Ioan Tsets (1110 - 1180).
Zelenchuk epigraphic, written in Greek letters, for the first time wasdeciphered by Vs.F.Miller in the end of the 19 c., on the basis of Ossetianlanguage. His translation reads: ‘Jesus Christ Saint (?) Nikolai Sakhirason Kh...r son Bakatar Bakatai son Anban Anbalan son of adolescent monument(?) (Adolescent Ira) (?)'. This translation by Vs.F.Miller is consideredquite satisfactory, he makes only one slightly critical note: ‘ Thoughname Anbalan we cannot find at Ossetians, it sounds quite Ossetian ‘ [MillerVs.F., 1893, 115]. V.I.Abaev makes an insignificant change in the textof translation 'Jesus Christ Saint (?) Nikolai Sakhira son Kh...r son Bakatar,Bakatar son Anbalan, Anbalan son Lag – their monument ‘ [Abaev V.I., 1949,262].
Vs.F.Miller added 8 additional letters to the text in the very beginningof the reading of the Zelenchuk inscription, without which he would notfind any Ossetian words whatsoever [Kafoev A.J., 1963, 13]. Following him,all supporters of the Alanian-Ossetian theory, reading the Zelenchuk inscription,always resorted to various manipulations with the letters and words ofthe inscription [Miziev I.M., 1986, 111-116]. It should be noted that evenafter the deliberate modifications, the text of the Zelenchuk inscriptionin Ossetian language remains only a senseless set of personal names andnothing more, but in Karachaevo-Balkarian language it is read preciselyand clearly. The words there, certainly, are Türkic. For example, yurtis ‘native land', Yabgu ‘governor', yiyip ‘gathered',ti ‘speak', zyl ‘year ‘, itiner ‘aspire', bülünep– ‘separated', etc. [Laipanov K.T., Miziev I.M., 1993].
In 1990 F.Sh.Fattakhov, having made a critical analysis of the availableinterpretations of Zelenchuk epitaph, came to a conclusion that the inscriptionis freely read on the basis of Türkic language. The translation from Türkiclanguage says: ‘Jesus Christ. Name Nicola. If had grown, would not be betterto patronize leading yurt. From yurt of Tarbakatai-Alan the child shouldbe made a possessing Khan. Year of Horse' [Fattakhov F.Sh., 1990, 43-55].Thus, Alanian epigraphic, found in the land of Karachais and written inthe 11 c., is more accurately deciphered through the language of the Karachaisancestors. Hence, Zelenchuk epigraphic cannot serve as a proof of the Iranianspeaking of Alans. As to the Alanian phrase of the Byzantian writer IoanTsets (1110-1180), kept in the Vatican library in Rome, its decipheringwas attempted with the help of the Ossetian language, with various manipulationsof the text: ‘corrected', and rearranged, and even added letters. In thetranslation of V.I.Abaev the record of Ioan Tsets sounds thus: ‘Good day,my Master, Queen, where from came you? Aren't you ashamed, my Lady?' [AbaevV.I., 1949, 245]. A question rises immediately, is such reference to aLady, a Queen, possible? Apparently, not. The Tsets phrase has such commonTürkic words as khos~khosh ‘good, bye', khotn ‘madam', kordin‘saw', kaitarif ‘returned ‘, oüngnge - the idiom meaningin Balkarian ‘how could it be?' [Laipanov K.T., Miziev I.M., 1993, 102-103].
The Alanian phrase of Ioan Tsets was also deciphered by F.Sh.Fattakhov,it was shown that it is a Türkic text: ‘Tabagach – mes ele kany kerdets[...] yurnetsen kinya~e mes ele. Kaiter ony [- -] eige' or ‘Pot hook -copper handle where did you see (?) [...] Should send a smaller (a small)handle. Bring it [- -] home'. [Fattakhov F., 1992].
Thus, Alanian phrase of Ioan Tsets unequivocally speaks about Türkiclinguality of Alans.
In the opinion of supporters of the Alanian-Ossetian theory, there isanother incontestable proof of the Ossetian speaking of Alans-Asses, itis the book of the Hungarian scientist Y.Nemeth ‘List of words in languageof Yasses, Hungarian Alans', published in German in Berlin in 1959, translatedto Russian by V.I.Abaev and published as a separate book in 1960 in Ordjonikidze.
The entire logic of this book is built on unconditional a priory recognitionof the Ossetian speaking of Asses-Alans. Because the author Y.Nemeth presentsAsses-Alans as obligatorily Ossetian speaking, he attributes the list ofwords with Ossetian lexical units, found accidentally in 1957 in the StateArchive, to the Hungarian Asses (Yasses). All the dictionary transcriptionwork and etymologization of its words is done with a passionate aspirationto certainly find in the list Ossetian words, to attribute them to Asses(Yasses), and forcibly prove them Ossetian speaking. Therefore the dictionaryawaits impartial researchers. This is a task of the future, but here itis not our concern. The question is: whether it is possible to recognizeHungarian Yasses as Ossetian speaking even with this book of Y.Nemeth,and from this whether Y.Nemeth acted correctly in attributing the listof words with expected Ossetian lexical units to the Hungarian Yasses?
Let's listen to the author. He writes: "1. Until the 19 c. Yasses inHungary form one administrative unit with Cumans (Cumans, Russ. Polovets);both peoples usually carry a common name Yazs-Kunok, i.e. ‘Yasses-Cumans'.Explanation for this is possible only as a result of old close links betweentwo peoples" [Nemeth Y., 1960, 4]. This message of the author leads toa thought that Yasses and Cumans among Hungarians make basically a monolingualcommunity, because they settled together, on the same territory, and carrya common ethnonim Yasses-Cumans. Let's imagine, if Cumans and Yassesspoke unlike languages, if they came to Hungary at different times, wouldthey settled together and would they carry a common ethnonim? Probably,not.
Further, Y.Nemeth continues: ‘Cumans came to Hungary in 1239, escapingfrom the invasion of the Mongols. It is therefore possible to think thatAlans appeared in Hungary mainly in conjunction with the Cuman union. Inits favor also speaks the coexistence of Cumans and Alans in the NorthPontic, in the Caucasus and in Moldova' [Ibis, 4]. We already know thatin these regions Alans were Türkic speaking and consequently lived togetherwith Cumans; moreover, Balkars and Karachais still call themselves Alans,and Ossetians call Balkars Assiyas. We know well that Volga Bulgarsin another way are called Yasses. The Hungarian scientist Erneyinforms that after a victory of Svyatoslav over Bulgars in 969 the Muslimsresettled from Bulgar to Hungary, and they were called Yasses [ShpilevskyS.M., 1877, 105].
Let's continue the message of Y.Nemeth. ‘There are seven districts inHungary with a name Eszlar, Oszlar (from Aslar - ‘Asses').It is believed that in these names is hidden the name Yasses: As isthe Türkic name of Alans, and -lar is Türkic plural suffix; it followsthat Cumans called Yasses Aslar. However it should be noticed that in comitateSomogy (south of lake Platten) the name Eszlar is witnessed in the1229, i.e. before the coming of Cumans, and, in addition, it was in theform Azalar' [Nemeth Y., 1960, 4]. Nothing is left to assumptionhere, it is clear that the discourse is about Asses, that they call themselvesAslar in Türkic. Hence, they surely spoke Türkic, instead of Ossetian.Y.Nemeth himself writes that the plural affix -lar is not the resultof the Türkic-Cuman language influence. We do not know cases when any peopleapply their own ethnonim with plural affix from another language.
Further, what says the following message of Y.Nemeth: ‘Anywhere, wherethere are Cuman populations, we meet Yass settlements' . If Cumans andYasses were speaking unlike languages, would they settle adjacently everywhere?
Surprisingly, after these assertions, which should tip Y.Nemeth to theopinion of the ethnical and linguistical similarity or affinity of Cumansand Yasses, the author comes to a conclusion that ‘Cumans and Yasses areof different origin. Cumans are a large Türkic people... and Yasses arepeople of Iranian origin, branch of Alans, related to Ossetians' .
The list came to storage from the archive of Batiani family. ‘Date ofJanuary 12, 1422. Contents: judicial case of the widow of George Batianiagainst Ioan and Stephan Safar from Chev' . Except for a notation thatsettlement Chev is located in the vicinity of Yass settlement, there isno basis for the assumption that this list of words belongs to Yasses,short of a deep belief by Y.Nemeth himself that list of supposedly Iranianwith Ossetian tilt words should be attributed to Alan-Yass language. Thesurname Batiani says that he, apparently, was of Caucasus-Ossetian origin,therefore the list of words has many Ossetian words. At the same time thelist has a lot of Türkic words. I.M.Miziev analyzed the list, found inHungary, from that point of view [Miziev I.M., 1986, 117-118].
Thus, the postulation of Y.Nemeth that the list, containing Ossetianwords, belongs to Yasses -Alans is more than disputable. Even more, thelist of words should now be impartially deciphered anew, instead of a prejudicedaspiration to find Ossetian words there.
§ 4. With what peoples their contemporaries identified Alans?It is a very important question. One thing is the opinion of the historianscontemporary with Alans, and absolutely different are the attempts of modernscientists to explain history in a certain way according to their agenda.
Reviewing the so-called Scytho-Sarmatian extensive territory, we seethat the preceding peoples are frequently identified with the subsequentpeoples. Thus, in Assirian sources of 7 c. BC the Cimmerians are identifiedwith Scythians, but the modern historians interpret it as if the ancienthistorians confused them by mistake. For example, M.N.Pogrebova, speakingabout it, writes: ‘It is possible, Assyrians also confused them.' [PogrebovaM.N., 1981, 48]. Further, in later sources the Scythians are identifiedwith Sarmatians; Sarmatians - with Alans; Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans- with Huns; Alans, Huns - with Türks (i.e. with Avars, Khazars, Bulgars,Pechenegs, Kipchaks, Oguzes) etc.
Let's present some testimonials about Alans. Roman historian of the4 c. Ammianus Marcellinus, who was well acquainted with Alans, and wholeft the most complete description of them, wrote, that Alans ‘in everythingare similar to Huns, but are a little bit softer in customs and way oflife' [Ammianus Marcellinus, 1908, Issue 3, 242]. The translator of the‘History of Judean war by Josephus Flavius' (written in 70 AD) to Old Russianlanguage the ethnonim Alans translates by a word Yass and,without a shadow of doubt, asserts that the ‘language of Yasses is knownas born from the Pecheneg kin' [Meschersky N.A., 1958, 454]. Vs. Milleralso gives this citation, where Alans-Yasses are identified with Pechenegs-Türks,and he points out that the interpreter has replaced Scythians with Pechenegs,and Alans with Yasses [Miller Vs., 1887, 40]. It is clear that this remarkdoes not help Vs. Miller at all to identify Alans with Ossetians, on thecontrary, it says that in the 11 c. the interpreter realized very wellthat Pechenegs are descendents of Scythians, and that Alans are Yasses.
Besides; it is necessary to remember that the ancient historians alwaysdescribed Alans next to Aorses (i.e. Avars), Huns, Khazars, Sabirs, Bulgars,i.e. with Türkic speaking peoples.
Alans left a notable trace in the Middle Volga basin; here again theywere identified with Türks, in particular, with Khazars. Thus, existingtoponyms in this region ascend to ethnonim Alan. Udmurts have legendsabout ancient populations. They call a mythological hero Alan-Gasar(Alan-Khazar) and everything that was attributed to him was relatedto the Nugai people, i.e. Tatars, who in another way were called also Kuruk(Ku-iirk, where, ku ‘white-faced', iirk - a synonymof the ethnonim Biger ‘the owner, rich' – M.Z.) [Potanin G.N., 1884,192]. Here is obvious identification of Alans with Nugais-Tatars.
In the (Russian - Translator's note.) official historical science thecases of identification of Scythians-Alans-Huns-Khazars-Türks are usuallyexplained by the fact that ancient historians, apparently, frequently confusedthese peoples. Actually, they could not be confused; for they talked ofevents they witnessed themselves. They did not have political directivesto confuse consciously. In our deep belief, ancients mixed up nothing,but the modern historians, acting from their biases or political directives,want to interpret the ancient sources in their own way and they start ‘correcting'them. Examining the messages of the ancients carefully and impartially,it becomes incontestably clear that in the so-called Scythian-Sarmatianregions, both in antiquity, and in the Middle Ages, lived basically thesame peoples. Essentially the same peoples occupy these territories now.
It is impossible not to notice that the supporters of Alano-Ossetiantheory recognize as correct only that part of the statements of the ancients,which recorded the linkage of Scythians-Sarmatians-Alans, but to the otherpart of the message, about the linkage of Scythians-Sarmatians-Alans-Huns-Türks-Khazars-Bulgarsetc. they thoroughly ignore. Hence, they approach the study of ancientsources tendentiously and nonsystematically. That is first. Secondly, aswe saw above, their identification of Scythians-Sarmatians-Alans is notthe proof of the Ossetian-speaking of Alans, for Scythians and Sarmatianswere not Ossetian-speaking.
One more fact deserves attention. How some modern historians visualizeethnic processes in Eastern Europe?
They believe that several waves of new peoples continuously came fromAsia to Eastern Europe: some of them in due course were dissolved in Europe,where the conditions of life were better. And in Asia, where the conditionsof life were worse than in Europe, the new peoples quickly multiplied whileclosely observing the Europe: as soon as some ethnicities began to disappearthere, they appeared to rush to Europe. Periodically this process was repeated.Thus, unveiled by the supporters of the official historical sciences, Cimmerianshave disappeared – and appeared Scythians or, the opposite, appeared fromAsia Scythians - disappeared Cimmerians; appeared Sarmatians, disappearedScythians; among Sarmatians procreated Alans, then appeared Huns (wouldbe first Türks), gradually disappeared Alans; appeared Avars (Aores -Aorses),disappeared Huns; appeared Türks, disappeared Avars; appeared Bolgars,disappeared Khazars; then gradually from Asia to Europe came Pechenegs,Kipchaks, Tataro-Mongols, after which the arrival of Türks from Asia toEurope stopped. For a rationally thinking scientist, such process of constantre-supply of the population of Europe due to the arrival of ‘nomads' fromAsia can not seem plausibly reflect the reality.
Why the ancient historians frequently identified (not confused!) theprevious with the subsequent? The answer is clear: in such extensive territoriesthe people basically did not change, changed only the ethnonim. The nameof the group that occupied a ruling position became a common ethnonim ofthe whole people or even of the whole large territory subordinated to thatgroup. And in various periods of history various groups were ruling. Thereforethe same people with the flow of time had changing ethnonims. Thus, inthe extensive territories of Scythians and Sarmatians in antiquity livedthe ancestors of those peoples that basically occupy these territoriestoday. From this point of view, in Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians andAlans we first of all should search for Türks, Slavs and Finno-Ugrians,instead of Iranian lingual Ossetians, who left intermittent traces onlyin the Caucasian region. The cases of identification of Scythians-Sarmatians-Alanswith Türkic people reach up to the present. For example, as in antiquity,so also now the Türkic ‘Balkars and Karachais call themselves by an ethnonimAlans, as, for example, Adygeys... call themselves Adyga,the Georgians - Sakartvelo, Ossetians - Iron, Yakuts - Sakhaetc. Mengrels call Karachais Alans; Ossetians call Balkars Asses' [KhabichevM.A., 1977, 75]. It is a fact, impossible to hide from. But one of thefounders of the Sarmato-Scytho-Ossetian theory Vs. Miller falsifies itas follows. Assuming that Balkars and Karachais should certainly be immigrants,and the Ossetians are locals, he writes: ‘Balkars (an immigrant tribe),purged Ossetians from these places, they (i.e. Ossetians) call them Asses(Asiag is Balkarian, Asi is the country they occupied), the ancient nameis preserved in the annals in a form Yasses. However, there is nodoubt, that not Balkars, who came to the present place rather late, butOssetians were Yasses of our annals; but the name was attached to the districtand has remained, despite of the change in the population. Chechen is calledin Ossetian Ttsetsenag, Ingush – Mäkäl, Nogai - Nogayag'[Miller Vs., 1886, 7]. There is a question, why Ossetians name correctlyboth Chechens, and Ingushes, and Nogais, making a mistake only in relationto Balkars? Deciphering the mysterious tangle of Vs. Miller, it turns outthat Ossetians at first called themselves and their territories Asiag,then, when the Ossetians snoozed, came Balkars and transferred sleepingOssetians to another territory, taking their former land. The next daythe Ossetians woke up and, using the name of the territory, began usingtheir own ethnonim Yasses for Balkars, instead of themselves, as before,and also began to call themselves Ironians, for they did not recall howthey were called earlier. It would be clear to every child that in reallife this does not happen and cannot happen. This ‘fairy tale' was necessaryfor Vs. Miller to prove by any means the equivalency of the historicalAsses and Ossetians.
Further, Vs. Miller gives examples from the Caucasus toponymy remindingOssetian words. Nobody would doubt that among Caucasian toponyms are Ossetian's,for they lived there, but at the same time there is a lot of Türkic names,experts estimate there are many more of the last. From several toponymicfacts and from the fact that instead of themselves Ossetians call Balkars(by ‘mistake') Asses, which works against the author, Vs. Miller resolves:‘There is a reason to think that the ancestors of Ossetians were includedin the composition of the Caucasian Alans ‘ [Ibis, 15]. Thus, he kept silentthe fact that Balkars and Karachais call themselves by ethnonim Alans,and they are called Alans by Mengrels.
Thus, Alans, in the firm opinion of their contemporaries, were Türkicspeaking. If they were Ossetian or Iranian speaking, the numerous historianswould have mentioned it somewhere.
§ 5. Ethnolinguistical nature of Asses -Alans by other data.The name Alans is mentioned for the first time in the sources inthe 1c. BC, but the variants of the name As are found much earlier.For example, in the Assirian and other ancient Eastern sources ‘the nameUds is traced from a deep antiquity, namely from the 3 millennium BC, whichcan be connected with Caspian Uds' [Elnitskiy L.A., 1977, 4]. Based onthe usual interchange of sounds d-z in Türkic languages it is possibleto conclude, that the name Ud is a variant of an ethnonim Uz,which, certainly, meant Türks (compare ashina~asina ‘mother of As')and means a part of the Türks, i.e. Oguzes (ak~uz ‘white,noble Uzes ‘). The phonetic variants of the ethnonim Uz are wellknown: Ud, Us, Os, Yos, Yass, Ash, Ish etc.
It remains a puzzle why Asses became referred to as Alans, why the sourcesknown to us identify Asses and Alans. About the etymology of the word Alanthere are various points of view, but none of them tries to deduceit from the word Alban. Meanwhile, such attempt could be very fruitful,for Alans lived in Caucasian Albania and it is not known until now, whowere these Albans. From the 1 c. BC to 8 c. AD this people is frequentlymentioned in many sources, its main population lived in Caucasian Albania,with the territory by the Caspian sea, north of the river Kura. Albaniaapproximately corresponds to Shirvan.
In Scythian and Sarmatian time in this region could have lived one ofthe ancestors of modern Azerbaijanis, called Aluan (Aluank). Asnotes F.Mamedova, the Albanian self-consciousness of the inhabitants ofthese places is reflected in their self-name aluank from the 1 c.BC to 8 c. AD, within the limits of all of the Albania, and after the ‘fallof the Albanian Kingdom, as a fragmental phenomenon, both the ethnonim,and the Albanian self-consciousness is traceable in the 9-19 cc. in onepart of the country - in Artsakh ‘ [Mamedova Farida, 1989, 109].
By the phonetic laws of the Türkic language the word aluank couldhave variants Alan, Alban, Alvan. The sound k, apparently,is a part of an affix of belonging -nyky (Aluannyky - ‘thepeople belonging to Aluan'). Strongly reduced y is almostnot heard, therefore it dropped out very quickly, double nn in duecourse gives one n, thus comes a word aluank , where thesound k is further reduced. As to the sound u, it soundsas w, and w usually sounds as a zero sound, or b,or v. So, from Aluau~Alyuan were formed Alan, Alban, andAlvan. All of them were actively used. Variation Alban in Yakutmeans ‘resourceful, good looking, beautiful'. If this meaning was usedin the word Alan, it proves the message of Ammianus Marcellinusthat ‘almost all Alans are tall and have fair hair, beautiful face, eyesightis if not furious, still is fearsome' [Ammianus Marcellinus, 1908, 241].
Thus, Alans in Caucasus, possibly, were originally known under ethnonimAluan, which then has received the forms Alan, Alban, andAlvan.
Let's address another ethnonim of Alans, ethnonim As withits numerous phonetic variations. In the ancient Türkic inscription monumentsof the 8 c. Asses are listed as Türkic tribes. They are mentionedmultiple times next to the Türks, Kirghiz, and are presented as a branchof Türks-Turgeshes [Bartold V.V., 1968, 204], and Kirghizes in the valleyof the river Chu [Bartold V.V., 1963, 492]. The Eastern historians of the10-11 cc., including M.Kashgari, write about the tribe ‘az keshe‘people Az' which, alongside with Alans and Kasa (Kasogs), undoubtedly,wereTürkic tribes [Bartold V.V., 1973, 109]. Al Biruni as a scientist declaresthat the language of Asses and Alans reminds the languages of Khoresmiansand Pechenegs [Klyashtornyi S.G.,1964, 174-175]. Here it should be notedthat Khoresmian is presumed as an Iranian language solely on the basisof few words preserved in the Arabian sources, just as Iranists have imposedthis language on Tokhars and Sogdians, and other historical peoples. Actually,Khorezmians were basically Türkic speaking, and were included in the Massagetanconfederation union, which the ancients identified with Huns. And as statedby Al Biruni, the Khoresmian language was close to Pechenegian, which,in turn, as acknowledged by the interpreter of Joseph Flavius, resembledAlanian-Yass language.
Let's turn to the Russian annals, which say that in 965 AD Svyatoslavattacked Kozars (Khazars - M.Z.) and defeated both Yasses, and Kosogs.Here is an implication, identifying Khazars with Yasses. Besides, the Orientalists,identifying this statement with that of the Eastern historian Ibn Khaukal,assert that it tells about the Svyatoslav Volga campaign against Khazars,Bulgars, and Burtases [Shpilevsky S.M., 1887, 103]. If that is so, it meansthat Bulgars and Burtases of Volga were called Yasses. As writes S.M.Shpilevsky,the Russian prince Andrey Bogolubsky, living in the 12 c., had Bulgarianwife [Shpilevsky S.M., 1877, 115]. And historian V.N.Tatischev calls ‘YassianPrincess' the wife of the Prince, and asserts that the brother of the ‘YassianPrincess' (brother - in - law of the Prince) Küchük killed Prince A. Bogolubskyin 1175 [Tatischev V.N., 1962, 375]. Küchük is obviously a Türkic name.The presence of this word in many Türkic ethnonims also says that ethnonimAs designated Türkic tribes. So, V.Romadin, who prepared the worksof V.V.Bartold for publishing, based on the fact that in the compositionof the 7 c. ‘Badaiat-tavarikh' the Kirghizes are called Asses, theethnonim Kirghiz, which consist of two words kyryk and As(‘forty Asses'), connect it to the ethnic or geographical term Az,As or Us [Bartold V.V., 1963, 485]. The basis as (yas,az, us, uz), apparently, is present in the ethnonims Burtas,(burta-As) - ‘forest Asses' or ‘Asses, engaged in honey', Yazgyr(Oguz tribes in M.Kashgari), Yasyr – Türkmenian tribes [KononovA.N., 1958, 92], Yazygs is a Sarmatian tribe, Oguzes ‘white,noble Uses', Taulas (tauly Asses), i.e. ‘ mountain Asses', Suas‘water Asses'. Maris, in their ancient tradition, called Kazan TatarsSuases, and a part of them does it now. Ethnonim Suas wasa self-name of Tatars [Chernyshev E.I., 1963, 135; Zakiev M.Z., 1986, 50-54].
Let's pay a special attention to last two ethnonims: Taulas andSuas. As in a word Taulas (Tulas), which is the nameof one of the mountain areas of Khazaria [Bartold V.V., 1973, 541, 544],and also, apparently, of its population, so in the word Suas theroot As is applied together with Türkic determining words, whichonce again proves the Türkic speaking of Asses.
The Perm Tatars, whose ancestors were directly connected with Biar (Bilyar)and Bulgars, before acceptance of the ethnonim Tatars, which at that timewas a status rank, called themselves Ostyak, which means ‘Ossian (Yassian)people', for Ostyak comes from a word Ostyk~Oslyk. Ostyaksalso took part in the formation of Bashkirs, therefore Perm and WesternSiberian Tatars, and a part of Bashkirs, who were their Eastern neighbors,are called now Ostyak~Ishtyak~Ushtyak. The Tatar historian of theend of the 18-beginning of 19 cc. Yalchigul considered himself to be BolgarlykIshtyak. Even in the 18 c. the Perm Tatars, in their appeals, statedthat their ancestors were called Ostyaks [Ramazanova D.B., 1983, 145].Also interesting is the fact that the ancient settlement centers of PermTatars, later becoming district centers, were called Os and Kungur, thesenames coincide with ethnonim As and Kungur (i.e. Kangyr –Pechenegs).
Thus, the word As with all its phonetical variations in the designationof the Türkic-speaking peoples was applied very widely, and in parallelwith a word er (ir-ar). Apparently, in antiquity the Westernpeoples also quite actively used the ethnonim As as the name ofEastern peoples. So, in the Scandinavian mythology Asses was thename for the main group of gods, and at the same time it was stated thatAsses came from Asia, hinting of the identity of the words Asses andAsia [Myths of the peoples of the world, 1980, 120].
There is one curious stroke in the Iranists' description of the Alanianhistory. After deportation of Karachais and Balkars from Caucasus, thebasically Türkic Nartovian epos that become common for them during thelong centuries of Karachais-Balkars coexistence with Ossetians, was declared to be solely Ossetian, and on this ground the Ossetians were identified with Alans. Actually, here again the door opens very simply: Balkars andKarachais call themselves Alans from the most ancient times until present,and this epos first of all tells about Alans-Türks (i.e. Karachais-Balkars),and in the long years of joint life the Ossetians acquired the Nartovianepos.
§ 6. Close interaction of Alans with Huns, Khazars and Kipchaks.Tracing the Alanian history, it is not difficult to notice that they cooperatedmost closely with Türks, at first with Sarmatians and Sarmatian people,Roxolans (in Türkish - Uraksy Alans, ‘Alans-farmers'), Siraks(i.e. Sary-ak people ‘white-yellow', ancestors of Cumans), Aorses(Aor-Awar-Avars, -os is a Greek ending), Yazygs (Türks - Uzes).All historians admit the close link of Alans with these people, only inthe definition of ethnolinguistic classification of these peoples do theopinions differ. Iranists classify them as Iranian speaking, Türkologists– as Türkic speaking, as supported by numerous historical facts.
Prior to sorting out the Alanian-Hunnish links, one should visualizeHuns. The official historical science postulates that Huns, first mentionedin the Chinese sources, sometime in the II c. migrated from Central Asiato Urals, and from there in 70ties of the 4 c. poured into the EasternEurope, thus initiating, supposably, the so-called The Great Migrationof Peoples; allegedly Huns were the first Türks appearing in Europe; onthe way to Europe they would have subdued Alans in the Northern Caucasus,and, led by the leader Balamber, crossed river Don, defeated Goths, Ostgoths,and Vestgoths, who infiltrated the Northern Pontic, and expelled Vestgothsto Thracia; supposedly crossing through Caucasus, they devastated Syriaand Cappadocia, settled in Pannonia, and kept attacking the Eastern Romanempire. In 451 under Attila they invaded Gaul, but on Katalun fields Romans,Vestgoths, and Franks defeated them. After the death of Attila (453.) therewere conflicts among Huns, and the German tribes devastated them in Pannonia.The Hunnish union broke up, and they left to Northern Pontic. Gradually,Huns disappeared as people, though their name still lingered for a longtime as a common name for Northern Pontic nomadic pastoralists [GumilevL.N. Huns]
Such an unreal explanation of the history by L.N.Gumilev raises questions:whether could nomads, having forded Volga, defeat strong Alans, Goths,Syrians, Anatolians (in Cappadocia), population of Pannonia, Gaul, NorthernItaly? Certainly, this is unreal. How could L.N.Gumilev determine thatHuns disappeared, while their ethnonim continued to last as a common nameof the Pontic nomads? How he could know that ethnonim Huns for long timedesignated not Huns, but others? Whom? Why the advancing Romans, and togetherwith them other peoples (more correctly, armies and colonists), did not constitute the Great Migration of Peoples, while creating a huge Roman empire, but the movement from the periphery to the central regions of theRoman empire of other peoples (liberation army, avenging colonists) iscalled a Great Migration of Peoples? Why Türks, at first as Huns, and then under the names of Avars, Türks, Khazars, Cumans, and Kipchaks constantlymigrated from Asia to Europe? Where would they disappear there? How didthey procreate so quickly in Asia? Etc. Trying to answer these questionsmakes it clear that the traditional presentation of Türks' history is fashioned tendentiously, irrespectively of the real historical conditions.
Summarizing impartially all historical data based on real historical grounds, it is not difficult to suggest that Huns (Sen or Hen)at first were an undistinguished Türkic people among Türkic Scythians and Sarmatians. They started making themselves known in the 1 c. AD. The Greek historians, marking their presence in Europe, did not say a word about their arrival from Asia.
Thus, Dionysus (the end of the 1st - beginning of the 2nd c.) notes that on the Northwestern side of the Caspian sea live Scythians, Uns, Caspians,Albanians, and Kaduses... [Latyshev V.V., 1893, 186]. As we were proving more than once, Scythians were basically Türkic speaking (see ETHNIC ROOTSOF THE TATAR PEOPLE, § 3), Uns are Huns, with sound h dropped, Caspiansalso are Türkic ‘people of rocks' (kas ‘rock', pi~bi~bai‘rich owner'), Albanians are Alans, Kaduses are Türkic Uzes~Usesamong kad ‘rocks'.
Ptolemy (2 c. AD; B.3 Ch.5 – Translator's note) writes that in EuropeanSarmatia ‘below Agathyrsi (i.e. Akatsirs~agach ers ‘forest people'–M.Z.) live Savari (Türkic Suvars - M.Z.), between Basternae and Rhoxolani(Uraksy Alans, i.e. ‘Alans-farmers' - M.Z.) live Huns [Latyshev V.V., 1883,231-232].
Philostorgy, living in the end of the 4 c. (i.e., when, in the opinionof certain scientists, Huns moved to Eastern Europe), describing Huns,does not say a single word of their arrival from Asia, and writes: ‘TheseUns are probably the people which ancients named Nevrs; they lived at Ripeanmountains (Don Ridge S. of Donets river, Mid-Europian Uplands N. of it- Translator's note), from which come the waters of Tanaid' [Latyshev V.V.,1893, 741].
Zosim (2nd half of the 5c.) suggests that Huns are Royal Scythians [Ibis,800]. The impartial analysis of the ethnographic data provides a basisto state that Royal Scythians were ancestors of Türkic peoples [KaralkinP.I., 1978, 39-40].
Thus, among peoples named Scythians and Sarmatians, at the beginning of our era, the Huns make themselves known; in the Assirian and other Easternsources they were mentioned among the people living in the 3rd millennium BC. In the 4 c. in a fight for a domination in Northern Caucasus they defeated the Alanian power, and together with them revolted against colonial policyof the Roman empire, at first in Cappadocia, then in the western part ofthe empire, where have appeared new Gothic colonizers. Naturally, neither Huns, nor Alans, did not move to the West as a people, as it is imagined by the supporters of the ‘Great Migration Of Peoples', it was the Hunnish-Alanian army that penetrated deep into the West. The main body of the Hunnish and Alanian peoples remained in the same places of habitation.
In the end of the 4 c. Huns, together with Alans, fell on Goths, who wanted to colonize the Northern Pontic. The main historian of Huns and Alans of this period, Ammianus Marcellinus, frequently equated them, for they were ethnically very close. ‘Ammianus Marcellinus not only emphasized that precisely the assistance of Alans helped Huns, but also quite often called attackers Alans' [Vinogradov V.B., 1974, 113].
After the death of Attila (453) the Hunnish union gradually disintegrated,and Huns as a ruling power do not appear any more, they fused with Türkic Alans and Khazars, while keeping their ethnonim Hun (Sen).
In the Gaul the Alans entered into a close contact with Vandals (EasternGermans), together they devastated Gaul, and in the 409 resettled in Spain,where Alans received the middle part of Lusitania (later - Portugal) andCartagena. However, in the 416 Vestgoths entered Spain and defeated Alans.In May of the 429 the Vandal King Geizerix together with subordinated Alanswent to Africa, and, defeating the Roman armies, created a new Vandal andAlan state. As the result the Alanian troops dissolved among Vandals andlocal population. But in the Northern Pontic and in the Caucasus the Hunsand Alans continued to cooperate closely.
Following disintegration of the Hunnish empire, in the decentralized period, various tribes and peoples tried to become the ruling group, therefore in the Byzantian sources frequently appear ethnonims: Akatsirs, Barsils,Saragurs, Savirs, Avars, Utigurs, Kutigurs, Bolgars, Khazars. All theseethnonims belong to Türkic populations. Barsils are the inhabitants of Berselia (Berzilia), which in many sources is considered as the countryof Alans. Here is an obvious identification of Alans with Barsils~Bersuls,considered related to Khazars [Chichurov I.S., 1980, 117]. More than that,from Berzilia also came the Khazars. So, Theophan in 679-680 writes: ‘Fromthe depths of Berzilia, the first Sarmatia, came the great people Khazarsand began to dominate all land on that side down to the Pontic Sea' [ChichurovI.S., 1980, 61].
From the 5 c. among Caucasian Alans, i.e. numerous Türkic peoples, othertribes also began to make themselves known: Khazars, Bulgars, Kipchaksetc. After the brilliant performance of the Türkic peoples, led by theHuns, against the colonial policy of Goths and Romans, the Huns ceased to be ruling, their place took Alans and Khazars, who competed on the politicalarena up to the 10 c. ‘From the 5 c. the push of Khazar Khaganate grows,establishing control over Alans ‘ [Vinogradov V.B., 1974, 118]. In the8 c., at the time of the Alanian expansion, the Alans once again provedthat they supported Khazars. ‘The 10 c. marks a turn. Now the Khazars hadto recognize their former vassals with the following words: ‘Alanian Kingdomis stronger and tougher than all other peoples around us' [Vinogradov V.B.,1974, 118-119].
In the 11 c. in the Northern Caucasus others nations begin to raise– Kipchaks (Russ. Polovets), who at once joined with Alans, and establishedpeaceful and loving relations [Djanashvili M., 1897, 36]. In this areaAlans, together with Kipchaks, adopted Christianity.
In the 1222 Alans and Kipchaks come out together against Mongolo-Tatars.Seeing that they together represent an undefeatable force, Mongolo-Tatarsused a trick. ‘Seeing danger, the leader of Chengizkanids (Subetai - Translator'snote)... sent gifts to Kipchaks and ordered to tell them, that they, beingthe same kin as the Mongols, should not rise against the brothers and befriends with Alans, who are entirely of another lineage' [Karamzin N.M.,1988, 142]. Here Mongolo-Tatars figured, apparently, that their army atthis time consisted primarily of the Kipchak Türks of the Central Asia,therefore they addressed Kipchaks as kins, and Alans of Caucasus were partially Kipchaks (ancestors of Karachai-Balkars), and partially Oguzes (ancestorsof Azerbaidjans - inhabitants of Caucasian Albania - Alania).
It is known that soon all Kipchak steppes passed into the hands of Mongolo-Tatars.The Volga Bulgaria, the main component of whose population was referred to as Yasses, subordinated to Mongolo-Tatars in 1236, and Alans - Yassesof Northern Caucasus - in 1238.
Thus, Alans made their celebrated military and political route hand-in-hand with their Türkic kins: Huns, Khazars and Kipchaks. From the 13 c. Alans-Yassescease to be ruling among the other Türkic people. But it does not mean at all that they physically disappeared, they lived among others Türkic people and gradually entered into their ethnicity, accepting their ethnonim.Such a strong, scattered along all Eurasia people as Alans-Yasses, cannot be equated to Iranian speaking Ossetians by a single trait, and could not be suddenly reduced ‘by a miracle' to the strictures of the Caucasus Ossetians.
If the Scythians, Sarmatians and Alans were Ossetian speaking, all Eurasia should have Ossetian toponyms. They do not exist, unless artificially (quasi-scientifically) produced. Thus, in all their attributes the Alans were Türkic, and took part in the formation of many Türkic peoples.
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