Pictures: Scythian necklace and crowns.
This may come as a surprise to most readers, the origins of some European peoples come from very ancient tribes and nations in Asia, notably Central Asia, particularly the region surrounding the northern reaches of the Caspian Sea. Here is a case of the Alans, who dwelt in this vast region, and along with the Visigoths, a Germanic tribe of Central Europe, invaded the Roman Empire in the later part of it's decline and fall. In the early Middle Ages, descendants of these Alans settled in Gaul, and still later in the Hispanic peninsula that presently form the countries of Spain and Portugal.
Quote: "A number of groups have claimed possible descent from the Scythians, including the Ossetians, Pashtuns, the Turkic Kazakhs and Yakuts (whose endoethnonym is "Sakha"), and Parthians (whose homelands laid to the east of the Caspian Sea and thought to have come there from north of the Caspian). Some legends of the Picts; the Gaels; the Hungarians;Serbs and Croats (among others) also include mention of Scythian origins. In the second paragraph of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath the élite of Scotland claim Scythia as a former homeland of the Scots. Some writers claim that Scythians figured in the formation of the empire of the Medes and likewise of Caucasian Albania.
The Carolingian kings of the Franks traced Merovingian ancestry to the Germanic tribe of the Sicambri. Gregory of Tours documents in his History of the Franks that when Clovis was baptised, he was referred to as a Sicamber with the words "Mitis depone colla, Sicamber, adora quod incendisti, incendi quod adorasti."'. The Chronicle of Fredegar in turn reveals that the Franks believed the Sicambri to be a tribe of Scythian or Cimmerian descent, who had changed their name to Franks in honour of their chieftain Franco in 11 BC. The Scythians also feature in some post-Medieval national origin-legends of the Celts.
Based on such accounts of Scythian founders of certain Germanic as well as Celtic tribes, British historiography in the British Empire period such as Sharon Turner in his History of the Anglo-Saxons, made them the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons.(Utilizing his access to rare materials, he (Sharon Turner) was the first serious scholar to examine the migrations of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. The results of his researches were published in his History of the Anglo-Saxons (1799-1805), appearing in several subsequent editions. Thereafter he continued the narrative in History of England (1814-29), concluding with the end of the reign of Elizabeth I. Against the emergence of the French Consulate, he promoted the notion of Anglo-Saxon liberty as opposed to Norman tyranny (strong since the 17th century).
These histories, especially the former, though somewhat marred by an attempt to emulate the grandiose style of Gibbon, were works of real research opening up and to a considerable extent developing a new field of inquiry in the area of Anglo-Saxon history. For example, Herodotus reported the Persians called the Scythians “Sakai,” and Sharon Turner identified these very people as the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons. In carefully determining their origins in the Caucusus, Turner wrote: “The migrating Scythians crossed the Araxes, passed out of Asia, and suddenly appeared in Europe in the sixth century B.C… The names Saxon, Scythian and Goth are used interchangeably.” The idea was taken up in the British Israelism of John Wilson, who adopted and promoted the "idea that the "European 'race', in particular the Anglo-Saxons, were descended from certain Scythian tribes, and these Scythian tribes (as many had previously stated from the Middle Ages onward) were in turn descended from the ten Lost Tribes of Israel." Tudor Parfitt, author of The Lost Tribes of Israel, points out that the proof cited by adherents of British Israelism is "of a feeble composition even by the low standards of the genre."
The fifteenth-century Polish chronicler Jan Długosz was the first to link the prehistory of Poland with the Sarmatians, and the connection was reaffirmed by other historians and chroniclers, such as Marcin Bielski, Marcin Kromer and Maciej Miechowita. Other Europeans depended for their view of Polish Sarmatism on Miechowita's Tractatus de Duabus Sarmatiis, a work which provided Western European readers with a substantial source of information about the territories and peoples of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in a language of international currency. The name came from alleged ancestors of the szlachta, the Sarmatians, in reality a confederacy of mostly Iranian tribes north of the Black Sea, described by Herodotus in the fifth century BC as descendants of Scythians andAmazons, and displaced by the Goths in the second century AD. After many permutations, this produced the legend that Poles were the descendants of the ancient Sauromates, a warlike tribe originating in Asia who later resettled in northeastern Europe. Tradition specified that the Sarmatians themselves were descended from Japheth, son of Noah.
In his 1970 publication The Sarmatians (in the series Ancient peoples and places) Tadeusz Sulimirski (1898–1983), a Polish-British historian, archaeologist, and researcher on the ancient Sarmatian tribes, listed a number of ethnological traits that szlachta shared with Sarmatians, including traditions, weaponry and military practices, tamgas, and relict burial costumes, giving more information on how the legend may have originated.
Following the fortunes of the Vandals and Suevi into the Iberian peninsula (Hispania, comprising modern Portugal and Spain) in 409, the Alans led by Respendial settled in the provinces of Lusitania and Carthaginiensis: "Alani Lusitaniam et Carthaginiensem provincias, et Wandali cognomine Silingi Baeticam sortiuntur" (Hydatius). The Siling Vandals settled in Baetica, the Suevi in coastal Gallaecia, and the Asding Vandals in the rest of Gallaecia.
In 418 (or 426 according to some authors, cf. e.g. Castritius, 2007), the Alan king, Attaces, was killed in battle against the Visigoths, and this branch of the Alans subsequently appealed to the Asding Vandal king Gunderic to accept the Alan crown. The separate ethnic identity of Respendial's Alans dissolved. Although some of these Alans are thought to have remained in Iberia, most went to North Africa with the Vandals in 429. Later Vandal kings in North Africa styled themselves Rex Wandalorum et Alanorum ("King of the Vandals and Alans").
There are some vestiges of the Alans in Portugal, namely in Alenquer (whose name may be Germanic for the Temple of the Alans, from "Alen Ker", and whose castle may have been established by them; the Alaunt is still represented in that city's coat of arms), in the construction of the castles of Torres Vedras and Almourol, and in the city walls of Lisbon, where vestigies of their presence may be found under the foundations of the Church of Santa Luzia.
In the Iberian peninsula the Alans settled in Lusitania (cf. Alentejo) and the Cartaginense provinces. They became known in retrospect for their massive hunting and fighting dog ofMolosser type, the Alaunt, which they apparently introduced to Europe. The breed is extinct, but its name is carried by a giant breed of dog still called Alano that survives in the Basque Country. The dogs are traditionally used in boar hunting and cattle herding.
At the time of Attila the Hun a portion of Alans living in the "Sarmatia of the Cimmerian Bosporus" moved northwest into the land of Venedes (according to M.A. Sabellico, J.A. de Thouand some others historians), possibly merging with Western Balts there to become the precursors of historic Slav nations.