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Hun, Alan, Avar, and other Steppe Nomad Movements
#1
Hi, Nadeem

I think there were actually two "sub"-tribes which started as the "Lesser Yue-chi" and "Greater Yue-chi." Fact is, all of these tribes were basically Sarmatians. By the 4th century, the "greater" had taken over Sogdiana-Margana and had crossed the Hindu-Kush down into the Indus Valley, but you already know that. Some people think these Kushans were the same bunch that lived earlier in the Tarim Basin, where they controlled east-west commerce and the jade trade. Supposedly, they (and the Wusun) spoke and wrote in Tokarian but chances are the rank-and-file spoke Eastern Iranian. I think these western Kushans were the people who were fought-off by the Wusun at the Illi Valey, thus moving further westward into the BMC. Perhaps this is what we see on the Orlat belt plaque. One thing's for sure. The Chinese had a habit of borrowing barbarian weapons and armor... just like the Romans did. I think we've gone off-subject from the original "Gothic" armor, but likewise we see Sarmatian armor worn by the Goths. It's all connected! ;-)
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#2
What about the Chionitae and the Kidaritae? Were they Sarmatians or Altaics in your opinion?

And what do you think of possible mentions of the Huns in the middle East? The Huns of Central Asia and the Caucasus are often called Massagetae by the Byzantines (although Masguts or Massagetae were Sarmatians). It is known the names of the Hunnic groups (Sabir, Saragur, Akatir, Ultinzur, Tongur, Bitugur, Iligur, Bazgur, Alpilcur, Vurugund/Burugund, Bardor, Kutrigur, Utigur, and Onogur) but still nobody makes mention of them from middle eastern sources.

I think it's because they weren't more than just nomads at the time, with not even the beginnings of political organization until the Alpilcurs begin pestering the Alans in the 350's or so. Something caused them to band together and move (Longovicium once linked an article suggesting a disasterous drought on another forum, I have to find that).
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#3
Quote:What about the Chionitae and the Kidaritae? Were they Sarmatians or Altaics in your opinion? And what do you think of possible mentions of the Huns in the middle East? The Huns of Central Asia and the Caucasus are often called Massagetae by the Byzantines (although Masguts or Massagetae were Sarmatians). It is known the names of the Hunnic groups (Sabir, Saragur, Akatir, Ultinzur, Tongur, Bitugur, Iligur, Bazgur, Alpilcur.....

Hi, Evan

I'm less knowledgeable of the Uralic, Altaic, and proto-Turkic tribes, and consider them as "late." As a laugh, I placed the Magyars at Aktobe in my 499AD novel (Demon's Door Bolt), which is a long way from Hungary but where they may have been several centuries earlier. Procopious and later Byzantines referred to the White Huns (Ephthalites) and maybe the Avars (Juan-Juan) as "Massagetae," just like they labeled the Goths as "Scythians." The Chinese called the Avars the "Ron-Ron," which I just spelled phonetically not correctly. (film viewing hints-- Zhau Wai stars in a new version of Mulan, not the Disney jobbie. Mulan fights the "Ron-Ron." Also, view Painted Skin II for a really great fantasy story.) Most of these tribes were post-Sarmatian, so I'm just not up on them. We can thank the Avars for stirrups and the Magyars for Czaba Grozer! :wink:

PS: get the BlueRay versions, They're crystal clear, especially Painted Skin II.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#4
Yes, the Romans called everything in the Pontic, Caspian, and Aral region a "Scythian" and later, after the Huns collapsed, they referred to the oncoming turks as "Huns."

Still, the Huns are a seeming mystery outside of their first appearance c.a. 250 (as suggested by Maenchen-Helfen) as the Vurugundi. After that we know the Alpilcurs were at the forefront of the events around 370 (it should be noted they were not united, obviously), but most Huns were still in the area of the Aral Sea and the Caspian sea from the period between 250 and 370. Do the Chinese/Persians/etc allude to any nomad confederations in the Caspain/Aral Sea region in this timeframe? I think the Yan-Cai (Alans) were mentioned around there in the 3rd century.
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#5
Evan,

I don't have any Persian source material, so I can't comment on many tribes that arrived in the western steppe after the original, socalled Black Huns (the Attila ones). The White Huns spoke a different language than the Attila Huns, but I don't think anyone knows what it was. Supposedly the White Hun (Ephthalite) hierarchy was primarily Caucasion in facial features, and I believe their armor and swords were much like those of the Avars. My forte is studying the Indo-European speaking steppe population-- the Saka, Massagetae, and Alans. Sorry for not being more helpful. Sick
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#6
Thanks anyways Alanus.
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#7
Hi Evan, Australian historian & author Hyun Jin Kim (South Korean born, New Zealand raised but now living in Australia) has written a book ‘The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe' discussing their Central Asian roots, tribes you have mentioned & the legacy they left in Europe. He puts his perspective on the Huns but his Cambridge book is pretty pricey as only hardcover & Kindle available at present but maybe your library might have a copy. Amazon link below & you can at least see Table of Contents, Bibliography & Index as well as the first couple of pages. Sorry we seem to have gone off topic as this has nothing to do with Goth or Eastern armour.

http://www.amazon.com/Huns-Rome-Birth-Eu...s=The+Huns

Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#8
I'll have to grab a copy of that. We know the Huns had a political system of "many kings" as mentioned by Ammianus and described by Priscus when he talks about the Akatziri (Akatir Huns).
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#9
You may find this website interesting / useful:
http://pro.geo.univie.ac.at/projects/khm...anguage=en

In my opinion the Alkhan and Hephthalites were Turkic. I'm less certain about the Kidarites but I also suspect Turkic. There is probably more info in "History of Civilisations of Central Asia," which can be downloaded from http://www.unesco.org/culture/asia/html_...vrages.htm
Nadeem Ahmad

Eran ud Turan - reconstructing the Iranian and Indian world between Alexander and Islam
https://www.facebook.com/eranudturan
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#10
I think there should be some caution when saying a tribe was Turkic or Indo-European regarding the Huns as it should be mentioned that a lot of these groups were basically confederations of different groups rather than one particular tribe but with one particular group maintaining their leadership. Their leadership might have been a particular tribe but it is just a fact of life with steppe & Central Asian politics that their leadership situation was very fluid by nature either through conquest or marriage & submission. Priscus mentions about meeting a Hun warrior who to his surprise spoke good Greek who was formerly a Greek trader enslaved by the Huns with the capture of Vimiacium on the Danube but through his bravery had won his freedom fighting for Attila in a possible revolt of the Akatiri against Attila on the death of Bleda & now was married to a Hun woman & fathered Hun children & was an honoured Hun warrior. I think a lot of later groups called themselves Huns to awe their neighbours. Although I don’t know if it is true but I have read where the Hephthalites were named after one of their early chiefs. Even going back to 1st & 2nd century Rome I have read where on Trajan’s column there is a picture of a Roxolani warrior who according to Professor Andreas Alfoldi seems to have Mongolian features. So basically these groups would have been a mixture of different races at least at the origins of these tribal groupings. Image of Roxolani warrior below, The image looks a bit damaged so I can't really tell but I thought I would post it anyway because even Alan king/chief Saul who fought under Stilicho was described as having Hunnic features.











Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#11
I think there should be some caution when discussing whether a tribe was Turkic or Indo-European regarding the Huns as it should be mentioned that a lot of these groups were basically confederations of different groups rather than one particular tribe but with one particular group maintaining their leadership. Their leadership might have been a particular tribe but it is just a fact of life with steppe & Central Asian politics that their leadership situation was very fluid by nature either through conquest or marriage & submission. Priscus mentions about meeting a Hun warrior who to his surprise spoke good Greek who was formerly a Greek trader enslaved by the Huns with the capture of Vimiacium on the Danube but through his bravery had won his freedom fighting for Attila in a possible revolt of the Akatiri against Attila on the death of Bleda & now was married to a Hun woman & fathered Hun children & was an honoured Hun warrior. I think a lot of later groups called themselves Huns to awe their neighbours. Although I don’t know if it is true but I have read where the Hephthalites were named after one of their early chiefs. Even going back to 1st & 2nd century Rome I have read where on Trajan’s column there is a picture of a Roxolani warrior who according to Professor Andreas Alfoldi seems to have Mongolian features. So basically these groups would have been a mixture of different races at least at the origins of these tribal groupings. Image of Roxolani warrior below, The image looks a bit damaged so I can't really tell but I thought I would post it anyway because even Alan king/chief Saul who fought under Stilicho was described as having Hunnic features.



Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
Reply
#12
I think there should be some caution when discussing whether a tribe was Turkic or Indo-Iranian regarding the Huns as it should be mentioned that a lot of these groups were basically confederations of different groups & peoples rather than one particular tribe but with one particular group maintaining leadership over the others. Their leaders might have come from a particular tribe or family but it was normal practice with steppe & Central Asian politics that their leadership situation was very fluid by nature either through conquest or marriage & submission. Priscus mentions about meeting a Hun warrior who to his surprise spoke good Greek who was formerly a Greek trader enslaved by the Huns with the capture of Vimiacium on the Danube but through his bravery had won his freedom fighting for Attila in a possible revolt of the Akatiri against Attila on the death of Bleda & now was married to a Hun woman & fathered Hun children & was an honoured Hun warrior. Maybe when Bleda died tha Akatiri sought to free themselves of Attila's rule & thought their loyalty was to Bleda which died with him. I think a lot of later groups called themselves Huns to awe their neighbours. Although I don’t know if it is true but I have read where the Hephthalites were named after one of their early chiefs. Even going back to 1st & 2nd century Rome I have read where on Trajan’s column there is a picture of a Roxolani warrior who according to Professor Andreas Alfoldi seems to have Mongolian features. So basically these groups would have been a mixture of different races at least at the origins of these tribal groupings. Image of Roxolani warrior below, The image looks a bit damaged so I can't really tell but I thought I would post it anyway because even Alan king/chief Saul who fought under Stilicho was described as having Hunnic features. So maybe even earlier groups like Roxolani and Iazyges were a mixture of tribes & peoples under the leadership of one family or tribe. But on the opposite side, the Bosporan kingdom leadership probably dressed and armed themselves as Sarmatians & through marriage had Sarmatian ancestors, probably lived like them for some of the year but would have thought of themselves as totally Greek & not Sarmatian. Once again apologies for drifting off topic.


[attachment=9016]Roxolanicloseup.jpg[/attachment]

Regards
Michael Kerr


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Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#13
Evan, Michael, Nadeem, and all,

The Roxolani-- first eastern tribe to arrive in the west-- would have had an Asiatic admixture. I don't like to use "Mongolian" or "Mongoloid," as both are either confusing (racewise-tribewise, and also smack of ethnicity). The Iazyges were not Sarmatians, but western Sauromatae, and probably lacked an eastern admixture. They used no long swords or contus. All of the other tribes-- the Wusun, Kushans, Sirices, Aorsi, Roxolani, Alans, Black Huns, White Huns, Avars, Ephthalites-- had this admixture. In the East, in the Pamirs, and also at Filipovka and Zubov, the female graves were as high as 30% Asiatic. A lord buried in the Altai, 400kBC, also had Asiatic features and they gave him a honorary fake beard... because he couldn't grow one. Some people believe that Sheng Fei, the Three Kingdoms warrior-general, had Caucasian features. So admixtures worked both ways. :wink:

As for dominant language, the leadership of many of the later tribes was always shifting. Its likely we had language shifts-- from Eastern Iranian to Turkic, and in some instances even Gothic. Earlier tribes such as the Saka, Masagetae, Wusun, and Yuechi, formed long-lasting confederations that continued and spread Indo-Iranian dialects. Language becomes static between cultural "frontiers," pastoral delineation zones with shifting borders. The recorded Xiong-nu-- inherently a different culture than the Wusun, Kushans, Aorsi, and Chinese-- did likewise in spreading proto-Turkic.

I don't know when Turkic-speaking tribes entered the West, but the earliest advance, at least partially, was probably the Black Huns. Yet even here we see Attila with a Gothic name and also speaking Gothic. :whistle:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#14
Maenchen Helfen shows how many Hunnic names and Hunnic Tribes were of Lir-Turkic origin. They were probably Altaics, if not Turks.
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#15
Quote:I don't know when Turkic-speaking tribes entered the West, but the earliest advance, at least partially, was probably the Black Huns. Yet even here we see Attila with a Gothic name and also speaking Gothic. :whistle:
Multilingual rulers weren't a rarity, especially of conglomerations, while Attila may have been what his Gothic subjects called him, then picked up by the Romans, not his actual name. AFAIK, Attila is a popular name in Hungary and Turkey.
aka T*O*N*G*A*R
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