1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alani
ALANI (Gr. Άλανοί, Άλαυνοί; Chinese 'O-lan-na; since the 9th century A.D. they have been called As, Russ. Jasy, Georgian Ossi), the easternmost division of the Sarmatians (see Scythia), Iranian nomads with some Altaic admixture. First met with north of the Caspian, and later (c. 1st century A.D.) spreading into the steppes of Russia, the Alans made incursions into both the Danubian and the Caucasian provinces of the Roman empire. By the Huns they were cut into two portions, of which the western joined the Germanic nations in their invasion of southern Europe, and, following the fortunes of the Vandals, disappeared in North Africa. Those of the eastern division, though dispersed about the steppes until late medieval times, were by fresh invading hordes forced into the Caucasus, where they remain as the Ossetes. At one time partially Christianized by Byzantine missionaries, they had almost relapsed into heathenism, but are now under Russian influence returning to Christianity.
(E. H. M.)