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ALANS

Alans, Alani, Alanliao, Aorses, As, Asii, Asses, Balanjar, Barsils, Belenjers, Burtas, Iass, Halans, Ishkuza, Jass, Iazyg, Ishtek, Lan, Ostyak, Ovs, Rhoxolani, Steppe Alans, Usuns, Wusun, Wusün, Yass, Yancai and other variations

Subdivisions and ethnic affiliates

Alans, Burtas, Rhoxolani, Wusüns, Yasses, Yazygs

Wusüns
Yancai Alans
300 BC - 0 AD
Yazyg Alans
Alans
0-500 AD
Alans
500 - 1400 AD
Amorica Alans
400-600 AD
Caucasus Alans
900-1000 AD
Caucasus Alans
1000-1400 AD
   
 

Middle Age period Eastern European Alan-related
Citations from the book

S.A.Pletneva
KIPCHAKS
ISBN 5-02-009542-7 Publishing house " Science ", 1990

  S.A. Pletneva  Kipchaks  - Contents    

Foreword to the Selected Quotations

Brief references in the S.A.Pletneva's work Kipchaks slightly touched on the the Middle Ages N.Pontic Alanian history. At the present, the Alanian attribution of certain archeological material is highly speculative, though it is not exactly debatable in the present academical structure, and the term "Alan" used in these applications may in fact be classed as some other Türkic clan or tribe when the horizon of the research extends beyond the immediate area to other Alanian communities in space and time. The fate of the Alans who settled in the present Normandy is well known, as well as the Alans who joined the Vandals and settled in the Spain and in the N.Africa. The Alans of the N.Caucasus are also known, all of them described, even if fragmentary and uncordially, by their contemporaries. In contrast, the fate of the N.Pontic Alans is known only from accidental personal references in the Kyiv Rus annals. With the scarcity of the literary sources, field investigations at times allow a better insight into the history of a people. Until a real scientific research starts to cover the gaping holes left by the Russian and Soviet scientists, we will have to wait for the first results of the DNA testing, blood group testing, dental analysis, physical anthropology statistics, and other means of scientific research including instrumental dating, and be content with the results brought to us by a mighty shovel. Even a shovel produces enough information to dispel frivolous speculations. For example, S.A.Pletneva demonstrated that in the N.Pontic the Alans, given a chance, were invariably confederating with other Türkic peoples, exactly like they were doing in the early Hungary and in the Balkans, rather then with non-Türkic Indo-European folks. In the S.A.Pletneva's experience, Alans are close and probably intermixed with the Bulgars, and the Ases are an ethnic group distinct from the Alans. A parallel genesis of the Bulgars and Alans in the general area between the Aral Sea and Issyk Kul lake, and their closeness 1,500 years later in the N.Pontic steppes, allow to suggest fairly close dialects. Per S.A.Pletneva, in the 10th-13th Bulgars and Alans were predominantly agricultural settlers, probably impoverished by the repeated wars, raiding, and systematic robberies. As P.Golden deduced, once a family crosses the sustainability level of 100 heads of livestock, a sedentiarity or subservience are unavoidable. But even without an ability to recover their herds and join a traditional pastoral lifestyle, Bulgars and Alans confederated into the Türkic Kipchak union with other Badjanaks and Oguzes.

The English rendition of the extensive citations of the S.A.Pletneva's work is much simplified, with many details omitted and much reduced references, but with an eye to preserving the facts and evidence of the original work. The author, S.A.Pletneva, is a venerable, outstanding archeologist studying predominantly Türkic population in the N.Pontic area.  In her work S.A.Pletneva addressed Alans twenty five times, without once using the mandatory title "Iranian-Speaking" applied to Alans, and without invoking the mandatory Scytho-Ossetian faux. Nowadays the name of S.A.Pletneva is so firmly associated with the archeological studies of the N.Pontic that no author writing about the E. European history can do without citing and deferring to her works.

Though the patriotic-bent historiography of the book is highly questionable, the archeological content is invaluable, and the tell-tale attributes revealed by S.A.Pletneva present an outstanding achievement toward completing the task for which a generation of Soviet archeologists paid with theirs and their family's lives.  This ability to be factual is the best and lasting honor that the author can endow herself.

 
Selected Quotations on Alans in N.Pontic

The capture of the N.Pontic steppes by the began with the most fertile, richest pastures for the pasture of horses and large horned livestock, the Donetsk, Don and Azov area steppes. Migrating Badjanaks in the beginning of the in the 8th century took over the same lands,  they were first occupied by the nomadic hordes of Bulgars displaced from the Eastern Azov by the Khazars. By the 11th century some remains of the ancient Bulgarian semi-settled population, in spite of the badly taken Badjanak's invasion, still remained on the banks of the Don basin rivers  and Azov Sea. Besides, in the upper courses of Severski Donets, in hidden, inaccessible for nomadic cavalry places remained the former masters of the forest-steppe fringes of the Khazarian Kaganate, the Alans. The archeological research of the settlements belonging to the Alans and Bulgars gives us incontestable proofs of the destruction of these settlements not later than the beginning of the 10th century, i.e. from the strikes of the Badjanak's hordes. However, the history does not know any examples of a total destruction of population during the periods of even most severe wars and most terrible invasions. A significant number of the people, mainly women, children, and also male and female artisans are taken to slavery, and quite often they are left in the old charred places, and  gradually they, maybe partially, restore their destroyed settlements.

Anthropological study of the nomadic skulls of the 10th-13th cc. showed that externally the population of that time almost did not differ from the steppe inhabitants of the 8th - beginnings of the 10th century. Also is very important that in the N.Pontic steppes,and especially frequently in the basin  of the Seber Donets are the burials of the 12th-13th centuries retaining features of the funeral ceremony allowing to connect them with the former inhabitants of the steppes, the subjects of the Khazarian Kaganate. That is, first, an atypical for the Badjanaks and for the Kipchaks meridian orientation of diseased (head to the north or south), frequent for ancient Bulgars and the Alans; second, the presence in the tombs of a bedding of chalk or charcoal, and some other attributes. For example, there, on the banks of Donets and Lower Don, during Kipchak's time the nomads especially widely used things produced and spread during the previous Khazarian epoch: mirrors, kopoushkas (ear swabs), pottery, etc.

In the N.Pontic steppes appeared a new ethnic mass, in the beginning very fluxed. It formed by the same laws like all other nomadic ethnoses and peoples of antiquity and Middle Ages, as in the Eastern European space  several centuries before formed the ancient Bulgars, Khazars, and Hungarians. One of important patterns of that process is that the ethnos that would give a name to new ethnic formation not necessarily happens to be the most numerous: simply because of favorite historical conditions and energetic military leaders it was coming to the forefront to the leading place in forming association. In this case, in the beginning of the 11th century this place was taken by Sharys, the "Yellow" Kipchaks (Here Pletneva does not shy to use the name known from Classical historians, all those modifications of the Türkic "Sary" known in the N.Pontic from the Antique Epoch). They became that powerful nucleus around which the isolated and scattered in the steppe hordes of Badjanaks, Oguzes, and partially the remains of the Bulgarian and Alanian populations were united.

On March, 19, also on Sunday, they came "to Donovi" (Donets). There they "put on arms and prepared the regiments and came to the city Sharukan". The  inhabitants of the Sharukan town stepped out to the Rus army and welcomed it with fish and wine. Judging that Vladimir ordered to approach the town singing prayers, their meeting also was organized by the Christians (Vladimir was a son of Svyatoslav and "Malusha". In Slavic literature Svyatoslav is "Varyag" Norman, and Malusha a Slav. However, the description of Svyatoslav we have belongs to a Türkic prince, and "mal" in Türkic is "cattle, goods, treasure", a suitable name for a lovely baby-girl. Vladimir was a half-blooded or full-blooded Türk. His ragtag cavalry also was Türkic, neither Vikings, nor Slavs, nor enlisted Finn peasantry could handle a horse, and Vladimir did not bring infantry. The songs were unlikely in Slavic, nor in Swedish, likelier they were in Türkic, the traditional Türkic prayer songs unrelated to Christianity. The conclusion that that was a meeting of two Christian groups seams to be groundless, especially only 20 years after forced baptism of his principality. And to deduce the ethnicity from this conjecture is impossible). This fact indicates a presence in the steppes among the Don Kipchaks of a population ready to switch over to the Rus side, out of religious, and possibly also from the political reasons. Most likely, they were the Ases - Yases - Alans, subjects of the Khazarian Kagan, who remained in the steppes after the arrival of the Badjanaks, and then of the Kipchaks. Like their Alan relatives living in the foothills of the Caucasus, they probably accepted Christianity in mass. There is no doubt that the Christian and agricultural Alan would happily submit under the power of the Rus Princes with a desire (Who would ever gladly submit to oppression? A desire not to be ravaged is not a desire for subjugation).

In the 1116 Vladimir sent his son Yaropolk, and Davyd, the son of Vsevolod, "to the Don". The young Princes on the banks of Donets again siezed the towns Sharukan and Sugrov, and also a third city, Balin. In addition, Yaropolk  took there a beauty as a wife, a daughter of "Yass Prince", which once again confirms the inhabitation of the towns by the Yass (Alanian) population. That princess, Helena Yassian, once again is mentioned in the annals under the year 1145, when she reburied the remains of her husband Yaropolk from the church of St. Andrew to the church of Linden Lipa).

The names of the fort-towns are very informative: Sharukan is a Slavic rendering of the Türkic name + title Sary (Shary) Khan, and Balin (or Balyn) is a generic Türkic ethnonym for the southern Slavs, i.e. the town was probably populated by Slavic people that deserved attention as a Slavic island in the Türkic sea. Balyn, in turn, must be an adaptation of the endoethnonym Volyn of the Carpathian Slavs of Volynia, from where the Slav migrants were coming into the Türkic lands. As noted by the pleiades of the Russian historians, the Slavic infiltration was slow, peaceful, and disjointed, by small rowing clusters practicing slash-burn tillage, and was a desired component for every nomadic society.

The marriage agreement must have been a part of a peace deal, by taking an As wife, Yaropolk (with at least half-Türkic name, "yar" in Türkic is "saint, sanctified, solemn") took in an As father-in-law, which in Türkic custom made him a subservient member of the clan family, and obliged him to let a maternal grandfather to bring up his male children.

The Ros area nomads were participants in the overwhelming majority of the Kyiv Princes military actions. In the 1140es-1150es these were the internecine fights in which Kipchaks as a rule participated on the side of the enemies of the Kyiv prince, and already by then the Kara Kalpak warriors not only acquired infuriated enemies in the steppes, but also learned to not be afraid to fight them. In the 1180es-1190es the Rus Princes constantly organized campaigns against the steppe-dwellers (i.e. primary Kipchaks, but also the Bulgarian, Suvarian and Alanian population that remained in their ancestral lands and became a victim of the aggressive expansion) and their reliable hands in these campaigns were Kara Kalpaks. The chronicler knows only two instances when those did not want to fight with Kipchaks. First it took place in the 1187, when Kara Kalpak warriors warned Kipchaks about the campaign of Svyatoslav and Rürik: "... they sent a message to their in-laws between the Kipchaks". The campaign failed. A second time the Kara Kalpaks in the 1192 simply refused to go against Kipchaks "saying that on the other side of the Dnieper live their in-laws". In both cases the motivation was the same: in the Kipchak horde on which the campaign was aimed the Kara Kalpaks had relatives - "in-laws", i.e. it is abundantly clear that they were taking Kipchak wives.

The author emphasizes that not the N.Caucasus and not the Crimean Kipchaks, but those living far from the lands already seized by the Mongols were scared of the new merciless enemies and scurried all over the steppe. The Rus chronicler also noted about it under the year 1224, that even Ürgi Konchak was scared, could not stand up to the be Mongols, and many were slaughtered up to the Dnieper... Kipchaks came to the Rus Princes telling them that if they don't help us, nowadays we will be annihilated, and in the morning you will be (PSRL, II, pp. 740-741). The last phrase testifies of the full recognition of the lesson received by the N.Caucasian Kipchak hordes, who betrayed the Alans. It became clear that the conquerors would destroy everything in their way, and to fight them is possible only by joined efforts of all Eastern European peoples.

Djuvaini (Juvaini, Ata al-Mulk Juvayni, Ata Malek Guveini) narration:
"...the Kaan (Ugedei) sent Mengu-Kaan, Batu and other princes to capture the lands of Bulgars, Ases, Rus, and the Kipchak, Alanian and other tribes...

Apparently, Djuvaini learned details about Bachman from other sources, or probably from the oral stories preserved in the steppes. First of all, his story agrees with the details of Rashid-ad-Din, Bachman had a title of "emir" (i.e. was a Moslem, unless  Rashid-ad-Din translated his title) and descended from a tribe "Olburlik". This name should probably be read as El-Buri, i.e. (Slavicized term) Burchevich association, known in the eastern sources under a name Burdjogly. Thus, Bachman belonged to one of the most aggressive hordes of the Dnieper union, probably being a direct descendant (a grandson or a great-grandson) of the Khan Bonyak. A second essential detail mentioned by Rashid-ad-Din tells us that Bachman had a brave ally "Kachir-ukule from the As tribe" (Qacir Okule, in Azeri Türkic, is it a miracle that Az-eri Ases speak in Azeri?), who was also killed after the executions of Bachman (Deep observations of Agusti Alemani 11.21 ref to Cf. Minorsky 1952:225 n. 5: in Mongol qacir means 'a mule', but a Mongol name among the Ossets is unlikely. Sure. Two adult prominent linguists can't look  beyond Ossetian, and checked Mongolian for pre-Mongolian time). Djuvaini tells that the Mongols seized the lands of the Ases, clearly opposing them to the Alans. In another fragment of his composition, again listing the lands subjugated by (Slavicized form of Batu) Batyi, he talks about Ases and Alans separately. We see the same in the writing of the Persian Djuzdjani, who probably wrote a little earlier than Djuvaini, and  in the writing of Kazvini, written approximately a half-century later.

It gives some reasons to consider that under "Ases" the eastern authors meant entirely not a Caucasian people, and moreover, talking of them they frequently place them together with the Rus and Itil Bulgaria, instead of placing them with Alans. Probably, these Ases are those Yases about which wrote the Rus chronicler under the year 1116, placing them on the banks of the Severski Donets. Probably, they remained there, in the "neutral" Rus-Kipchak's territories, never participated in any hostile actions against the Rus princedoms, and consequently were never mentioned by the Rus annals after the beginning of the 12th century.

However, ethnically and territorially the As was a completely distinct community, which had to be taken by force, about which the conquerors were well informed. If this hypothesis is true, then is also natural the link of the Burchevich Bachman with the As (Yass) prince, who lived no more than 200 kms from the pastures of the "emir" in the Dnieper area (This undefined link needed more definitions. The link is not a literal identification of the Burdjogly dynastic line with the As people, as the S.Pletneva vague statement may imply, but a political union of the dynastic tribe with their subjects, or maybe kyshtyms. In the 730's the Ases occupied territory about the size of England along the middle of the Upper Enisei on both sides of the river, between Kimaks on the west and Kyrgizes on the east, and may have already been allied with Kipchaks or even more specifically with the Kipchak tribal union subdivision headed by Burdjoglys).

How did two "emirs" with their retinues cme from the interfluvial of the Dnieper and Donets to the banks of Itil? Apparently, Djuvaini words should be recalled about how Bachman scurried in the steppes. If he was scuttling only in the Lower Itil region, he would be surrounded very quickly. Apparently, the massive forests of Itil were his last shelter. There, the Mongolian armies caught up with him and with Kachir-ukule (Qacir Okule) ( Since S.Pletneva did not demarcate the territory of the Burdjogly possessions, the question and the answer are somewhat artificial. Itil and the territries beyond may as well be within the Burdjogly realm).

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