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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Alans – Angles – Saxons

From the very beginning, I must make a reservation that I am breaking through an open door, proving that the Alans were Anglo-Saxons, because even in the time of Flavius Honorius (384-423), the Romans considered them Goths, i.e. the same Germanic people as the Anglo-Saxons:

Vandaly, Maeotodis paludus, fame pressi, ad Germanos, quos hodie Francos nominant , et flumen Rhenum se receperunt, tractis in societatem Alanis, natione Gothica. Inde Godigiseli ductu in ea parte Hispaniae, quae oram nabet imperii Romani primam ab occano, fedes fixerunt (Strittero Johanne Gotthilf. MDCCLXXIX, 336).

Also, Procopius of Caesarea reasonably (sic!) ranked the Alans among the Gothic peoples (ibid, 319). No doubt, many Western historians (DAVIES NORMAN. 2000: 241 a.o.) have known this for a long time, but due to the fault of Soviet specialists, the opinion that the Alans were Iranian-lingual was widely spread, and mainly because the alleged descendants of the Alans, like Ases, Ossetians belong to the Iranian language family (BRAUN F. 1899: 96). However, the study of historical sources and works of historians devoted to the Alanian theme gives reason to consider this opinion erroneous:

So, having discarded the walking stereotypes, it is necessary to divide the ethnic unit of “Alans” into Alans, on the one hand, and Ases, on the other. This dichotomy is confirmed for an earlier era by other sources, primarily “Armenian geography” (ZUCKERMAN C. 2005: 69).

Recognizing this conclusion as a whole, other scholars have their own opinion about the Ases and Alans, when evidence is given in favor of their Turkic origin, but such publications remain unknown to a wide circle of readers (LAYPANOV K.T., MIZIEV I.M. 2010; MIZIEV I.M. 2010-1 a.o.). In contrast, works restoring the history of Alan in the Iranian mainstream are very popular. An example of this can be the fundamental work of A. Alemany (ALEMANY AGUSTI. 2000) which is largely based on the works of V.I. Abayev, which are also very known. Abayev is considered a great authority in psychology despite his obvious association with his nationality. His field of research is rather narrow, in particular, the epigraphy of the Northern Black Sea region which he deciphered mostly erroneously because he did it only with the help of Iranian languages. At the same time, he overlooked many facts that could lead his research to the true path. For example, with his rich imagination, he didn't suppose the possibility of Ossetian origin for such place names as Azov, Vorskla, Kalitva, Oskol, Sochi, and other names without reliable etymology.

Similarly, other reputable scientists arbitrarily manipulate the facts and archaeological cultures, but without regard to linguistics, at ease draw us their own history of the Alans, for example, Tadeusz Sulimirsky (SULIMIRSKI T. 2008). However, when their ancestral home was being searched for somewhere in Asia, considering that the Iranian people had arisen just only there, then the Ossetians had to have come from Asia.

However their Urheimat was in the upper reaches of the Dnieper River and this fact has been evidenced in the place names of the nearest locality (see the section Iranic Tribes in Eastern Europe at the Bronze Age).

At left: The Ancestral home of the Ossetians (yellow)

Long before the Scythian period, the Ossetians have been forced from their ancestral homeland by Baltic tribes arriving from the right bank of the Dnieper. They had to migrate southward, and for a while lived in the neighborhood with Mordvinians (as evidenced by the Ossetian-Mordvin lexical matches). The Ossetians appeared in the area of the Lower Don River only in the Sarmatian time period. At the same time, the upper reaches of the Dnieper were populated by people known in the Pontic steppes under the name of Alans:

According to the Greek geographer Marcian (or pseudo-Marcian) from Heraclea Pontica (ca 400 AD), "… the Rudon river flows from the mountain Alan, about this mountain and in general, in this country, a large area was inhabited by people of the Alans-Sarmatians, there were sources of Borisphen in their lands, which flows to Pontus. The land along the Borysthenes behind the Alans was inhabited by the so-called European Huns… " (Marcian P.: 39, quoted by LATYSHERV V.V. 1899). It is well known that Borisfen in ancient sources is the Dnieper River, while Rudon is one of the rivers of the Baltic Sea (KAZANSKIY M.M., MASTYKOVA A.V. 1999: 119).

The testimonies of ancient authors do not allow us to draw a conclusion about the ethnicity of Alans, furthermore, their assessments of the related connections of the described peoples for the most part seem to be conjecture. It is appropriate to recall the prejudice that the ancients were better informed about the times nearest to them than we are now. However, it is believed also that this was not so. For example, scholars of King Alfred's time knew very little about the origin of the Anglo-Saxons (COLLINGWOOD ROBIN J. 1996, 127). As we can see further, this remark applies directly to our topic.

Most evidence about Alans was left by Ammianus Marcellinus. He, as well as some other historians of their time, believed that the Alans were the Massagetai of the past, however, no evidence for this was given. Inciting his description of the appearance of Alan, at some time because of a translation error, a significant inaccuracy about their supposedly "somewhat slanting eyes" occurred (ALEMANY AGUSTI, 2000, 2.17.2 [21]), this led to what should be indicative of their Asian origin. In the Russian translation of Aleman’s work, this passage, obviously after reconciliation with Marcellin’s text, is presented in a completely different way: “If you don’t look fierce, it’s still formidable”. In the latest translation, Marcellin’s text was read as follows:

Nearly all the Alani are men of great stature and beauty; their hair is somewhat yellow, their eyes are terribly fierce; the lightness of their armour renders them rapid in their movements; and they are in every respect equal to the Huns, only more civilized in their food and their manner of life. They plunder and hunt as far as the Sea of Azov and the Cimmerian Bosphorus, ravaging also Armenia and Media. (MARCELLINUS AMMIANUS. 2009. BOOK XXXI. II, 21)

A certain similarity between the Alans and the Huns, noted by Marcellinus, is a consequence of a nomadic way of life. The Alans were the first to be subjugated by the Huns in Europe and together they defeated the Ostrogoth tribal alliance in 375. The date of the Hun's invasion into Alanian land remains unclear, so it is not known what time period the Alans remained in close contact with them. Ammian only writes that during the invasion of the Huns, many Alans were killed, and those that survived (mostly women) were included in their composition. In this case, one generation is enough for the defeated Alans to join the nomadic way of life. At the same time, the absence of a permanent residence, and no similarity in the arrangement of carts or transport housing, could be taken as a similarity. Moreover, Marcellinus could not know about the ideological differences between the Alans and Huns, which are usually reflected in the types of burials of the nomadic peoples. Research of Hun graves revealed a significant difference between them – some of them were kurgan burials and others without kurgan. Because of this difference, it was concluded:

At common unity of culture being material in all its ethnic components, researchers found traits marking ethnic differences in the types of burial structures. However, according to most experts, the union of Huns also had a complex multicomponent ethnic structure. This allows us to offer a version to explain the differences in the construction of burial structures (mound or no mound) which are just some ethnic differences of the population (IVCHENKO A.V. 2003, 46).

According to Marcellinus, the Alans occupied the territory from the Pontic steppes to the Vistula River in the northwest and to the north-eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, but they penetrated farther to the east and southeast in separate groups. Perhaps the latter gave reason to separate the Alans into European and Asiatic parts, while Europe and Asia at that time were shared by the Tanais River (Don). Many other groups also were collectively called Scythians or Alans in accordance with the dominant tribe, and at one time the Alans were such a tribe, which follows from the words of Marcellinus:

Little by little they (i.e., Alans – VS) subjugated neighboring tribes in numerous victories and spread their name on them, as the Persians did (MARCELLINUS AMMIANUS. 2009. Book XXXI. I, 13)

Among subjugated tribes were Neuroi, Melanchlainoi, Gelonians, Agathyrsians, and other tribes, previously mentioned by Herodotus, and the several ones that appeared later. The undoubted presence of the Turkic tribes among the Alans is shown by their completely Turkic names (Ιτιλησ, Αραβατησ, Thogay), and the ethnonyms Alans and Ases are still using to refer specifically to the Turkic peoples. For example, the Megrels, the neighbors of Karachais, call them Alans, the Karachais and Balkarians use the term "Alan" when referring to the word "kinsman", "fellow tribesman" (LAYPANOV K.T., MIZIEV I.M. 2010: 268, 294).

Describing different peoples, Marcellinus often speaks about the peculiarities of their language, and from the texts, it is clear that he is well acquainted with the Persian language. However, he does not say anything about the Alan language. If they spoke one of the Iranian languages, he should have mentioned it. He simply says that the population of the Black Sea region, among whom he singled out the Jaxamatæ, the Mæotæ, the Jazyges, the Roxolani, the Alani, the Melanchlænæ, the Geloni, and the Agathyrsi, speaks different languages and has different customs (MARCELLINUS AMMIANUS. 2009. BOOK XXII, VIII, 31). The legend of friendship found in Lucian's dialogue "Toxaris" can give a certain idea of the relationship between the peoples who inhabited the shores of the Sea of Azov in Scythian times. Its paraphrase after the English translation. (LUCIAN… 1913, 173-195) is offered below.

This Arsacomas, the son of Mariantes, was on a visit to Leucanor, king of the Bosporus, in connection with the delay in paying tribute to the Scythians. When the matter was settled, a banquet was held, at which the guests wooed the royal daughter Mazaea. Struck by her beauty, Arsacomas asked the king to give the daughter him as a wife. He declared that he would be a better husband for her than others when it comes to wealth and property. The king was very surprised by this, knowing about the poverty of Arsakom, and asked how many herds and wagons he had. Arsaсomas replied that he own no herds and wagons, but he had two noble friends, such as mo other Scythians had. The answer caused ridicule among all those present. Leucanor preferred to give Mazeya to the leader of the Machlyans, Adyrmachus. He was to take his bride along Lake Maeotis to the Machlyans. Upon returning home, Arsakom told his friends Lonchates and Macentes about the scornful attitude of the king towards him. He was indignant at the fact that Leucanor had given his daughter to Adyrmachus only because he had a lot of different goods, as if heavy wagons and golden goblets were more precious than friendship, which is stronger than all his kingdom. Sharing the indignation of Arsacomas, Lonсhates replied that such humiliation concerns all three of them and must be given a worthy answer. He himself promised to give Arsakom the head of Leucanor, and Maсentes should bring him his bride. Let Arsacomas stay at home and gather horses, men, and weapons as much as necessary for a great cause. When everyone agreed with this, Lonchatws went to the Bosporus, and Macentes to Makhlyans, each on horseback. Remaining, Arsacomas began to gather an army according to the Scythian custom. The custom was that a person sacrifices a bull, butchers the meat and fries it, and spreads the skin on the ground. On this skin, he sits down, holding his hands behind his back, supposedly his hands are tied. This position means the posture of the petitioner. The person's relatives and those who are disposed towards him come up and take part in the sacrifice and, placing their right foot on the skin, promise any help that is in their power. The poorest offer at least their personal services. No troops can be more reliable and invincible than those assembled in this way. The act of stepping on the skin represents an oath. As a result, Arsacomas raised some 5,000 horses and 20,000 heavy-armed and light-armed foot soldiers together. Meanwhile, Lonchates, unknown to anyone in the Bosporus, came to the king and, on behalf of the Scythian society, filed a complaint against the Bosporan shepherds who invade the plain with their flocks, but shall graze only as far as away the stony ground. He also gave consent to the punishment of the Scythians, if they are caught as unauthorized cattle-lifters. After that, he proceeded to his own part and informed the king that soon a large army led by Arsacomas would invade the Bosporus. He explained the reason for this by the fact that the king refused him the hand of his daughter. Further, Lonchates explained to Leucanor that Arsacomas is not his friend and that he is held in higher regard by dignitaries and considered in all respects a better man. Lonchates promised to deliver the head of Arsacomas to Leucanor if he will give him his second daughter named Barcetis as a wife. Leucanor agreed to this but had to take an oath that he would keep his word. To do this, Lonchates offered to go to the sanctuary of Ares and there mutually swear behind closed doors without prying eyes. As soon as they entered there, and the guards left, Lonchates drew his sword and, holding the king's mouth with his left hand stabbed him in the breast. Then, cutting off his head, Lonchates left the temple. He hid his head under a cloak and said that he would return speedily, as he has been sent by the king to fetch something. Thus, he managed to get to the place where he left his horse, jumped on it, and galloped to Scythia. The promise to deliver the head of Leucanor to Arsacomas was fulfilled. The news of this reached Macentes when he was on his way to Mahlyans, and upon his arrival there he was the first to announce the death of the king. Macentes convinced Adyrmachus that, as a son-in-law of Leucanor, he was entitled to the throne and said: “Go there and state your claims while everything is still unresolved. For myself, I am an Alan and also related to Mazaea through the mother, since Masteira whom Leucanor married, was of our people. Macentes was able to say this because he wore the same dress and spoke the same tongue as the Alans. These characteristics are common to Alans and Scythians, except that the Alans do not wear their hair very long, as the Scythian do. Macentes added to his resemblance to the Alans by docking his hair and thus being able to pass for a relative of Masteira and Mazaea. Adyrmachus agreed and went to the Bosporus, trustingly leaving Mezeya in the care of Macentes. During the day, Macentes accompanied Mazaea in a wagon, but with the onset of darkness, he put her on horseback and, sitting behind, abandoned the path along the Meotian Lake, and went to the left of the Mitreya Mountains. On the third day, he completed the entire journey from Makhliena to Scythia, where he handed over Mazaea to Arsacomas. Adyrmachus, learning about the stratagem, did not continue his journey to the Bosporus, because the illegitimate brother of Leucanor Eubiotus, summoned from the Saurmatae, was already on the throne. Further events developed like this. Adyrmachus and Eubiotus with the Alans and Sauromatae combined their armies and advanced through the hill-country to Scythia. In the ensuing battle, the Scythians began to suffer defeat. Lonuchates and Macentes were wounded, the soldiers were already throwing away their weapons, but Arsakomas rushed to their rescue, which inspired the remnants of the army, and he himself killed Adyrmakh. Thus, what had been a defeat turned into a victory. The next day, a truce was signed, according to which the Bosporans pledged to double the tribute to the Scythians, and the Alans promised to atone for their guilt by subduing the Sinds, who had previously rebelled against the Scythians.

The name of Lonchates (Λογχατησ) can be translated as "a long-haired" (OE lang, Eng long and OE hād/hæd "hair") . OE maca "comrade, fellow traveler" which is included, according to Holthausen, in such Anglo-Saxon proper names as Meaca, Mackenthorp, Mackensen in such Anglo-Saxon names as Meaca, Mackenthorp, Mackensen (A. HOLTHAUSEN F. 1974: 209, 216) and OE ent "a giant" fit for the name of Macentes (Μακεντησ). The mention of long hair in the legend suggests that the proposed interpretation of the name Lonсhates is correct. This once again testifies to the presence of the Anglo-Saxons near the Sea of ​​Azov. The fact that Lonchates and Macentes called themselves Scythians, as opposed to Alans, is not so important, because it is not known what meaning they attached to these words. After all, OE. scytere simply means a shooter, and the Greeks used this word as an ethnonym due to a misunderstanding. On the other hand, the Scythians and Alans, despite the common language, were opponents in the battle. Other facts of the legend also speak of the existence of hostility between them. All this only indicates the complexity of relations among the population of the Great Scythia, which may have both ethnic and political reasons. For us, the fact of the presence of the Anglo-Saxons is important there.

The presence of the Anglo-Saxons in Eastern Europe in Scythian times can be convincingly confirmed by the decoding of the epigraphy of the Northern Black Sea Coast and the then some realities by means of the Old English language. In this way The Alan-Anglo-Saxon Onomasticon was compiled, a small part of which is given below.

ακινακεσ (akinakes), a short, iron Scythian sword – OE ǽces "an ax" and nǽcan "to kill" suit well.

Αργαμηνοσ (argame:nos) – OE earg “cowardly”, mann “a man”.

Αριαπειθεσ (ariapeithes), the name of a Scythian king – OE ār „honor, dignity, glory” (ārian "to honor"), fǽtan „to decorate” (“adorned with glory”).

Beorgus, the Alanian king who invaded Italy in V century AD – OE beorg 1. "a mountain, hill", 2. "protection".

Γωαρ (go:ar), Alanian leader in Gaul at the beginning of the 5th century, several places in the west have the same name (BRAUN F. 1899, 98) – OE gear "protection, a weapon".

Ηλμανοσ (e:lmanos), Olbia, Vasmer – OE el “strange”, mann "a man".

Eochar, Alanian king in Armorica (north-west France) – OE eoh "a horse" and ār "a messenger, herald, apostle".

Ιδανθιρσοσ (idanthirsos), Scythian king – OE eadan "performed, satisfied” and đyrs "a giant, demon, wizard".

Ιεζδραδοσ (iedzdrados), Olbia – OE. đræd "thread, wire”, while the first part of the name semantic approach OE īse(r)n "iron, of iron".

Λικοσ (likos), the son of Spargapeithes – by OE līc "body" could be called a man of large stature.

Μαστειρα (masteira), the Alanian, the wife of the king of the Bosporus Leukanorus – OE māst "most", āre "honor, dignity."

Respendial, Alanian king in Gallia in early 5th century – OE respan "to reproach" and deall “proud, brave”.

σαγαρισ (sagaris), battle axe, the Scythian weapon – OE sacu "strife, war" and earh "an arrow".

Σαδιμανοσ (sadimanos) – OE sǽd "sated, satiated" and mann "a man".

Sangibanus, Alanian king in Gallia in the 5th c. – OE sengen "to burn" and bān "a foot, bone".

Σαυλιοσ (saulios), the son of Gnuros – apparently from OE sāwol "soul".

Σπαροβαισ (sparobais), Panticapaeum – OE spær "gypsum, limestone” and býan "to build" ("a mason, builder").

Τασιοσ (tasios), the Roxolanian leader at the end of the 2nd cen. BC – OE tæsan "to wound"

Φαδινομοσ (phadinomos), Tanaïs – OE fadian "to lead" and nama "name".

Φηδανακοσ (phedanakos), Tanaïs – OE fadian „to lead” and naca „a boot, ship”.

Φλιανοσ (phlianos), Olbia – OE fleon "to escape, avoid".

Scientific conscientiousness requires a quote from an author who has his own opinion on this issue:

… of the nine ancient, undoubtedly Alanian proper names to the west, only one name can be explained from the point of view of the German language, and even then with a stretch. This name is Eochar (BRAUN F. 1899, 96-97).

Brown could apologize for not knowing that Old English should be used for the decryption. With its help, it is also possible to decipher many ethnonyms of Scythian-Sarmatian times:

Αγαθιρσοι (agatirsoi), according to Herodotus the tribe of the Agathyrsians – OE đyrs (thyrs) "a giant, demon, magician" is well suited for the ethnonym. For the first part of the name, we find OE ege "fear, terror", and the whole means "terrible giants or demons". However, OE āga "owner", āgan "to have, take, receive, possess" suit phonetically better. Then the ethnonym can be understood as "having giants". Below, we decipher the ethnonym the Thyssagetai (see Θυσσαγεται) as a nation of giants in the north of Scythia. Thus, we can suppose that the Agathyrsians subdued the Thyssagetai

Βουδινοι (budinoi) Boudinoi, rather, Woudinoi, the people who lived, according to Herodotus, in the country, overgrown with various trees – OE widu, wudu “tree, wood", Eng wooden.

Θυσσαγεται (thussagetai), the Thyssagetai, one of the folks in Northern Scythia mentioned by Herodotus, or Thyrsagetae (by Valery Flaccus) – the presence of the morpheme getai/ketai (Μασσαγεται, Ματυκεται, Μυργεται) in the names of several tribes is noteworthy. In addition, the Thracian tribes Getae (Γεαται) are known in history. We can suppose that this word means "people". The closest to it is the Chuv kĕtỹ "a flock, herd". Then Thyssagetai were "unruly people" (OE đyssa "rowdy”). If the form of Valery Flaccus is more correct, as it is likely, since it echoes the name of the Agathyrsians. (see Αγαθιρσ, Αγαθιρσοι), then the Thyrsagetae means "the people of giants and wizards" (OE. đyrs "a giant, demon, wizard").

Μελαγχλαινοι (melankhlainoi), the Melanchlaeni – Herodotus places Melanchlaeni to the north of the Royal Scythians and explains their name as "dressed in black" (Gr. μελασ "black"). In fact, Melanchlaeni is an Old English name, as ancient Angles had a proper name Mealling, originated from OE a-meallian "to get furious" (see HOLTHAUSEN F. 1974: 216), which together with OE hleonian "to protect" was used by the newcomers for calling their relatives. One might think that they were particularly militant.

Νευροι (neuroi), the Neuri – the people standing second after Agathyrsians in Herodotus' list – Herodotus indicated that they left their homeland and settled among the Budinoi. (IV, 105). OE neowe, niowe means "new". The nominalization of the word could give neower "a newcomer". The Anglo-Saxons could not call themselves newcomers, it is assumed that such a name them could be given to a new group of tribesmen by local settlers, ie, the Anglo-Saxons, who came here earlier.

Σκυθαι (skythai), the Scythians – OE. scytta "a shooter". The Scythians were considered the best bow-shooter and in the ethnonym "Scythian" was considered a synonym for the shooter. The idea of the Germanic origin of the word has long been mentioned by V.I. Abaev: "Gmc. *scutja is an ideal etymon for σκυθασ" (ABAYEV V.I., 1965: 21).

Having so much evidence of the presence of the Anglo-Saxons in Ukraine during the Scythian-Sarmatian time, which is also confirmed by separate lexical matches between the Old English and Slavic languages and the participation of the Anglo-Saxons in the creation of the Rostov-Suzdal Principality (see the sections Anglo-Saxons in East Europe, Anglo-Saxons at Sources of Russian Power ), consider how they might be connected with the Alans.

The Urheimat of Anglo-Saxons found by the graphic-analytical method, was located on the ethno-producing area between the Sluč, Prypyat’ and Teteriv Rivers (it is marked by red dots on the map at left). This area is divided into three roughly equal parts by the Uzh and Ubort Rivers. It can be assumed that on these subareas formed close German dialects, the speakers of which formed three separate ethnic units.

Place names, which cannot be deciphered by Slavic languages, but can be deciphered with the help of Old English and Old Saxon, in doing so not only confirms the localization of the ancestral home of the Anglo-Saxons but also indicates their presence in continental Europe for a long time and sometimes graphically depicts the migration routes. During the long search for the toponyms of Anglo-Saxon origin, more than four hundred were found (see the map Google Map below). This topic is discussed in more detail in the section Ancient Anglo-Saxon Place Names in Continental Europe, some of the most convincing examples from the general list are the following:

Avratyn, a few villages in Right-Bank Ukraine – OE ǽfre "after, constant", tūn "village".

Boriatyn, villages in Lviv and Zhytomyr Regions of Ukraine, Briansk and Tula Regions of Russia, Bariatino, the administrative center of Kaluga Region, Russia, Boratyn, villages in Lviv, Volyn, Rivne Regions of Ukraine – OE bora "a son", tūn "village".

Burtyn, a village in Khmelnytsk Region – OE būr "a peasant", tūn "village".

Delatyn , a town in Ivano-Frankivsk Region – dǽl, dell "valley", tūn "village".

Irpen', a river, rt of the Dnieper – OE ear 1. "lake" or 2. “ground”, fenn “bog, silt”, could mean “sludgy lake” or “boggy ground”.

At right: The Irpen' River.
The photo from the site

Khotyn, a few of towns and villages with this or with derivate of it in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland – OE. hof “court, area”, tūn "village".

Konotop, ten towns and villages in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland and a few derivatives of it – OE. cyne- «royal», topp "a top".

Korsun, several villages and rivers in Ukraine, Russia, ans Belorus – OE cors "reed".

Kyrdany, a village in Zhytomyr Region – OE cyrten, "nice".

Mius, a river flowing in Sea of Azov – OE mēos "moss, swamp".

At left: The Mius River
Photo of Оlga GOK. Rostov on Don.

Myrutyn, a village in Khmelnytsk Region and the village of Myrotyn in Rivne Region – OE mūr "wall", tūn "village";

Resseta, a river, rt of the Zhizdra, lt of the Oka – OE rǽs "running" (from rǽsan "to race, hurry") or rīsan "to rise" and seađ "spring, source".

Rikhta, a river, lt of the Trostianytsia Rive, rt of the Irsha River, lt of the Teteriv River, rt of the Dnieper and a few villages in Kyiv and Khmelnytsk Regions – OE riht, ryht “right, direct”;

Romodan a town in Poltava Region – OE. rūma „space”, dān "humid, humid locality".

Seym, a river, lt of the Desna River, lt of the Dnieper – OE seam "side, seam";

Werhulivka (Vergulivka), a village in Luhansk Region – OE wergulu "nettle”.

Wolfa, a river, lt of th Seym River, lt of the Desna River – OE wulf “wolf”.

Wytebet', a river, lt of the Zhizdra, rt of the Oka – OE wid(e) "wide", bedd "bed, river-bed".

Yagotyn, the town in Kiev Region – OE iegođ „a little island”.

Anglo-Saxon place names in Continental Europe

On the map Anglo-Saxon place name are indicated by red points. The settlements of Markovo, Markino, and similar have violet color.

Red space marks the Urheimat of the Anglo-Saxons.

The red asterisks mark the battlefields at Adrianople (378) and on the Catalaunian Plains (451) which in the Alans took part.

Having found in the above list the names of several Alanian leaders (Αρδαβουριοσ, Beorgus, Γωαρ, Eochar, Μαστειρα, Respendial, Sangibanus, Τασιοσ a.o.), we can assume that the Alans were in fact either related to the Anglo-Saxons or a part of them. Most likely, the latter should be accepted, since there are grounds to consider both the modern Ossetians and the Turkic peoples of the Caucasus as the descendants of the Alans, then, given the recognized diversity of the population of the Northern Black Sea region, there is no other way out, how to agree that a tribal union was hidden under the common name Alans in which the Anglo-Saxons played the main role. It should be borne in mind that identification with "prestigious" ethnos by individuals or groups of people, without even adopting its language is a widespread phenomenon even in our time. The Anglo-Saxons could play a major role in this alliance, and the ancestors of the Ossetians were the only members of the union. An explanation of the dominant position of the Anglo-Saxons in this tribal alliance is that a part of them occupied an area in the Donbas which was rich in deposits of copper ore. Copper smelting and the fabrication of everyday objects for use, allowed them to gain an economic advantage over the population of other ethnicities in the Northern Black Sea, and as a consequence, political dominance:

New archaeological materials allow us to say with confidence that in the Donbas, at least in the Late Bronze Age, there was a large mining and metallurgical center, where not only ores were mined, copper was smelted, but also neighboring territories were supplied with manufactured tools, metal, and ore. As rightly noted by E.N. Chernykh, the localization of copper deposits allowed the tribes that developed them to get a new powerful source of enrichment, and thanks to their own metal, mining and metallurgical centers subordinated vast territories to their influence. (TATARINOV S.I. 1977: 206).

S.A. Tatarinov writes about the Late Bronze Age, but this is a general regularity, as evidenced by his reference to E.N. Chernykh. And the fact that it was the Anglo-Saxons who achieved political dominance in Scythian times is what has linguistic evidence. V.I. Abayev, considering the Ossetian word äldar "lord", "prince", wrote:

One of the early Alanian paramilitary, semi-class terms… The impression that the military organization of the Alans made on the neighbors contributed to the penetration of this word into Hungarian and Mongolian (ABAYEV V.I. 1958: 126-127).

Abaev derived this word from OS. arm "arm" and dar "hold". In fact, it is a borrowing of OE. ealdor "prince", "lord", "king", originating from OE. eald "old". The term of the leaders of Anglo-Saxon origin corresponds to the primacy of the Anglo-Saxons in intertribal formations.

Evidence of the Anglo-Saxons' stay in the Donbas is given in sections The Sarmatians and The Ethnic Composition of the Population of Great Scythia According Toponymy).

Herodotus wrote that among all Scythian tribes were the “Royal Scythians”. Strabo also singled out the “Royal Sarmatians” among the tribes of the Urgs, Roxolani, Aorsi, and the Siraces. Obviously the definition of "royal" refers to a dominant tribe. J. Harmatta believes that the peak power of the Sarmatians occurred in the last quarter of the 2nd and the first half of the 1st century B.C. (HARMATTA J., 1970, 39). Under conditions of stability, the development of trade, ways, and means of communication had resulted in different ethnic groups which began to appear in the Black Sea steppes at the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. They were included in the tribal alliance of the Alans. Historians come to the conclusion of the possibility of a warlike tribe to rule/control the masses of the population ethnically alien them:

Ethnic diversity and flexibility, cultural exchange, often over long distances, long-range policy, and regional differences occur become ever more apparent in the study of steppe empires. The understanding of modern social anthropology, that the early medieval people consist of different groups which gather around a relatively small core, and soon began to feel attached to it, is confirmed (POHL WALTER, 2002: 3).

When the Goths came to Scythia, they learned that in the language of the local population this, country is called Ojom (Oium) (JORDANES. 1960: 25). Judging from the context, the area Oium was on the Left Bank of the Dnieper. This area can be associated with two place names having the same name Izium which is phonetically similar to the Chuvash combination of words ĕç “work” and um “plot, lot”. One of them, recorded on old maps, was located near copper mines, which were exploited already in the Bronze Age and have survived to our time under the name Kartamysh corresponding to OE ceart "wasteland, wild public land", myscan "to deform". There is reason to associate “Royal Scythia” with this territory (for more details, see Royal Scythia.)

The common origin helped the Alans to establish friendly relations with the Germanic tribes of the Goths, Vandals, and Suebi. Obviously, the natural Germanic ethnopsychology helped them quickly find mutual understanding with the Goths and Vandals than with other peoples. In 378, the Alans, in alliance with scattered Gothic detachments under the overall command of the leader of the Visigoths Fritigern, participated in the defeat of the Roman army near Adrianople.

The Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Alans migrated under the pressure of the Huns in search of new lands for settlement. They have not moved a single stream, but each of these people in their own way and only temporarily united for military purposes. Even the Alans, moved out at least in two groups, making it difficult to establish their migration routes. As always, during the migration of peoples, their way has been marked by settlements, where a part of the migrants remains to stay for various reasons. This phenomenon was observed by the ancient migrations of the Bulgars, Cimbri, Angles, and Saxons. The trail of the Alans to Adrianople is marked by the cities of Bulgaria Varna (OE wearnian "to warn, be careful") and Burgas (OE burg "borough"). The chain of place names that may mark the path of further movement of the Alans after Adrianople consists of the following:

Haskovo, a village in southern Bulgaria – OE hassuc "wet, row grass", Eng. hassock. Better OE has "hot", cofa "cave". There are hot springs in this area.

Rashkovo, a village in Sofia Region, Bulgaria – OE. ræscan "to tremble, swing". Most likely the Old English word had another meaning, as it does in its related Old Norse raska, which is translated as both "to tremble", and as "to rock", "to displace". This meaning is much better suited for the names of settlements of migrants. Cf. Raška, Raškovići, Raškovci.

Berkovitsa, a town in Montana Province, Bulgaria – OE berc "birch".

Raška, a town, the center of Rashka district in Serbia – see Rashkovo

Sige, a village in the municipality of Žagubica, Serbia – OE sige 1. "lowland", 2. "victory".

Raškovići, a village in the municipality of Goražde, Bosnia and Herzegovin – see Rashkovo

Berkovica, a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina – OE berc "birch".

Raškovci, a village in the municipality of Doboj, Bosnia, and Herzegovina – see Rashkovo

Vinkovci a city in eastern Croatia – OE wincian "wink".

Valpovo, a city in eastern Croatia – OE hwelp(a) "whelp".

Szekszárd (Szekszárd), a city in Hungary, the capital of Tolna county – OE sex, siex, "six", eard "land, place, settlement".

However, judging by the density of the Anglo-Saxon toponymy (see Google Map above), most of the Alans first moved to the Carpathian Mountains, and then, after crossing the Carpathians, advanced to Transylvania. This path among others is marked by the following place names:

Rakhiv, a city in Trancarpathia – OE. raha "chamois".

Bârsana, a village in Maramureş County, Transilvania, Romania – OE. bærs, bears "perch".

Rohia, a village in Maramureş County, – OE. raha "chamois".

Brad, a city in Hunedoara County in the Transylvania region – OE. bræd "width".

Arad, the capital city of Arad County, Romania – OE. ared, arod "quick, rapid".

A further way of the Alans, through the territory settled by Germanic tribes, is difficult to trace because of the similarity of local dialects to Old English. However, it is known that the Alans together with the Vandals and Suevi reached Spain, where they founded their kingdom, and after the destruction of the kingdom by the Visigoths, they along with the Vandals crossed into North Africa. The kings of the newly created kingdom here officially called themselves the kings of the Vandals and Alans (BRAUN F. 1899: 96). This state pursued a too-aggressive foreign policy and existed only until 534, falling under the blows of Byzantium.

While driving through France, the Alans also founded their settlements and their way to Spain across southern France can be marked as follows:

Bourg-en-Bresse, a commune, the capital of the Ain department,– OE burg "borough, town", bræs "ore, bronze".

Lyon, a city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region – OE lion "to lend", "to preserve".

Lemps, a commune in the Ardèche department – OE. limpan "to belong", "to be fit".

Gignac, a commune in the Hérault département in the Occitanie region – OE. geagn "against", gegn "right".

At left: Alanian kingdom in Spain.
The map of Wikipedia.

The Alanian kingdom existed in Spain for a short time (409-426), but Alanian presence here is reflected in a few place names, using the Old English language for decryption, for example:

Alenquer, a municipality in the Oeste Subregion in Portugal – there is an explanation of the name as "Alanian temple" involving OG kerika "church". The name can be given by Visigoths, but this word is not fixed in the Gothic language, and there was in OE cirice "a church".

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal – OE liss (liđs) "grace, love", bōn "entreaty”. Liss as a part of the name is present in many other place names in France, Netherlands, and Britten.

Logroño, the capital of the province of l Rioja in Spain – OE lōg “place”, rūne “with”.

Madrid, the capital of Spain – the first mention of the city is preserved in the Arab transcription: مجريط (Majrīṭ, pronounced as maʤrit). There are several versions of the origin of the name, but we can substantiate an Alanian origin: OE māg "bad, shameless" and rīđ "a stream, river". Madrid is located on the small Manzanares River.

Murcia, a city in south-eastern Spain, the capital of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia – OE murcian "be unhappy, complaining".

Utiel, a municipality in the comarca of Requena-Utiel in the Valencian Community, Spain. – OE ūtian "to banish, steal".

Some evidence of friendly relations between the Alans and Goths provides also archaeology. While the Slavic tribes of the Zarubintsy culture were displaced by the Sarmatians from the Forest-steppe Dnieper Land between the rivers Tyasmyn and Stugna, "the relation the Sarmatians and the bearer of the Cherniakhiv culture in the 2nd-4th centuries was totally different than the situation between the Sarmatians and Zarubintsy people". The Sarmatians were involved in the creation of the south-western region of the Cherniakhiv culture, and their funerary rites are like Chernyakhiv ones (BARAN V.D., Otv. Red., 1985: 9-10). The Chernyakhiv culture was created by the Goths who came to the Black Sea but its cultural Sarmatian traits were superstrate, "that is, they are superimposed on the already established culture in the process of its spread to new territories" (GUDKOVA O.V. 2001:39). In this connection, we can assume that the cultural interaction of the Goths and some part of the Sarmatians was due to the similarity of their languages and customs preserved since the Germanic community.

Taking all this into account, we must make the final conclusion that the German-speaking Alans could only be that part of them that during the Great Migration period went to Central Europe, and then to Spain and Africa and, as it turned out, even to the British Isles. In other words, under the common name of the Alans, both Germanic-speaking and Iranian-speaking and even Turkic-speaking tribes of the Northern Black Sea region should be hidden, the reason for which could be the transfer of the name of the dominant tribe to other participants in a voluntary or forced union of multilingual tribes.

Quite recently correspondences have revealed that between the cycle of legends concerning King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail, there is a connection with the Scythian-Sarmatian world. In 2000, a book was published wherein authors try to explain these relationships (LITTLETON C. SCOTT, MALCOR LINDA A. 2000). One of these connections was noticed as one of the first, and later Dumezil recalls it. In the multinational epic of the peoples of the Caucasus about the Narts, a described episode of the death of one of the heroes named Batraz has a parallel to the death of King Arthur. Both die from the fact that their swords are thrown into the water.

The one illustration of the book "From Scythia to Camelot": Morte D'Arthur by Daniel Maclise

The book was controversial in the scientific world, as evidence of the authors is based on analogies which can be not so convincing. The reasons for these connections in influencing a small number of the Iazyges who served in the Roman legions during their campaigns into Britain in the 2nd century on the culture of the indigenous Celtic population look unconvincing too. The Celts, hostile to the Romans, could not have close cultural contact with them, the more it is doubtful that they were subjected to the cultural influence of the Iazyges. According to archaeological data in the Ribchester area, a small Sarmatian community existed there for several centuries (ibid., 19), which implies that the Sarmatians were not assimilated among the local population and therefore did not have a great cultural influence on it without having close contacts with them. The artifacts of the Sarmatian type found cannot say anything about this. In addition, they have never been to the Northern Black Sea region and do not belong to the Sarmatian cultural circle, their settlements were located on both banks of the lower Tisza. (see Cimmerians)

The Sarmatian cultural influence could have been made by new numerous migrants, namely by the Alans, who undoubtedly had common cultural elements with the Iranian-speaking population of the Northern Black Sea Coast, but historical data on the relocation of the Alans to Britain are absent. Although Linda Malcor explains the name of Lancelot, one of the knights of King Arthur as “(A)lan(u)s à Lot” (Alan of Lot, the area in Southern Gaul, where at one time massed Alans). One would assume that other Alans came to Britain with Lancelot.

By the way, there is no generally accepted interpretation of the name Arthur: The origin of his name is still a puzzle, though many proposals have been made (ZIMMER STEFAN. 2015: 131). The German linguist believes that the name may be native Latin, epichoric from Dalmatia, or Celtic (ibid: 132). However, if the history of the Anglo-Saxons goes back to Scythian times, then this name may have been brought to Britain by the Alans, who borrowed it from the Scythians. In this case, to understand the meaning of the name it is necessary to bring Chuv. ar "man", and tură "god", "deity". Arthur's name echoes the name of his court adviser Merlin, which goes back to Welsh. Myrddin and means "man of faith" (cf. Kurdish mēr "man", dīn "faith"). The Kurdish language is used because the Cimbri-Kurds, after adventuring on the continent, moved to Britain and had a great cultural influence on the local Celts Cimbri-Cymry). Since the name Arthur is well deciphered using the Chuvash language, the names of some knights of the Round Table may have the same origin. For example, to decipher the name Percival, you can use Chuv. pĕr "whole, full", syvă "healthy", which together with the affix – can form the word meaning "husky, sturdy".

If the Alans arrived in Britain from Southern Gaul, the more they could do it from Northern Gaul. It is known that Flavius Aetius, the honored leader, the actual governor of Gaul, is known for his victory over the Huns on the Catalaunian Plains in 451 near the city of Châlons-en-Champagne, gave Armorica area (north-west France) into the possession to Alanian King Eochar (otherwise Goar). It is known that Eochar with a part of the Alans did not follow King Respendial to Spain and stayed in central France.

Invasions of Roman Empire by Goths, Huns, Vandals, and Anglo-Saxons in 4-6 cen AD

In the subsequent time, there were several rulers named Alan in Armorica and, in addition, the local place names testify that the peninsula of Brittany and the adjacent area were inhabited by the numerous Alan horde:

Brest, a city in the Finistère département in Brittany – OE. breost "breast".

Kerlouan, a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany – OE. ceorl "man, peasant", own "own".

Landéda, a commune in the Finistère department – OE. land "land", ead "wealth, happiness".

Landerneau, a commune in the Finistère – OE. land "land", earnian "earn, win, gain".

Landivisiau, a commune in the Finistère – OE. land "land", eawis "apparent".

Locarn, a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department of Brittany – OE. loc "lock", ærn "house".

Rostrenen, a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department of Brittany – OE. rūst "rust, red", ren "house".

A chain of place names (deciphered by the use of the Old English language) stretches from the battle area of the Katalaun fields to this cluster of place names. It includes the following settlements: Sézanne, Bernay-Vilbert, Rambouillet, Brou, Berne-en-Champagne, Laval, Cornillé, and Rennes. It is significant that the name of Rambouillet is deciphered by Old English as "sheep's wool" (OE ramm "ram", wull "wool"). Obviously, the local population has long been engaged in sheep breeding here, and subsequently, there was created a royal sheepfold where a fine-fleeced sheep rambulie breed was bred.

English monk Bede the Venerable in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People asserted that the tribes of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes arrived in Britain in the 5th after Roman legions left it. He reports the names of such leaders as Angles Hengist and Horsa (BEDE, XV), which can be translated from Old English as "a stallion" and "a horse". These names are suitable for horsemen, the Alans. However, the inhabitants of Jutland, from where, according to Bede, Angles came, were not riders but also other Germanic people were. The Bede described these events after nearly 150 years and obviously used scanty data about the ancestral home of the Angles of the Roman historian Tacitus (ca. 56 – ca. 117 A.D.).

There is in the English county of Oxfordshire on a hillside near the town of Uffington, a strange figure by length of 110 m and in the form resembling a horse. The mysterious figure is made by filling ditches with broken chalk; its origin is unclear. The prevailing view is that the figure is of Celtic origin and this is proven, among other things, by the similarity of the strange head of the figure to images on Celtic coins of the first cen. AD. However, with careful study, it turned out that there is an overlapping of two different figures – a horse and a dragon (or a snake) (BOTHEROYD SILVIA und PAUL F. 1999: 416). It can be assumed that the original figure of the dragon was later turned into the figure of a horse. It is not excluded that this was done during the reign of King Alfred the Great as is also supposed. In this case, the figure could be modernized by Alan's riders which had the horse as a symbol of worship borrowed from the Iranians (which were a part of the multinational Sarmatian alliance).

Uffington White Horse. Photo from Wikipedia.

There is much other scattered evidence of the Sarmatians in Britain, as well as hypotheses about how they got there. Especially many artifacts of alleged Sarmatian origin are stored in museums dating back to Roman times. This topic is actively pursued by Giuseppe Nicolini from the University of Milan (Italy).

In principle, the similarity between the ethnonyms of the Angles and the Alans can indicate their common origin. The name of the tribe of the Ρευκαναλοι (Reukanaloi) (i.e., the "Light" or "Wild" Alans) renders of a possible metathesis in word Alan. If n in this ethnonym sounded like ng (ŋ), then the transformation of "Angl" in "Alan" would be quite possible (angloiaŋloialŋoialanoi). This explanation assumes the German origin of the word.

The German tribe of Anglii has been known since Tacitus' time. The preferred etymological theory deduces this name from *angula “hook", supposedly because the country inhabited by them had a curved shape. Another theory, namely the Turkic origin of ethnonym is more suitable in terms of semantics. Old Turkic oğlan (ohlan) "a son, boy, young man" had another meaning, namely, "a rider" (Chuv. dial. yulan "a horseman"). The name of the light cavalry (Pol. ułani, Eng. Uhlans) is arisen from this Turkic word. This plausible explanation encounters phonetic difficulties of which overcoming is tentative. The root is represented in Turkic languages by only a few derivative words, but by itself has no sense. We can assume that it is a variant of the root (oŋğ) having several meanings – "a pat", "right", "light, convenient", "to improve ", i.e. oğlan originally could exist in the form oŋğlan and it gave angl- and alan-. Attempts to connect the ethnonym Alan with the Turkic oğlan have been known for a long time, but they are considered questionable (LAYPANOV K.T., MIZIEV I.M. 2010: 73), for some reason unknown.

The Anglo-Saxons, having moved to the left bank of the Dnieper, were in close contact with the Iranian tribes for quite a long time and could participate in the formation of a common cultural environment. It is difficult to say how much they were involved in this process, but the elements of the Sarmatian culture were assimilated by them and, having turned into Alans, they brought them to Britain. In the north of France in the Calais area, there are several toponyms, deciphered using the English language: Berck, Bernay-en-Ponthieu, Rambures, etc. Distance from here to the island of Britain is only one step, not without reason the name of the Passa de Calais, which separates it from the mainland, is translated from French just so. In good weather, the Alans could repeatedly safely cross the island long before the invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. The Alans, having moved to the left bank of the Dnieper, were in close contact with Iranian tribes for quite a long time and could participate in the formation of a common cultural environment. How much Angles and Saxons were involved in this is difficult to say. Most likely, elements of the Sarmatian culture were brought to Britain by the Alans. In the north of France, in the Calais area deciphering them using the English language, there are several toponyms: Berck, Bernay-en-Ponthieu, Rambures, etc. Distance from here to the island of Britain is only one step, not without reason the name of the Passa de Calais is translated from French just so. In good weather, the Alans could repeatedly safely cross the island long before the invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. When the Vikings began their predatory attacks on Normandy in the 9th century, it was already populated by people speaking the French language, because by the middle of the 10th century they had adopted the religion and language of the French (SAWYER PETER. 2002: 11), that is, the Alans were absent there. William the Conqueror went on a campaign from the mouth of the Somme River near Calais. It is not to exclude that the Angles and Saxons also might have used this same way. Still, a sea voyage from Jutland to Britain for people who did not have a long tradition of navigation would be a very risky venture.

Of course a part of the Alans remained in the North Caucasus and this is evidenced by local place names (see the map at right).

Righ: Anglo-Saxon toponymy in the Azov region and the North Caucasus.

Place names marks the path of the Alans from Donbas to the foothills of the Caucasus and their settlement in Caucasian Alania. The most convincing examples are given below:

Yeya, a river flowing to Azov Sea and originated names – OE. ea "water, river".

Sandata, a river, lt of the Yegorlyk, lt of the Manych, lt of the Don River – OE. sand "sand", ate "weeds".

Bolshoy and Malyi Gok (Hok in local pronunciation), rives, rt of Yegorlyk, lt of the Manych, lt of the Don – OE. hōk "hook".

Sengileevskoe, a village in Shpakovski district of Stavropol Krai – OE. sengan "singe", leah "field".

Guzeripl' (Huzeripl' in local pronunciation), a settlement in the Maikop municipal district of the Republic of Adygea – OE. hūs "house", "place for house", rippel "undergrowth".

Baksan, a river and a town in Kabardino-Balkaria – OE. bæc "back", sæne "slow".

Mozdok, a city in North Ossetia and villages in the Kursk and Tambov Regions – OE. mōs "food", docce "sorrel".

Zelenchuk, two hamlets in Krasnodar Krai, a village in Karachay-Cherkessia, and six rivers in the North Caucasus having this word in their names – OE selen "tribute, gift", *cūgan "oppress" restored from the personal name Сūga which Holthausen associates with Icl. kūgan "tyranny", kūgi "oppressor" [HOLTHAUSEN F. 1074: 62].

Mount Elbrus, mountain peak in Kabardino-Balkaria – OE äl "awl", brecan "to break", bryce "fracture, crack", OS. bruki "the same", , k assibilated in s. Elbrus has two peaks separated by a saddle.

Photo by the author of the essay "My trip to Elbrus"

In general, the distribution of Anglo-Saxon place names in the North Caucasus corresponds to the territory of Caucasian Alania in the basin of two Zelenchuk rivers (see map below). Procopius of Kessaria, the first to mention the Alans in the Caucasus, indicated that in the west their neighbors were Zegii or Zygians (Fr. Zigues on the map), Abasgoi or Abasgians (Awaz on the map).

Continuing to play a leading role in the political life of the Black Sea region, the Anglo-Saxons united in one state forming the entire population of the North Caucasus, which gave rise to the Khazar Kaganate (see Khazars). The name of one of the rulers of this state, Sarosios (512? – 596), can be deciphered with the help of OE. searo "skill, craftsmanship". On the ruins of the Khaganate, Caucasian Alania arose, about which the Hungarian monk Julian left some information. He visited it in 1235 during the search for the ancestral home of the Hungarians on behalf of the Hungarian king Bela, moving from the city of Matrika in the country of Sykhia on the western slopes of the Caucasus:

… the inhabitants (of this country – VS) represent a mixture of Christians and pagans: how many towns, so many princes, of whom no one considers himself subordinate to another. Here is the constant war of a prince with a prince, a small town with a town: during the plowing, all people of one place armed together go to the field, together mow, and then on the adjacent space, and in general coming out of their settlements for the cutting of firewood, or for whatever work, they all go together and armed, and in a small number they cannot go out safely from their settlements (GARDANOV V.K. 1974: 33)

It is clear from the description that there was no tribal alliance or the leading tribe in Alanya that can be spoken of. If there were Anglo-Saxons in these places, then they would have existed in very small numbers. William Rubruk, sent by King Louis IX, was ambassador to Mongolia in 1253. He met with the Alans in the Crimea and noticed that they are called there the Aas (RUBRUK WILHELM de, 1957: XIII). He also noted that the Alans do not drink Kumys, from which it can be concluded that they were not Turks, as Kumys is their national drink (Ibid: XII). Furthermore, he sometimes mentions the Alans on the North Caucasus and, in particular, notes that they were excellent blacksmiths. Alans could learn the blacksmith's craft during their stay in the Donbas.

Distribution map of "Alan" antiquities
according [Zuckerman C. 2005: 72, Fig 1].

At one time, it was suggested that Alania was divided into East and West Alanya (that is, Alanya proper). Allegedly, in each of these parts of the country, a separate dynasty ruled, and each had its own original material culture. The author of the idea proposed his own delimitation of the early medieval archaeological cultures, which “reflects a very long coexistence in the north of the Caucasus of two main ethnocultural regions – the steppe (included in the region of the steppe cultures of the Northern Black Sea region, the Sea of ​​Azov region and the Volga region) and the mountainous (properly Caucasian) one … ” (KUZNETSOV V.A. 1973: 73).

However, this theory turned out to be unsupported by the evidence. On the contrary, the sources clearly show that Alanya had only one ruling dynasty at any given time, although it is doubtful how much its people identified with the country or dynasty (LATHAM-SPRINKLE JOHN. 2018, 3). The opponent of the theory claims:

… whilst there is evidence for regional diversity in these sources, it cannot be summarised as a distinction between two long-lived, dynastic, territorially bounded polities. (Ibid: 5).

In addition, there is reason to believe that the term *As opposed by V.A. Kuznetsov the Alans, does not contain a sign of ethnicity but is an identifying word for any Central North Caucasian tribe, and it retains this meaning in a number of regional languages. In Abkhazian, for example, all the peoples of the North Caucasus are called Ases. This meaning – or more precisely, the use of the term "As" or "Os" to designate a certain community of the valley – is also found in the languages ​​of the North Caucasus (Ibid: 11-12). Moreover, even the Chuvashes, especially the older ones, still say: “Epir Asem” (we are Ases). Just the Ossetians call the Balkars the Ases too. However, they themselves are called by a similar word the Ases (Avses) by the Georgians. At the same time, there is no single self-name for Ossetians, their widespread name comes from the Georgian, and the self-identification of individual Ossetian sub-ethnos (Digorians, Irons, etc.) do not contain any hints of the ethnonyms of Alans or Ases.

If the term *As originally referred to a local community, this may suggest that the primary method of self-identification within the Central North Caucasus remained the local community, rather than ethnicity or kingdom. In any event, it seems that the distinction between the terms *As and Alan was a complex one, which changed considerably over time, and cannot, as Kuznetsov suggested, be explained as a longstanding, binary ethnic or political division (Ibid: 12)

In 1888, on the right bank of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River, a stone stele with an inscription in Greek letters was found 30 km from the village of Nizhniy Arkhyz (see the figure on the right). The decoding of the inscription was made by V.F. Miller using the Ossetian language. With small corrections, the reading is now accepted in science, and the dating of the stele is determined by 941 year (DHURTUBAYEV M. 2010: 198).

Miller believed that there was a Christian city in this area, from which the ruins of churches were preserved, and suggested that it was the center of the Alan diocese (metropolis), which is mentioned in Byzantine literature. However, not all agreed with the decoding of Miller, because he introduced eight additional letters into the text, which were absent on the stele and without which it can not be by means of the Ossetian language (Ibid).

At right: Drawing of the inscription of Zelenchuk stele in Dhurtubayev'в book taken from V.A. Kuznetsov (Ibid: 199).

The inscription has various reading options, including the use of Ossetian, Kabardian, Karachay-Balkarian, Vainakh, and, possibly, other languages, and disputes about its language continue to this day. The stele itself was not preserved, attempts to find it in 1946 and 1964 did not bring success (KAMBOLOV T.T. 2006: 166). Without the original, one cannot speak about the accuracy of text rendering, and this additionally complicates the decoding of the inscription. The strange thing in this story is that Miller, Abaev, and other experts in Iranian languages did not give decryption of the name Arkhyz itself, which could add them confidence about the Ossetian origin of the stele.

The fact is that in the mountainous region of Arkhiz there are several toponyms which are decrypted precisely with the help of the Ossetian language:

Arkhyz, a river, lt of the Psysh, lt Of the Great Zelenchuk, lt of the Kuban River – Os. ærkh "piece" "splinter", "sliver".

Kardonikskaya, a stanitsa (village inside a Cossack host) in Zelenchuk district of Karachay-Cherkessia – Os. kærdo "rear-tree", nigæ "riverside covered with grass".

Mara, a river, rt of the Kuban' River – ос. mæra "hollow".

Synty, the former name of the aul of Lower Teberda in Karachai-Cherkessia – Os. synt "raven", syntæ "net, snare".

Zagedan, a town and a river, rt of the Bolshaya Laba River in Karachay-Cherkessia – Os. dzag "full", don "water, river".

Such an accumulation of Ossetian place names on a small territory indicates the presence of the Ossetians at some time in Alania, which could be reflected in written sources. Subsequently, the Ossetians could be forced out by the Alans to the places of their modern emplacement, and this entailed confusion in the localization of Ossetia, which Zuckerman notes:

… having only inaccurate translations, Muller made almost surreal conclusions about the location of ethnic groups: he placed the Alans in the west, at the source of the Kuban River, the Ases to the east, then again the Alans – even further east, in the country of Ardoz (ZUCKERMAN C. 2005: 78).

In turn, Zgusta, having no reliable historical evidence and even without a clear idea of the places of Ossetian settlements in the Caucasus, made a hasty conclusion about the Ossetian text on the stele and declared the existence of Ossetian writing already in the Middle Ages. No other data confirming this conclusion has been found so far, however, the authority of L. Zgusta, who saw in the text a relic of the Proto-Ossetian language (ZGUSTA LADISLAV. 1987), contributes to the fact that Abaev’s conclusion still has adherents.

Having my own opinion about the ethnicity of the Alans, I think that the inscription was made in a language close to Old English. I wrote the clearer signs on the stele as follows: νικολαοσ σαχε θεφοιχ ο βολτ γεφοιγτ πακα θαρ πακα θαν φογριτ αν παλ αμ απδ λανε φογρ – λακα νεβερ θεοθελ. I propose the following decoding of the inscription: "Sachs Nikolai is buried here, doomed to death by a traitorous arrow of an insidious servant, decorated with a strong pillar decorating the path – a gift from his nephew Theophilus". Possibly, Sakz, Cumanian khan, the brother of Begubars, was buried here. Judging by the names of the Cumanian khans, in the annals, the common name of the Cumans was understood to mean various peoples who inhabited the North Caucasus and the shore of the Sea of Azov. Among them were the Alans-Angles. The name of the brother of Sakz Begubars can be deciphered with the help of OE. beg “berry” and ūfer “shore” (generally “currant”, cf. Ukrainian porіchki (bank berry “the same”). Other Anglo-Saxons among the Cumanian khans could be Iskal and Kytan. (For more details, see in Russian Zelenchuk inscription)

The names of the kings of Alania may indicate that the Anglo-Saxons were the ruling elite of the kingdom. Queen Tamara of Georgia (r. 1184-1213) was the granddaughter of the “King of the Alans” Huddan, and his name can be understood as "Person of high dignity" (OE. had/hæd "person", "rank", "dignity",dūn "height", "mountain"). In turn, the queen married David Soslan, supposedly some Alanian prince. The name Soslan can be associated with OE. sūsl "suffering, torment" (-аn – the suffix) and other similar words. Such an interpretation does not correspond to a high origin, but the fact is that nothing is known about the ancestors of Soslan. It is assumed that the royal dignity could be attributed to him for political reasons in later times.(LATHAM-SPRINKLE JOHN. 2018: 20-21).

News of the Alans in the Caucasus came from travelers in the Caucasus until the 18th century. The last evidence of the presence of the Alans north of the Klukhor pass in the amount of “one thousand souls” was the message of Jan Potocki in 1797 (ZUCKERMAN C. 2005: 82).

There are uncertain assumptions about the existence of an English colony in the North-Eastern Black Sea, based on the reports of medieval chronicles about the flight of part of the Anlo-Saxons after the Norman conquest in 1066. Indeed, there is no doubt that the imperial guard, which existed until the siege of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, also included “English Varangians”. The arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Constantinople could be associated with memories of their distant ancestral home in the east. After some time, some of them wanted to establish their own kingdom and asked the emperor (Alexios Komnenos?) to provide them with several cities where they could merge. Allegedly, they were given territory somewhere on the northern coast of the Black Sea (GREEN CAITLIN R. Dr. 2015). At that time, the Byzantines, busy fighting the Turks and problems with the Crusaders, were not interested in these lands and what was happening there was unknown to them. However, the settlements of the Anglo-Saxons in the North were known. One can think that the newcomers could be supposed to go to their compatriots, or the very existence of these settlements gave rise to the legend of New England somewhere in Crimea and on the Caucasian coast. As proof of the legend, several toponyms are given on the Venetian portolan of 1553 and other old maps. It is more clearly spoken about Londia (Londina), the name of which is associated with London, and there are no other toponyms on the portolan. On it, all the names are not local, but Italian and there is no trace of any Chechen or Kurdish ones, although they should have already existed (see Pechenegs and Magyars, Cimmerians in Eastern European History). This raises doubts about the use of the names of the indicated maps by the population. The name of Londia was supposed to be a derivative of it. lontano “far away”. It really was far from the main Genoese port of Kaffa in Crimea. Thus, without denying the existence of New England, we must add some clarification to the legend.

Restoring the prehistory of the Anglo-Saxons in a wide area of Eastern Europe, it should be noted that most of them were not directly related to the Alans. While the Alans, who settled on the Northern Black Sea coast and remained there until the arrival of the Huns, the Angles and Saxons the Angles and Saxons moved their way towards Germany, and from there they already reached the British Isles. The study of Anglo-Saxon place names in Central and Eastern Europe helps to restore the picture. As in the case with the mass migration of peoples, part of migrants remains always at the place of temporary residence. The rest of the tribesmen set out again after some time (a year or two or more). So a chain of settlements, whose names often survived to our time, arises along the way. In our case, we have two such chains of Anglo-Saxon place names, one which crossed central Poland, and the second goes along the Carpathian Mountains and through the Moravian Gate to Bohemia. Obviously, the Angles moved through central Poland and then through northern Germany. The Saxons came in Bohemia and through the valley of the Elbe River entered Germany where the states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt is now. Here, most of them stayed permanently. The other part has moved on to the North Sea coast where is now the state of Lower Saxony.

One of the evidence of movement of the Anglo-Saxons through Poland, the name of the village Czorsztyn in Lesser Poland Voivodeship was decoded as "jutting rock" (OE. scorian "to jut out", stān "stone, rock"). Really, there is in this village a steep rock on the shore of the reservoir formed by the Dunajec River (see. photo at the right). Similar words are or were present in German (OHG scorra "rock", Ger. Stein "stone"). In addition, there are in Poland several settlements that contain the component sztyn (Wolsztyn, Falshtyn and possibly others), all they can have as German (Teutonic) as the Anglo-Saxon origin. The Anglo-Saxon origin may be assumed more justified only if they are part of a chain or cluster of names as can be seen in the case with Czorstyn. However many place names in the band passing through Central Poland have a clear Anglo-Saxon origin. For example, the name of the village of Kornaty can be interpreted using OE. corn "grain", ate "oats". Another fact is more interesting. There are in the band ten settlements called Konotop and four called Konotopy. These names have Slavic appearances, but the fact that they are so numerous with questionable Slavic interpretation and that they form a strip caused assuming their non-Slavic origin. Only the Anglo-Saxon origin could such opportunity be provided. The movement of the Saxons through Czech Republic is marked by place names such as the Olomouc, Chrudim and several others, including the component tyn corresponding OE tūn "village". Interpretation of other place names can be found in The Complete List of Anglo-Saxon Place Names in Continental Europe

With the beginning of the Hun invasion, the Alans who remained in Eastern Europe were forced to seek new lands for settlement. Some of them, along with the Visigoths, went west and in the end-ends, their remains ended up in Africa, where they disappeared without a trace. A small part of the Alans went to the mountains of the Caucasus, but most of them migrated through the Central Russian Plain to the Upper Volga and for a long time continued to play a prominent role in history until they were finally assimilated among the larger surrounding population (see Anglo-Saxons at Sources of Russian Power, The Development of Siberia and the Far East by the Anglo-Saxons).

The Old English poem "Widsith" ("The Traveller's Song") fits very well into the corpus of historical sources about the time of the Migration Period in Europe, and I thank Antoni Wręga for this kind tip. In its final form, the poem was formed no later than the 7th century but is based on more ancient Germanic legends. In the estimation of experts, the author of the poem is an ideal wandering minstrel, telling about all the tribes he visited, about all the leaders he knew (CHAMBERS R.W. 1912, 4). An analysis of the text shows that the historical prototypes of the heroes of the poem lived at different times between the 3rd and 6th centuries. (SMIRNITSKAYA O.A. 1982, 251). True, as a historical document, the poem has characteristic shortcomings:

The temptation to attribute historic value to poetry in which the names of historic chiefs often meet us is, of course, strong; and, giving way to it, the early chroniclers of many nations have incorporated heroic tradition into their histories. But it is an essential characteristic of heroic poetry that, whilst it preserves many historic names, it gives the story modified almost past recognition by generations of poetic tradition. Accurate chronology too is, in the absence of written records, impossible: all the great historic chieftains become contemporaries: their deeds are confused: only their names, and sometimes their characters, remain. (CHAMBERS R.W. 1912, 5).

Obviously, there is no doubt that the later narrators added to the original text everything they knew about the affairs of the past days without a clear understanding of their chronology. But the spatial relations in the described events should not change, because they do not affect either the pathos or the essence of the presentation. The author of the original reports that he arrived at the court of the king of the Ostrogoths Ermanaric i.e. Germanarich (IV century) from the east:

       He mid Ealhhilde

       fælre freoþuwebban forman siþe

       Hræđcyninges ham gesohte,

       eastan of Ongle, Eormanrices

       wraþes wærlogan. Ongon þa worn sprecan
           (ANSCOMBE ALFRED. 1915, 132).

The translation of these lines from Old English is approximately as follows:

With the beautiful Elhhild, I came from the east, from Ongel first time to the brave Gothic ruler Eormanric and began to tell him a lot.

The name of the country Ongle, that is, Old England, what is clear to everyone, may indicate the Turkic roots of this word, and its location to the east of Eormaric's causes perplexity among researchers and various explanations are sought for this misunderstanding (SMIRNITSKAYA O.A. 1982: 253). Some of them believe that the poem was written by a resident of England in confidence about the location of his ancestral home in the east. And this gives grounds to prove a later date of writing, at least the introduction to the poem, "but the whole thing is puzzling" (CHAMBERS R.W. 1912, 189). Others are sure that the corresponding line is an error and should be removed from the text of the poem altogether (ANSCOMBE ALFRED. 1915, 126).

The author lists the numerous tribes and names of kings, which he visited during his wanderings and repeatedly calls the Huns and Goths the first, but, surprisingly, he never mentions the Alans and their kings. This can be explained by the fact that this was not necessary, for he himself was an Alan. On the other hand, it was dangerous to wander alone in those turbulent times, which makes us assume that he traveled with the Alans.

All the facts considered here are more than enough to be convinced of the great role that the Anlo-Saxons played in the history of Ukraine and Russia. The completion of their activities was the creation of the Khazar Khaganate, which is a separate large topic (see Khazars).

Talking about the Anglo-Saxon presence in Eastern Europe at the Scythian-Sarmatian times, we cannot ignore the similarities of the ethnonyms "Sakes" and "Saxons". The Sakes were a Scythian tribe that settled in Central Asia, but their language is unknown. One can judge it only on certain words. One such word is the name of one of the Sakian leaders Skunha. This "Sak Skunha" was depicted on the monuments during the Achaemenid’s epoch, consisting of several rock-hewn figures and inscriptions on them (a few hundred kilometers from Hamadan). As can be seen from the inscription that Darius seized Skunha and captured /mastered his country. Searching for the explanations of Skunha’s name was carried out by using Iranian languages and for this purpose, Os sk'uänxun (Digorian dialect) and sk'uyxyn (Irons dialect) with the same sense of "to different" have been involved. The participle of the verb, from which these words originate, could mean "famous", "valiant" (FREIMAN A.A. 1948: 239). This explanation is convincing enough, but the scientific objectivity makes checking other options just persuasive. A. Freiman believed that the Ossetian word is cognate with other Iranian words and has also a match in some Indo-European languages which are based on the concept of "pay attention". However, there is OEscunian “to avoid" (an obscure origin) and having no matches in the other Germanic languages. Semantic relation, albeit remote, exists with the Ossetian word (for example, the source sense could be "to separate, distinguish”), so it's possible they have a common origin. These considerations suggest that the issue of the ethnicity of the Saks yet cannot be resolved definitively.

In general, the question of the ethnicity of the Alans resembles the situation in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the humorous portrayal of the comedian Gennady Khazanov: There is no evidence! That is, we know who, where, and when, we have fingerprints and witness statements, but we cannot prove anything. It remains only to laugh.

See also