Alans (also known as Alani). A nomadic, Iranian-speaking Sarmatian tribe that in the 1st century AD inhabited the lands north of the Black Sea between the Urals and the lower Dnieper River and raised livestock. In the 4th century the Alans joined their conquerors, the Huns, in their invasion of Europe. In the 7th century they came under the control of the Khazars. The Alans were the ancestors of the Ossetes living in Caucasia. In the ancient chronicles they were known as Yasi.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]