An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


The Alans were a Sarmatian people, whose name their own had displaced. The largest body of Alans surviving in this period were those settled in the Caucasus; they were at various times subject to the Avars, Bulgars, Khazars and Georgians.

This figure is based mainly on a 5th century source, but archaeological finds indicate that their dress and equipment changed little throughout this period. Dress still closely follows the Iranian-Scythian tradition, consisting of fur-trimmed cap, short jacket, trousers and short, soft boots. Jacket and trousers were brightly coloured, usually embroidered and often with small gold, silver or bronze plaques sewn on. He carries spear, bow, wicker shield and Khazar sabre. Hair was mainly blonde.

Heavy cavalry, many of whom would have ridden armoured horses, probably resembled the Asiatic types described above.

At the end of this period some Alans fought as infantry, armed with axes.

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