Talk:Alan (given name)

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Alans (Tribe of Sarmatians)[edit]

I note that the this page says that the name Al(l)an comes to England/Scotland from Brittany. The article on the Alans (tribe of Sarmatians) notes that the northern branch of the tribe ends up in Brittany (ancient Armorica). Is it not likely that the two names are related ? -- Geoff Allan, Somerset, UK, March 31, 2006.

I agree! I study history and a welsh Professor of mine told us this theory too, it should definetely be added. -- D. Reiner, Darmstadt, Germany, March 4th 2007 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).
Without some more evidence this is mere speculation. It's pretty easy to find some kind of word of the form vowel+L+vowel+N in any language. In any case, "Alan" is what the Romans called them: what they called themselves might have sounded rather different. --Saforrest 05:25, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Saforrest: No, it is not mere speculation, but real mainstream history. The most profound scientific discussion about this came out in shape of a world-hit book by excellent authors Scott Littleton and Linda Malcor "From Scythia to Camelot" (Garland Publishing Inc., New York, 2000) showing the great cultural and lingual history influence of many thousand Alan warriors akin to Sarmatians/Yazighs akin to Scythians, settled (from Pannonia i.e. today Hungary) to Hadrian Wall in Britain in Roman times (and later also to Armorica/Brittany i.e. France) in the 2nd - 6th centuries respectively in connection with thereafter during 11th - 12th centuries upcoming/originating Arthurian and similar (Lancelot, Perceval, Tristan, etc.) legends, through many Alans gained respectable positions, noblesse, etc., and giving the name Alan, Alain, etc. to peoples living there. Therefore, as the authors show, this name, as also the related myths and legends, was never "celtic", "normann", "bretonic", etc., by origin, but adapted from the Alans later by them and so it is derived from those evidently. This should appear adequately emphasized in this article. - privateer/Eu — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
"From Scythia to Camelot" is a truly awful book - I have had a copy for many years now and tracked down many of the sources that Littleton and Malcor cite (I have also debated the authors numerous times in personal communications and in online forums). It is riddled with factual errors (and many typos!), the authors regularly misquote or totally misunderstand their sources, they make extensive use of fringe theories that are way out of the mainstream, and engage in the most egregious use of strawman arguments. The worst part of the book is the manner in which the authors start off proposing that certain scenarios are possible and then, later in the book, stack entire hypotheses upon these mere possibilities as if they are verified facts, which they most certainly are not! Do no believe anything that is written in this book without independently researching the facts for yourself. Anyway, there is no evidence that the Alans were in Brittany proper; Armorica by the end of the Roman empire encompassed a much, much larger region of Gaul than mere Brittany, and the Alans that were settled in this area were actually in the region around Orleans. Cagwinn (talk) 00:14, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Cagwinn: Sorry, I refuse the content your comment simply as not true. First, Littleton and Malcor are by far not the sole authors knowing about "transfering" thousands of Yazigh, Sarmatian i.e. Alanian warriors by Romans to British Albion and Frankish Gaul, mentioned by several contemporary historiographers. Second, their use of the references (You stamp them mistake or lie?) within comparative arguing how the allegedly "Celtic" stories of Arthur-Lancelot-Holy Grail-etc., were developed much later in the 11th to 13th - "catholic" - centuries from that real history, thus quite logic and clear. Respectively L&M authors have inserted also hundreds, if not thousands of such references into their works . You do not mention only single one against. Third, I did not stated the whole Gaul and big part of Britain were not under Roman rule at that time, however Alanians settled sure not only around Orleans, but numerous in Armorica=Brittany and in Britain too.

On the other hand also further related works like books, wiki-articles, etc. on this complex of topics support the "non-hypothesis" of L&M. OK, I now there is a hard resistance on side of the "Celtic" fans and historians hand-in-hand with clericals not to correct the later literature tales into true history, 'cause they are so beautiful, indeed... Finally I wish to note that many Eastern and East-European peoples could have enough from "false" tales of such "Indogermanic" style of historiography in our 3rd Millenium just because they are overwhelming in figures and wish to show up a "glorious" early history in many periods, especially ancient and medieval, e.g. was Marco Polo in China ever?, America's "discovery" by Columbus?, was there any Shakespeare?, and so on... whose stories we can really respect, but perhaps not for that, made by other ones. - privateer/Eu — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

You are free to believe whatever you like - I am simply speaking as someone who has spent many years researching this subject and who has had many occasions to interact with the authors of that book; it is my opinion that it is absolutely worthless and the authors are quite misinformed. Cagwinn (talk) 14:11, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
OK, I give up since it has no sense to discuss without mentioning any serious argument/source against the content of the book of L&M by Saforrest or by You. Have a nice day. - privateer/Eu
Well, I am quite happy to discuss specific points of L&M's hypotheses at any time. Cagwinn (talk) 15:12, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
The cardinal starting point in this complex is the coming of Iranian peoples to Western Europe. L&M and others show up more evidence for Yazighs in 2nd century in Britain and Alans in Armorica from 5th century based on contemporary sources (and according to much other sources today as well). The Lancelot-Arthurian tales are written 1000, 700 i.e. thousand, seven hundred (!) years later respectively, from about 11th-12th century on. What is wrong on a plausible cute hypothesis bringing correct historical clearness into and against misty-foggy literature of medieval monks? Although the latter is really beautiful literature, it should remain that, and not become/replace history - I mean. The story is similar to Karolingian Charlemagne "Father of European Union"(?), though he leave also no traces to the world after ("flowering cities and economics"?, etc.), but some hundred years later denoted inventional tales (by later Otto)... - privateer/Eu — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
A root word *alan-/*elan-, likely meaning "deer (stag/doe/fawn)" (cf. Old Welsh alan "deer") is attested in Celtic languages prior to the arrival of the Alans (c.f. the Celtiberian place name Alaniobriga/Elaniobriga "Hill of the Deer" [AE 1974, 408] and the personal names Elanus/Elanius/Elanioca, Elanica et. al; all Celtiberian; CIL 2, 5819; CIL 2, 5715; ERLara 146; AE 1981, 544) and Alanis (likely Gaulish - though maybe Germanic; CIL 13, 7878). Additionally, the Alanic ethnic name Alān- (Latinized as Alānus) had a long -ā- in the second syllable (in both its original Alanic form and in the borrowed Latin form); if this name was borrowed by Brittonic speakers by the 6th century AD, it would have produced and Old Breton *Alon, which would have then given us Middle Breton *Aleun and Modern Breton *Alen. So, it is quite unlikely that the Breton personal name Alan is borrowed from the Alanic (or Latinized Alanic) Alān-/Alānus. L&M's "evidence" for Alans in Brittany proper is shaky at best; as I have mentioned above, in late imperial times, Armorica - or rather, the tractus Armoricanus - historically encompassed a much larger region of Gaul than Brittany and, if we follow our historical (and pseudo-historical!) sources carefully, we do not find any clear examples of Alans being present in Brittany (they are, hoever, mentioned as being settled around Orleans, which was a part of the tractus Armoricanus). Cagwinn (talk) 00:44, 9 September

2012 (UTC)

This is a merely/mainly linguistic argumentation, may be true, but not regarding more historical/mythological/archeological sources. You also forgot to date the use of "celtic" "root word *alan-/*elan-, likely meaning deer..." as earliest proven, which could make possible to compare the time of arriving Yazighs and Alans in the territory and of that word. The last is especially interesting when one consider the huge extensive and widespread symbolism of "deer" (golden hind) in Scythian-Sarmatian (thus Alanic too) and up to Hunnic-Magyar (=Hungarian) cultures (it is in fact the most important "Main Symbol" in these mythologies, jewelry, etc.!). Conclusion: the "domestic" Celtics could name the deer "alan" since and because of the deer-cult of newcomer Alans :-), at least heard so from Romans, since the own name of Alans was by all means "Ass" (say "Oss-ets" today). It seems Celtic like German etc. scholars boil in their own soup regardless of other facts outside... As Croatian soldiers have shown a new style tie on their clothes (in napoleonic times?), on question of Austro-Hungarians "what is this" they understood "who are you?" and answered "Chrvati" (=Croatians) and the German word "kravatte" was born... Linguists could also make an "elephant" from "bicycle" :-) - privateer/Eu
OK, I can see now you are one of these "anti-science" people, so I doubt I will be able to convince you of anything by using scientific arguments (and historical linguistics is most certainly a science!). On the off chance that you will listen to reason, I will remind you that this "deer" root word is attested in Celtic languages prior to the arrival of Alans or Sarmatians in Western Europe. Furthermore, the root of Celtic *alan-/*elan- "deer" is widespread in Indo-European languages (it occurs in Germanic, Greek, Baltic, Slavic, et al.) and goes back to a common Proto-Indo-European inheritance; there is no reason to propose any Scythian influence on the Celts for the presence of this word in Celtic languages. Cagwinn (talk) 14:54, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm NO "anti-science" man, on the contrary a scientist, but in the field of so called exact i.e. natural sciences, what is not too much, better much less to say about history. Belonging historical items, You can call me sure "only" amateur... However, yes, I take all historic sentence critically and/or sceptically considering so many mistakes and falsifications in it (e.g. 2/3 of medieval documents), cannot be denied. Now, as You finally mention it I could accept e.g. that Celtic alan=deer was prior to Alans :-): 1. Which documents prove "Proto-Indo-European inheritance" of this name or word from those early times? (Besides "Indo-Europeans" are pure linguistic hypothesis, nobody knows how it was happen and if at all...) 2. Why do You think about no contact between both ancient Celts and Scythians in same times and same areals of this little Europe? (All PIE had contact with another in prehistoric, but Celts and Scythians in historic times not?!) 3. How is it proven, that the name Alan occured already then/prior in Slavic, Baltic, etc. since it is yet today extremely rare in these languages? By all means I'm sure, the intelligence, mobility, etc. of all our predecessors was significant higher, and contact much more intensive/complex between them, as usually handled in historical works (in most cases those must be corrected always upward due to new discoveries, see Crete, Troy, etc.). - privateer/Eu — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:33, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the French already seem to have it worked out. Apparently, the scribes who kept records weren't doing a good enough job, but the Bretons were and are pious as always, so they chose a Gascon version of Aelianus over their own Allorus, due to the "official" version of a popularly (i.e. non-Papal) canonized saint of their own people. Allorus might be "Allo-rix" or something Celtic like that, but I don't know what the prefix "Allo-" means, just that "-rix" means rex, regis, royal, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


Where is Alan mentioned in the Bible? Proverbs 16:20 ... I don't think so. In what way is it "linked" to this biblical passage? --, 7 April 2006.

The passage reads "He who give heed to the word will prosper, and happy is he who trust in the lord." If (talk) has evidence, they can restore it with citation. Hu 00:50, 5 October 2006 (UTC)


"possibly means either "little rock" or "handsome" in Breton (Brittany), and "harmony" in some Celtic languages."

Should probably say "and 'harmony' in some other Celtic languages." since Breton is a Celtic language... --Thegooseking (talk) 15:15, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Barbarian tribal myth[edit]

There have been many Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants to America from old Imperial Russia and the Soviet states that have the name Alan (Woody Allen or Allen Ginsberg), but they also have names like Harvey (Harvey Milk), Edward (Edward G. Robinson), Barry (Barry Goldwater), Howard (Howard Stern), Bernard (Bernard Goldberg), Ashley (Ashley Montague) (etc.) like all other old popular Gentile names (many of which are no longer popular among Gentiles), which was a tactic of assimilation to English speaking society, not an indicator of ethnicity from the homeland. The postulation that a Caucasian tribe which accompanied the Vandals to Iberia and possibly Africa, is a conveniently self-serving logical fallacy which tries to reconcile East European, often Jewish bearers of the surname, with a genetic heritage in the West which didn't exist. Brittany's only Age of Migrations tribes other than a Celtic type, were Saxons (Saxon Shore) and Franks (Marches of Neustria). There is a possible influence of the Visigoths (Visigothic Kingdom) from Aquitaine, but this would have been later, after conditions had settled and people who then knew themselves as French, would intermarry with those of other regions. The Visigoths in Spain would have intermarried with the Vandals there, which might include this Caucasian tribe, but not on the level of a migration-settlement in France, as the Visigoths, Vandals and compatriots mostly passed through Occitan or Provence along the Riviera, on their way to Iberia and Africa, not the l'Oil region of northern France and the English Channel, which has a separate cultural history. Because there was no permanent settlement in France of the Vandals and their friends, but a point-by-point wagon train kind of movement, marching through, there is no reason to assume they had any legacy in Gaul otherwise. Only the Visigoths, if at all, contributed something, of those whose ultimate destination (as with the Suevi) was Spain. Their longest lasting addition to France, was the Marca Hispanica, as everywhere else in France, the Franks ruled, with less a firm hand in Burgundy, although the Burgundians were to eventually lose ethnic identity in the high middle ages.

In addition, the Bretons were fiercely proud of their classical Roman and Celtic heritage. They resisted all attempts at assimilating into foreign, i.e. barbarian culture. Names of the Celts were almost always either Celtic, Greco-Roman (especially saints' names) or Biblical...until the high middle ages when Frankish names (such as Roland and Raoul) were adopted, mostly around the marches, such as at Rennes, Nantes, Vannes, Redon and Vitré. In England, Bretons adopted Anglo-Saxon names, but in both France and England, or any other place their Norman neighbours invited them to share in their spoils (Sicily and the Levant were also Norman), the Bretons more often than not, introduced their own names to new locations. Another thing too, is that Alan was adopted by the Bretons through a church source. A bishop of Quimper shared a similar name to a bishop of Lavaur, but the Vandals and their ilk were never Catholic. It is extremely unlikely a bishop would be named for a barbarian and that the Bretons would furthermore adopt such a name. True, members of the Latin church have held pagan Greek and Roman names and even were to adopt Germanic names after the time of Clovis, Charlemagne's ancestor St. Arnulf of Metz a notable fellow in this regard. These were all Catholics and it is not even clear that the "Alans" were Christian, but if any of them were, they'd be Arian "heretics"--hardly the choice for a Roman Catholic saint name so popular among the Bretons. The Bretons, their Welsh and Cornish cousins were notorious "separatists", in that they refused to have discourse with their Germanic conquerors. Even 700 years after the Saxons took over Roman Britain, they made a point of naming their Dukes after King Arthur in defiance of any barbarian foreigner. The "Alans" may have been an element in Spain and North Africa, but would have been even more distant than the Saxons and Franks were to the Bretons. Apparently, the only true bearers of the name "Alan" as it descends from the tribe, are Spanish hounds. These are obviously not people and Alan is not even a Spanish name. Back to the Bretons is a far cry from reality that the Sarmatian myth of King Arthur would have proof in a contrived theory of them being the source of this name in Brittany. As far as post-modern fantasies go, this one really reaches through convolution, grasping for straws. Armorica and Brittany as well as Great Britain, have had significant relations with Germania, but Scythia? Now that's just foolish. It's more Aryan race osmosis gibberish. People have tried to tie "Alans" with "Aryans". How many more lies are being manufactured and peddled by the self deluded to the self deluded, when Occam's Razor is already available?

Besides the given facts of an original Breton form of Alan, it cannot be denied that the name Alan was also introduced, at least for the ruling class, by the nobility accompanying William_I_of_England during the Norman invasion.

Alandeus (talk) 06:53, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Those were Bretons, not Normans, but they fought on the same side and were loyal to William, receiving estates in England as a consequence. There is no connection between Brittany and Ossetia, whatsoever and there is no way to prove such a speculation. Catterick (talk) 12:19, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Catterick, didn't you check the reference Alans#Migration to Gaul? That is where the connection can be found. I don't think this is speculation. As for the name used in Ossetia, check out for example: [1] and [2]. The entries concerning the Alans/Ossetia and northern France therefore ought to be reinstated. Alandeus (talk) 13:18, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Have you never read false cognate? You've also obviously not got anything to dismiss the immense refutation of your claims written above. Madog 13:37, 20 July 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Catterick (talkcontribs)
The case of false cognates is interesting. Precisely for this reason, the various roots of the name Alan ought to be included. Are only the ancient roots from the British islands to be presented? Ought not the presented, traceable import via the Normans, Armorica, and the Caucasus region be mentioned as well? Today's use of the name is likely to be a blend of both sources. And why should only English languages be listed where this name is used? Alandeus (talk) 08:53, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

seeing you are discussing "false cognates" and possible etymologies for the name, has it occurred to either of you to try and find a reference? The article as it stands is worthless, as it doesn't present a trace of a source for any of the claims it makes. --dab (𒁳) 14:00, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Kurdish origins[edit]

the name Alan also has kurdish origins, some information on this can be found here: [1] -- (talk) 02:35, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

That's a wiki, and thus not a reliable source. This link [2] is used within the article at the moment, but I don't this qualifies either. For Alan it just says: "Alan is an Iranian-Kurdish Masculine name"[3]. Surely there must be a better reference that that.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 10:50, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Celtic etymology - "harmony"[edit]

This link [4], which cites Random House Dictionary, states that Alan is derived from a Celtic word meaning "harmony". I hate how this statement is so vague, and it doesn't give the actual Celtic word. Maybe someone can dig up more on it? I wonder if this etymology is really the same as one Harrison gave - from the Irish álainn (SG àlainn). In modern dictionaries, this Gaelic word translates into English as "beautiful" (and "nice", "lovely", "scenic" [5]), but Harrison actually gives the following as the meaning: "bright", "fair", "handsome". Maybe the Random House Dictionary also refers to the same Gaelic word, and they just decided to describe álainn in a different way. I'm not sure, but seeing how "beautiful", "nice", "lovely", and "scenic" can drift into "bright" and "fair" makes me wonder if "harmony" is just another way of explaining the same Gaelic word.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 11:14, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

List of people with the name[edit]

I'd like to propose that the section List of people with the name should be removed. It's pointless as it will never be complete and will soon get very dull if it expands too much. There are over 3000 pages on Wikipedia with 'Alan' in the title alone. Obscurasky (talk) 14:04, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree (but not because I wouldn't be included anyway.) Alandeus (talk) 09:19, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Agree.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 10:48, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

List removed today as there was no champion stepping forward for keeping it during the past week. Other names generally do not have such lists either. Interesting though are lists with songs that include the name. Anyone know any "Alan" songs? (Mayby I ought to write one to get started..., just kidding) Alandeus (talk) 09:15, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for that Obscurasky (talk) 16:25, 27 December 2010 (UTC)