A History of the Alans in the West was first published in 1973. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The Alans, a nomadic people from the steppe lands of south Russia, were among the many invaders of the Roman empire who helped to bring about its fall. Unlike the majority of the invaders, they were not Germans — they were Indo-Iranians—and they were not, like most barbarians, organized in agricultural communities. This history traces their westward movement from the time of their first mention in sources of classical antiquity through the early Middle Ages.
Professor Bachrach discusses the social and religious institutions of the Alans and especially their military customs. As he shows, they contributed much to the military repertoire of the West, especially the feigned retreat tactic and the role of the cavalry as the primary part of the army. In their westward movement the Alans were assimilated by people in Gaul and Italy and served the empire in a military capacity during the fourth and fifth centuries. IN addition to their military and political impact in several areas, the Alans also influenced early medieval artistic styles, literary developments, place names, and personal names.
A number of illustrations provide examples of the artistic influence of the Alans, and there are maps pertinent to the history.