North Africa during Antiquity
The History of North Africa during the period of Classical Antiquity can be divided into the history of Egypt in the east, the history of Ancient Libya in the middle and the history of Numidia and Mauretania in the West. The Roman Republic established the province of Africa in 146 BCE after the defeat of Carthage; the Roman Empire controlled the entire Mediterranean coast of Africa, adding Egypt in 30 BCE, Creta et Cyrenaica in 20 BCE, Mauretania in CE 44. In the east, Egypt was under Persian rule during the early phase of classical antiquity, passing to the Ptolemaic dynasty in the Hellenistic era. Libya was inhabited by Berber tribes, while along the coast Phoenician and Greek colonies were set up. Rome lost parts of Africa to the Vandals in the 5th century; the Byzantine Empire lost all control of Africa as the region fell to the Umayyad conquest of North Africa by the close of the 7th century. The Late Period of Ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty into Persian conquests and, ending with the fall of the Thirty-First Dynasty to the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE.
After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Egypt fell to Ptolemy I Soter who established the Ptolemaic Kingdom in 305 BCE. In 2013, the first genetic analysis utilizing next-generation sequencing was conducted to ascertain the ancestral lineage of an Ancient Egyptian individual. DNA was extracted from the heads of five Egyptian mummies. All the specimens were dated to between 806 BC and 124 AD, a timeframe corresponding with the Late Dynastic and Ptolemaic periods; the researchers observed that one of the mummified individuals belonged to the mtDNA haplogroup I2, a maternal clade, believed to have originated in Western Asia. Phoenician traders arrived on the North African coast around 900 BC and established Carthage around 800 BCE. By the 6th century BCE, a Punic presence existed at Tipasa. From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast. Hippo Regius and Rusicade are among the towns of Carthaginian origin on the coast of present-day Algeria.
As Carthaginian power grew, its involvement in the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing and political organization supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew and thus created a new Punic society speaking Punic, but territorial expansion resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others. By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed one of the largest element, with Gauls, of the Carthaginian army. Egypt was not considered part of Libya in Hellenistic geography; the boundary between Africa and Asia was at Catabathmus Magnus, separating Libya proper from the "Libyan Nomos" of western Egypt. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers participated from 241 to 238 BCE after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War. Berbers succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa.
The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BCE, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Moulouya River in Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean; the high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium was reached during the reign of Masinissa in the 2nd century BCE. After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were reunited several times. Masinissa's line survived until CE 24, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire. Roman domination of the northern Mediterranean coasts of Africa began; the Roman empire in the following century controlled all the coasts from the Nile valley to the Atlantic Ocean of actual Morocco The Roman military presence of North Africa was small if related to other areas of the empire, consisting of about 28,000 troops and auxiliaries in Numidia and the two Mauretanian provinces.
Starting in the 2nd century CE, these garrisons were manned by local inhabitants, because the area was considered pacified and nearly romanised. Aside from Carthage, urbanization in North Africa came in part with the establishment of settlements of veterans under the Roman emperors Claudius and Trajan. In actual Algeria such settlements included Tipasa, Cuicul or Curculum and Sitifis; the prosperity of most towns depended on agriculture. Called the "granary of the empire," North Africa was one of the largest exporters of grain in the empire, exported to the provinces which did not produce cereals, like Italy and Greece. Other crops included fruit, figs and beans. By the 2nd century CE, olive oil rivaled cereals as an export item; the beginnings of the decli
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
The Vandalic or Vandal War was a conflict fought in North Africa between the forces of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire and the Vandalic Kingdom of Carthage, in 533–534. It was the first of Justinian I's wars of reconquest of the lost Western Roman Empire; the Vandals had occupied Roman North Africa in the early 5th century, established an independent kingdom there. Under their first king, the formidable Vandal navy carried out pirate attacks across the Mediterranean, sacked Rome and defeated a massive Roman invasion in 468. After Geiseric's death, relations with the surviving Eastern Roman Empire normalized, although tensions flared up due to the Vandals' militant adherence to Arianism and their persecution of the Chalcedonian native population. In 530, a palace coup in Carthage overthrew the pro-Roman Hilderic and replaced him with his cousin Gelimer; the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian took this as a pretext to interfere in Vandal affairs, after he secured his eastern frontier with Sassanid Persia in 532, he began preparing an expedition under general Belisarius, whose secretary Procopius wrote the main historical narrative of the war.
Justinian took advantage of, or instigated, rebellions in the remote Vandal provinces of Sardinia and Tripolitania. These not only distracted Gelimer from the Emperor's preparations, but weakened Vandal defences through the dispatch of the bulk of the Vandal navy and a large portion of their army under Gelimer's brother Tzazon to Sardinia; the Roman expeditionary force set sail from Constantinople in late June 533, after a sea voyage along the coasts of Greece and southern Italy, landed on the African coast at Caputvada in early September, to Gelimer's complete surprise. The Vandal king gathered his forces and met the Roman army at the Battle of Ad Decimum, near Carthage, on 13 September. Gelimer's elaborate plan to encircle and destroy the Roman army came close to success, but Belisarius was able to drive the Vandal army to flight and occupy Carthage. Gelimer withdrew to Bulla Regia, where he gathered his remaining strength, including the army of Tzazon, which returned from Sardinia. In December, Gelimer met the Romans at the Battle of Tricamarum.
The battle resulted in the death of Tzazon. Gelimer fled to a remote mountain fortress, where he was blockaded until he surrendered in the spring. Belisarius returned to Constantinople with the Vandals' royal treasure and the captive Gelimer to enjoy a triumph, while Africa was formally restored to imperial rule as the praetorian prefecture of Africa. Imperial control scarcely reached beyond the old Vandal kingdom and the Moorish tribes of the interior proved unwilling to accept imperial rule and soon rose up in rebellion; the new province was shaken by the wars with the Moors and military rebellions, it was not until 548 that peace was restored and Roman government established. In the course of the gradual decline and dissolution of the Western Roman Empire in the early 5th century, the Germanic tribe of the Vandals, allied with the Alans, had established themselves in the Iberian peninsula. In 429, the Roman governor of the Diocese of Africa, who had rebelled against the West Roman emperor Valentinian III and was facing an invasion by imperial troops, called upon the Vandalic King Geiseric for aid.
Thus, in May 429, Geiseric crossed the straits of Gibraltar with his entire people 80,000 in total. Geiseric's Vandals and Alans, had their own plans, aimed to conquer the African provinces outright, their possession of Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Sitifensis and most of Numidia was recognized in 435 by the Western Roman court, but this was only a temporary expedient. Warfare soon recommenced, in October 439, the capital of Africa, fell to the Vandals. In 442, another treaty exchanged the provinces hitherto held by the Vandals with the core of the African diocese, the rich provinces of Zeugitana and Byzacena, which the Vandals received no longer as foederati of the Empire, but as their own possessions; these events marked the foundation of the Vandalic Kingdom, as the Vandals made Carthage their capital and settled around it. Although the Vandals now gained control of the lucrative African grain trade with Italy, they launched raids on the coasts of the Mediterranean that ranged as far as the Aegean Sea and culminated in their sack of Rome itself in 455, which lasted for two weeks.
Taking advantage of the chaos that followed Valentinian's death in 455, Geiseric regained control—albeit rather tenuous—of the Mauretanian provinces, with his fleet took over Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. Sicily escaped the same fate through the presence there of Ricimer. Throughout this period, the Vandals survived several Roman attempts at a counterstrike: the Eastern Roman general Aspar had led an unsuccessful expedition in 431, an expedition assembled by the Western emperor Majorian off the coast of Spain in 460 was scattered or captured by the Vandals before it could set sail, in 468, Geiseric defeated a huge joint expedition by both western and eastern empires under Basiliscus. In the aftermath of this disaster, following further Vandal raids against the shores of Greece, the eastern emperor Zeno concluded a "perpetual peace" with Geiseric; the Vandal state was unique in many respects among the Germanic kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire: instead of respecting and continuing the established Roman socio-political order, they replaced it with their own.
Whereas the kings of Western Europe continued to pay deference to the emperors and minted coinage
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
Gaiseric known as Geiseric or Genseric, was King of the Vandals and Alans who established the Vandal Kingdom and was one of the key players in the troubles of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. During his nearly 50 years of rule, he raised a insignificant Germanic tribe to the status of a major Mediterranean power. After he died, they entered eventual collapse. Succeeding his brother Gunderic at a time when the Vandals were settled in Baetica, Roman Hispania, Gaiseric defended himself against a Suebian attack and transported all his people, around 80,000, to Northern Africa in 428, he might have been invited by the Roman governor Bonifacius, who wished to use the military strength of the Vandals in his struggle against the imperial government. Gaiseric caused great devastation, he turned on Bonifacius, defeated his army in 430, crushed the joint forces of the Eastern and Western empires, sent against him. In 435 Gaiseric concluded a treaty with the Romans under which the Vandals retained Mauretania and part of Numidia as foederati of Rome.
In a surprise move on 19 October 439, Gaiseric captured Carthage, striking a devastating blow at imperial power. In a 442 treaty with Rome, the Vandals were recognized as the independent rulers of Byzacena and part of Numidia, he besieged Panormus (Palermo Sicily in 440 AD but was repulsed. He did in 455 seize the Balearic Islands, Sardinia and Malta, Gaiseric’s fleet soon came to control much of the western Mediterranean, he occupied Sicily in 468 for 8 years until the island was ceded in 476 to Odavacer except for a toehold on the far west coast, Lilybaeum was ceded in 491 to Theodoric.p. 410. His most famous exploit, was the capture and plundering of Rome in June 455. Subsequently, the King defeated two major efforts by the Romans to overthrow him, that of the emperor Majorian in 460 or 461 and that led by Basiliscus at the Battle of Cape Bon in 468. After dying in Carthage at the age of 77, Gaiseric was succeeded by his son Huneric. Gaiseric was an illegitimate son of King Godigisel. After his father's death in battle against the Franks during the Crossing of the Rhine 406 AD, Gaiseric became the second most powerful man among the Vandals, after the new king, his half-brother Gunderic.
After Gunderic's death in 428, Gaiseric was elected king. He began to seek ways of increasing the power and wealth of his people, who resided in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica in southern Hispania; the Vandals had suffered from attacks from the more numerous Visigothic federates, not long after taking power, Gaiseric decided to leave Hispania to this rival Germanic tribe. In fact, he seems to have started building a Vandal fleet before he became king. In 428 Gaiseric was attacked from the rear by a large force of Suebi under the command of Heremigarius who had managed to take Lusitania; this Suebic army was defeated near Mérida and its leader Hermigario drowned in the Guadiana River while trying to flee. Taking advantage of a dispute between Boniface, Roman governor of North Africa, Aetius, Gaiseric ferried all of his people across to Africa in 429. Once there, he won many battles over the weak and divided Roman defenders and overran the territory now comprising modern Morocco and northern Algeria.
His Vandal army laid siege to the city of Hippo Regius, taking it after 14 months of bitter fighting. A peace between Gaiseric and the Roman Emperor Valentinian III was concluded on 11 February 435, in return for recognizing Gaiseric as king of the lands he and his men had conquered the Vandals would desist from attacks on Carthage, pay a tribute to the Empire, send his son Huneric as a hostage to Rome. On 19 October 439, noting that the forces of the Western Empire were involved in Gaul, Gaiseric took possession of Carthage through some treachery. Stewart Oost observes, "Thus he undoubtedly achieved what had been his purpose since he first crossed to Africa." The Romans were caught unaware, Gaiseric captured a large part of the western Roman navy docked in the port of Carthage. The Catholic bishop of the city, was exiled to Naples, since Gaiseric demanded that all his close advisors follow the Arian form of Christianity. Gaiseric gave freedom of religion to the Catholics, while insisting that the regime's elite follow Arianism.
The common folk had low taxes under his reign, as most of the tax pressure was on the rich Roman families and the Catholic clergy. Added to his own burgeoning fleet, the Kingdom of the Vandals now threatened the Empire for mastery of the western Mediterranean Sea. Carthage, became the new Vandal capital and an enemy of Rome for the first time since the Punic Wars. With the help of their fleet, the Vandals soon subdued Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. Gaiseric strengthened the Vandal defenses and fleet and regulated the positions of Arians and Catholics. In 442, the Romans acknowledged the Carthaginian conquests, recognized the Vandal kingdom as an independent
Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is God. Arian teachings were first attributed to a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt; the teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father. There was a dispute between two interpretations of Jesus' divinity based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, one trinitarian and the other non-trinitarian, both of them attempted to solve its respective theological dilemmas. So there were two orthodox interpretations which initiated a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.
The two interpretations initiated a broader conflict as to which belief was the successor of Christian theology from its inception. The former was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils, in the past several centuries, Arianism has continued to be viewed as "the heresy or sect of Arius"; as such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. The trinitarianism, or homoousianism viewpoint, was promulgated by Athanasius of Alexandria, who insisted that Homoousianism theology was both the true nature of God and the teaching of Jesus. Arius stated: "If the Father begat the Son he, begotten had a beginning in existence, from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not." Nonetheless, the Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325, convened by Emperor Constantine to ensure Church unity, deemed Arianism to be a heresy." According to Everett Ferguson, "The great majority of Christians had no clear views about the nature of the Trinity and they did not understand what was at stake in the issues that surrounded it."Ten years however, Constantine the Great, himself baptized by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, convened another gathering of Church leaders at the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, to address various charges mounted against Athanasius by his pro-Arius detractors, such as "murder, illegal taxation and treason", following his refusal to readmit Arius into fellowship.
Athanasius was exiled to Trier following his conviction at Tyre of conspiracy, Arius was exonerated. Athanasius returned to Alexandria in 346 A. D. two years after the deaths of both Arius and Constantine. The Roman Emperors Constantius II and Valens were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy and the Lombards were Arians or Semi-Arians until the 7th century. Visigothic Spain was Arian until 581. Arianism is used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological systems of the 4th century, which regarded Jesus Christ—the Son of God, the Logos—as either a begotten creature or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other beings are created. Arius had been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch at Lucian's private academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the teachings of Paul of Samosata, he taught that the Son of God did not always exist together eternally. Arians taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom everything else was created, that the Son of God is subordinate to God the Father.
A verse from Proverbs was used: "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work". Therefore, the Son was rather the first and the most perfect of God's creatures, he was made "God" only by the Father's permission and power. Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century, it involved most church members—from simple believers and monks to bishops and members of Rome's imperial family. Two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did prominent Gothic and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; such a deep controversy within the Church during this period of its development could not have materialized without significant historical influences providing a basis for the Arian doctrines. Of the three hundred bishops in attendance at the Council of Nicea, two bishops did not sign the Nicene Creed that condemned Arianism. Emperor Constantine ordered a penalty of death for those who refused to surrender the Arian writings: In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left to remind anyone of him.
And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, not to have brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment.... Reconstructing what Arius taught, why, is a formidable task, both because little of his own w
The Alans were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity. The name Alan is an Iranian dialectical form of Aryan. Related to the Massagetae, the Alans have been connected by modern historians with the Central Asian Yancai and Aorsi of Chinese and Roman sources, respectively. Having migrated westwards and become dominant among the Sarmatians on the Pontic Steppe, they are mentioned by Roman sources in the 1st century AD. At the time, they had settled the region north of the Black Sea and raided the Parthian Empire and the Caucasian provinces of the Roman Empire. From 215–250 AD, their power on the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Goths. Upon the Hunnic defeat of the Goths on the Pontic Steppe around 375 AD, many of the Alans migrated westwards along with various Germanic tribes, they crossed the Rhine in 406 AD along with the Vandals and Suebi, settling in Valence. Around 409 AD, they joined the Vandals and Suebi in the crossing of the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, settling in Lusitania and Carthaginensis.
The Iberian Alans were soundly defeated by the Visigoths in 418 AD and subsequently surrendered their authority to the Hasdingi Vandals. In 428 AD, the Vandals and Alans crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into North Africa, where they founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until its conquest by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD; the Alans who remained under Hunnic rule founded a powerful kingdom in the North Caucasus in the Middle Ages, which ended with the Mongol invasions in the 13th century AD. These Alans are said to be the ancestors of the modern Ossetians; the Alans spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian. The various forms of Alan – Greek: Ἀλανοί Alanoi; this word was preserved in the modern Ossetian language in the form of Allon. These and other variants of Aryan were common self-designations of the Indo-Iranians, the common ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and Iranian peoples to whom the Alans belonged.
Rarer spellings include Halani. The Alans were known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, As, Os, it is this name, the root of the modern Ossetian. The first mentions of names that historians link with the Alani appear at the same time in texts from the Mediterranean, Middle East and China. In the 1st century AD, the Alans migrated westwards from Central Asia, achieving a dominant position among the Sarmatians living between the Don River and the Caspian Sea; the Alans are mentioned in the Vologeses inscription which reads that Vologeses I, the Parthian king between around 51 and 78 AD, in the 11th year of his reign, battled Kuluk, king of the Alani. The 1st century AD. Josephus reports in the Jewish Wars how Alans living near the Sea of Azov crossed the Iron Gates for plunder and defeated the armies of Pacorus, king of Media, Tiridates, King of Armenia, two brothers of Vologeses I: 4. Now there was a nation of the Alans, which we have mentioned somewhere as being Scythians, living around Tanais and Lake Maeotis.
This nation about this time laid a design of falling upon Media, the parts beyond it, in order to plunder them. This king gave; these Alans therefore plundered the country without opposition, with great ease, proceeded as far as Armenia, laying waste all before them. Now, Tiridates was king of that country, who met them and fought them but was lucky not to have been taken alive in the battle. So the Alans, being still more provoked by this sight, laid waste the country, drove a great multitude of the men, a great quantity of the other booty from both kingdoms, along with them, retreated back to their own country; the fact that the Alans invaded Parthia through Hyrcania shows that at the time many Alans were still based north-east of the Caspian Sea. By the early 2nd century AD the Alans were in firm control of Kuban; these lands had earlier been occupied by the Aorsi and the Siraces, whom the Alans absorbed, dispersed and/or destroyed, since they were no longer mentioned in contemporaneous accounts.
It is that the Alans' influence stretched further westwards, encompassing most of the Sarmatian world, which by possessed a homogenous culture. In 135 AD, the Alans made a huge raid into Asia Minor via the Caucasus, ravaging Armenia, they were driven back by Arrian, the governor of Cappadocia, who wrote a detailed report (Ektaxis kata Alanoon or'War Ag