Sunday, May 29, 2011

List: Personal names

When I was researching names for my persona, Ursula George's page and her associated St. Gabriel Report 3315 were the biggest source (all but two from Zgusta's book). Almost all of the names I've read are listed there, but I've come across a few others and wanted to include them in a list here for anyone looking. I've put everything in alphabetical order based on our alphabet rather than the Greek. Read the original report (or Zgusta) if you want to know what the Greek letters were.

As is said in the report, last names often indicate relation to someone else (husband or father). Males simply use the genitive form of their father's name while females use words meaning "wife of" and "daughter of" in addition to the genitive form of their mother or husband's name.

It's also conceivable that if your persona spent a lot of time or was well known among another culture or tribe, they might be known locatively as "Sarmatian/of the Sarmatians" or "<insert tribe name>/of the <insert tribe name> (The former was indicated in the St. Gabriel's report, the latter is my own assertion. EDIT: I've found uses of "So-and-so of the Alans/of Alania in regards to Alanian women married to Georgian kings, so it's definitely an option for a persona in medieval Alania.). 

The third naming option available to much of the SCA is a descriptive last name (job, prominent physical attribute, etc...). I haven't found any precedent for this specifically among Sarmatians, but it's something to think about. EDIT: I've found a use of "the Great" as an epithet for a medieval Alanian king, so that is an option for a medieval Alanian persona (assuming it isn't considered presumptuous).

Most known Sarmatian names were transcribed into Greek (they didn't have a written language of their own), so their naming convention is used. This means they probably aren't exactly the same as what the Sarmatians themselves would have used, but it's what's available to us. Any not recorded in Greek (probably Latin) have an asterisk next to them. Make sure your naming convention for the last name follows the appropriate language or give it in the English form if you aren't sure.

If a name is from a source other than Zgusta, I'll give as much information about it as I can. If you want information on a name from that book (like when the person lived/died) and can't get a copy of it, contact me and I'll check it out from the library as soon as possible. I really wish I could find a copy for sale...

Along with the names themselves, I've listed genitive forms in order to help you with the last name. This list will be updated as I find genitive forms for all the endings. Anyone knowledgeable about Ancient Greek genitives?

Another thing I should note is the intermarriage of Georgians and Alanians in medieval Alania. I've included some names you can find as belonging to Alanians here- only those which cannot trace their male lineage to a source other than the Alans. I haven't included any which are blatantly biblical as opposed to ethnic Alanian (as in Mary of Alania and David Soslan). These seem to pop up when the paternal line is traced back to a male Georgian. I also did not include David's descendants, At'on and Jadaron  of the Osi, or his father, Demetrius, because of their patrilineal origin.  Although they lived among the Ossetians, but I don't know if their names are Ossetian. The names in this paragraph are a viable option for a persona of mixed heritage, the list below is intended for someone who wants to be sure their name is Sarmatian in origin.

Greek genitives
Name endings (original ending first, genitive form second)
-as: -a 
-is: -ios
-ôn: ônos
-os:  -ou

Of the Sarmatians
Male- Saurmatês
Female- Sauromatis

gunê: "wife of"; precedes husband's name
thugatêr: "daughter of"; precedes father's name

Personal names

*Ababa: Recorded by Jordanes. Possibly the Alanic mother of Maximinus Thrax (he was born 172 or 173). His Gothic heritage is disputed (Jordanes thinks the Goths and Getae are the same people and Maximinus was more likely from Thrace). I haven’t found anymore information regarding this name. I’m not sure Jordanes’ information would be considered reliable documentation for passing the name.
*Alda, Alde, Aldi: Recorded by John Skylitzes. Early 11th-century Alanian princess, wife of a Georgian king. Definitely alive from 1027-1033. Info in Alemany (2000) and Tourmanoff (1976).
Amagê: A Sarmatian Queen near the Black Sea in the 4th century BC. Recorded by Polyaenus. Info in Harmatta (1970). Sulimirski records a Queen Amage of the Roxolani in 165-140 BC. I need to get a copy of Harmatta to look into this temporal disparity because he was definitely talking about the same person.
*Borena: Alanian princess, wife of a Georgian king.  Definitely alive from 1030-1072. Info in Garland (2006).
*Burdukhan: Alanian mother of Tamar of Georgia. Late 10th century, definitely alive in 1160. Info in Eastmond (1998).

Tirgataô: Queen of the Ixomatae in the 4th century BC. Recorded by Polyaenus.

*Abeacus: In Sulimirski. King of the Siraces in the Kuban valley and steppe north of the northwest Caucasus in 66-63 BC.
Akasas, Akkas
Arttham[ma]nos, Arthiemmanos 
*Asander: From coins Husband of Dynamis. King of Bosporus from 37-17 BC.
Aspourgos, *Aspurgus: First spelling from Zgusta, second from coins. Second was King of Bosporus from 8 BC-38 AD.
*Attaces:  King of the Alans in Hispania. Successor of Respendial. Died in 426 AD (Alemany, 2000) or 418 AD (Bury, 1923).
Azos, Aziagos
Badagos, Badakês, Padagos
Bagês, Bagios
Chodiakios, Chozi[a]kos
Chophrasmos, Chophrazmos
Choroathos, Choroua[thos]
Dadagos, Dadakos
*Durgolel, Dorgolel: King of medieval Alania in the 11th century. Info in Garland (2006).
*Eochar: A king of the Alans in 446. May or may not be the same person as Goar. If he isn't a different person, "Eochar" may be an erroneous recording of "Gochar". Info in Alemany (2000).
*Eunones: From Sulimirski. King of the Aorsi in the Don-Volga region in 49 AD. Ally of the Romans and of Cotys, the new Bosporan ruler.
*Eupator: Bosporan king on coins from 155-166 AD.
Gadikios, Gadikeios
*Galatus:  In Sulimirski. King of the Roxolani in 179 BC

Gasteis, Gastein
*Goar, Gochar: A king of the Alans in Gaul. Born before 390 and died sometie between 446 and 450. Info in Alemany (2000).
Iazad[agos], Iezdagos, Iezdrados
*Ininthimeus: From coins. A king of Bosporus from 235-240 AD.
Kainaxarthos, Kênexarthos
Kamorsazês, Kamarsazês
Karaxstos, Karaxtos, Karastos
Karzoazos, Karzouazos
Kasagos, Kasakos
Katokas, Kattas, Katiôn
*Khuddan: Alanian king in the 10th century. Info in Eastmond (1998).
[K]ouridatês (-os)
Madakos, Madôis
Mastas, Mastous, Mastounos, Mastarous
Mazis, Mazous
Medosaccus: Husband of Amagê. King of Sarmatians near the Black Sea in the 4th century BC. Recorded by Polyaenus.
Mêthakos, Mêsakos
Nauakos, Nauagos
Ouachôza[k]os, Ochôdiakos, Ochôziakos
Ousigasos, Ousigos
Pateis, Patias
Phadinamos, Phazinamos
Phadious, Phazious
Pharnagos, Pharnakês, Pharnakiôn
*Pharsanzes: From coins. A king of Bosporus from 253-254 AD.
Pitopharnakês, Pitpharnakês, Phitopar[nakês?]
Pourthaios, Pourthais, Pourthakês
Radampsôn, Radanpsôn
Radamsadios, Radamps[adios]
*Respendial: A king of the Alans in Gaul. Birth and death dates unknown, but definitely alive between 406 and 409 AD. Had been succeeded by 426 AD (Alemany, 2000) or 418 AD (Bury, 1923).
*Rhadamsades: From coins. A king of Bosporus from 308-323 AD.
*Rhescuporis: From coins. Several kings of Bosporus bore this name from 68-342 AD.
*Sambida: A king of the Alans in Valentia in 440. Recorded in Chronica Galla of 452.
*Sangiban : Jordanes records this as the name of the king of the Alani at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (451 AD).
Sasas, Sasôn
Sauagaskos, Sauagas
*Sauromates: Name born by several members of the Sarmato-Thracian Bosporan dynasty, which ruled from about 33BC to the 4th century AD. Coins with busts of Sauromates I were minted sometime from 90-124 AD. Coins with Sauromates II were minted sometime from 174-211 AD.
*Spaldines: From Sulimirski. A king of the Aorsi in 64 BC. Raised an army of 200,000 horsemen to fight in the Bosporan Kingdom's civil war.
*Synges: From coins. A king of Bosporus from 258-276 AD.
*Tasius: In Sulimirski. King of the Roxolani in 110 BC.
*Teiranes: From coins. A king of Bosporus from 275-279 AD.
*Theothorses/Thothorses: From coins. A king of Bosporus from 275-279 AD. Coins minted sometime from 279-309 AD.
Tiranês, Teiranês, Tiranios
Toumbagos, Toumibagos 
Xartamos, Xarthanos
*Zosines: In Sulimirski. King of the Siraces in 49 AD. Supported Mithradates VIII against his half-brother Cotys. To save his kingdom, he later sought peace and became a tributary of Rome.
Agustí Alemany, 2000, Sources on the Alans: A Critical Compilation, Brill Academic Publishers
Bury, J.B. 1923, History of the Later Roman Empire. Macmillan & Co. Ltd.
Chronica Galla of 452
Eastmond, Antony (1998), Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia, Penn State Press.
Garland (ed., 2006), Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience, 800-1200. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Harmatta, J, 1970, Studies in the History and Language of the Sarmatians, Acta antique et archaeologica Tomus XIII.
Herodian, The History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Ascension of  Gordian III
Jordanes, The Origins and Deeds of the Goths.
Polyaenus, Stratagems of War. 
Sulimirski, T., 1970,  The Sarmatians, vol. 73 of Ancient Peoples and Places, Praeger Publishers, Inc.
Zgusta, L, 1955, Die Personennamen griechischer Städte der nördlichen Schwarzmeerküste: Die ethnischen Verhältnisse, namentlich das Verhältnis der Skythen und Sarmaten, im Lichte der Namenforschung (Československá akademie ved. Monografie orientálního ústavu 16 ). Praha : Nakladatelstvi československé Akademie Ved.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

List: Books and Articles

 *This post is being updated. Formatting and will be fixed and all my currently cited references added.*
 This is a list of books, articles, and the like which have information relevant to someone with a Sarmatian persona. 

  I use a color-coded system to indicate the reliability of the source. 

  • Blue means the source is good and information it contains is up-to-date.  
  • Yellow means the source, while useful, needs context. It may contain some inaccurate information, but be historically important. It could also be written in such a way that it could easily be misinterpreted by someone looking to recreate a Sarmatian persona.  
  • Red means the source is not to be trusted. It could be largely out-of-date, not widely accepted, or pure conjecture.  
  • White is reserved for those sources written before the modern age. Keep in mind that just because something is "written by the ancients" does not mean it's informed. Consider reading a scholarly discourse which gives it context as well.  
  • Purple means I haven't read it through yet and can't comment on it.


Alemany, A.,  2000, Sources on the Alans: A Critical Compilation, Brill Academic Publishers
Bachrach, B., 1973, A History of the Alans in the West: From their First Appearance in the Sources of Classical Antiquity Through the Early Middle Ages, University of Minnesota Press, pp. 161.
Brzezinski, R., and Mielczarek, M., 2002, Men-at-Arms: The Sarmatians 600BC-450AD, Osprey publishing.
Bury, J.B. 1923, History of the Later Roman Empire. Macmillan & Co. Ltd.

Colarusa, J., 2002, Nart Sagas From the Caucasus, Princeton University Press, pp. 552.

Davis-Kimball, J., and Behan, M., 2002, Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines, Warner Books, pp. 268. 

Kohler, K., Die Trachten der VölKer in Bild und Schnitt:

Harmatta, J, 1970, Studies in the History and Language of the Sarmatians, Acta antique et archaeologica Tomus XIII.
McEvedy, C., 2002, The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History, the Penguin Group, pp. 128.

From The Land of the Scythians: Ancient Treasures from the Museums of the U.S.S.R., 3000 B.C. - 100 B.C. (Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Volume XXXII, Number 5, 1975)
Sulimirski, T., 1970,  The Sarmatians, vol. 73 of Ancient Peoples and Places, Praeger Publishers, Inc.
Zgusta, L, Die Personennamen griechischer Städte der nördlichen Schwarzmeerküste: Die ethnischen Verhältnisse, namentlich das Verhältnis der Skythen und Sarmaten, im Lichte der Namenforschung (Československá akademie ved. Monografie orientálního ústavu 16 ). Praha : Nakladatelstvi československé Akademie Ved, 1955.

Ancient texts:
Chronica Galla of 452
Herodian, The History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Ascension of  Gordian III
Jordanes, The Origins and Deeds of the Goths.
Polyaenus, Stratagems of War.
Websites with artifact catalogues:

What's a Sarmatian and why did I choose to be one?

If you've heard of the Sarmatians, and haven't learned a lot about history beyond what a standard US world history book deems worthy of mention, it's probably because of the 2004 incarnation of King Arthur. They used the  idea that Sarmatians were the main origin of the King Arthur story to the point that the Knights of the Round Table (Sir Lancelot foremost among them) were portrayed as Sarmatian horsemen in the Roman army (a few Arthurian scholars accept this, most don't; more on this later).

 The most basic thing you should know about the Sarmatians is that "Sarmatian" is a collective term for some of the Indo-Iranian nomadic tribes of horsemen who inhabited the steppes of the southwest areas of the Soviet Union from about 600BC to 450 AD. They spoke a language in the Northeastern Iranian group, whose only representatives spoken today are Ossetic (directly descended from the Scytho-Sarmatian dialects) and Yaghnobi. Sarmatians raided neighboring areas for much of their history, making some tribes a thorn in the side of the Roman Empire. Other Sarmatian tribes joined the Roman legions. They used bows and lances, wore scale mail made of horses hooves or bronze, and lived in wagons. Over the centuries, they were largely driven westward by the Goths and the Huns until they eventually melded with other groups and disappeared as a distinct people.

 I spent the entire summer after my first fighter practice researching various cultures to find the one that felt right for me. At that point fighting was my main interest. I wanted to be authentic in that whatever culture I picked, I, not being male, would have fought had I actually belonged to it. I spent days sifting through every pre-16th century culture whose name I could come across until I found references to the idea that Sarmatians are as a possible source for the legends of the Amazons (more on that later, as well). Turns out some Sarmatian burial sites have female skeletons dressed like male warriors. It was perfect! I continued sifting through other cultures, but they ended up being the only ones with a prominent history of female warriors.

Abaev, VI, A Grammatical Sketch of Ossetian, trans. Stephen P. Hill, ed. Herbert H. Paper, 1964. 
Anthony, DW, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, Princeton University Press, 2007
Brezinski, R, and Mielczarek, M,  Men at Arms:The Sarmatians 600BC-450AD, Osprey Publishing, 2002.

Who am I? (Modern) and more about this blog

 I'm originally from North Carolina and moved to Iowa for grad school. This past year was the first one in the Ph.D. program there. I'm a vertebrate paleontology student. I'm currently working on SCA stuff and wedding planning in between writing up some of my research, so updates will be sparse.

So now that you know where I'm coming from, you can guess why, as I mentioned in my first post, I will be including references in my posts about Sarmatians. As a scientist, I reference any facts and supposition I state that were not my own discovery. It's an incredibly useful way to write and I get frustrated when I look things up on the internet and am expected to take things as true when I have no idea who wrote it, where they got their information, and how reliable they are. That's why I'm making this blog. I want others interested in this culture to be able to feel at least semi-confident that they can trust what they read here.

In science, there's a system of peer review. The system has its own flaws, but it also has the advantage that only occasionally do crackpot ideas get through to publication. Blogs aren't peer reviewed, so this is where you come in. If you come upon something related to Sarmatians which I haven't discussed, a book or article not on my book list,  have a different interpretation, or disagree with something I said, please discuss it in the comments or contact me in some other manner (especially if you actually study this subject as a career!).

My introduction to the SCA

The first time I encountered the SCA was in the now defunct Shire of Crannog Mor. I was a freshman at Appalachian State University and went to the club expo during orientation. Crannog Mor had a student group and were lucky enough to have the table right in front of the door to the room. I'd been reading fantasy books since I was little and loved the period of time they tend to be based on. I had no idea that people actually formed groups where they emulated it!

 So there they were, all dressed in garb and welcoming people as they came in and asking me if I was interested in the Middle Ages. I spent a good while talking to them and took the pamphlets they had giving an introduction to the Society.

 Their introductory meeting was held in the student union and I eagerly attended. Their seneschal (who would later be my roommate and maid of honor) came and started telling her friend about how the woman at the information desk, when asked where the SCA meeting was, replied, "Oh! Those medieval people!" She then proceeded to write in on the board in parentheses underneath the name of the group. They told us about the SCA, showed us pictures from events, and invited us to join them for pool in the game room after the meeting.

 As someone who was never very comfortable in social situations and didn't have many friends, this felt both welcoming and intimidating- welcoming because they were eager to have me, and intimidating because...well...they eager to have me. I wasn't really used to that. On top of that, the shire's actual business meetings were held off-campus. I had been very sheltered all my life and hardly left my house except with close family and to go to school. I was ready to get out and go to college, but leaving campus was a bit more than I could muster- especially given that I would be relying on complete strangers for rides to and from. Even when I joined the fencing club the next semester and found out two other members were in it, and never took them up on their offer of giving rides to the meetings.

 So because of that, I didn't have any other interactions with the SCA that year until the very end. Another new member lived in my dorm and did become active in it. Rodney went to fighter practice every week. It was headed by Karl Helweg from fencing, who was a viscount and so had a lot of how-to advice to give. Upon his urging, I went to the last fighter practice of the year at Karl's house and it was an incredible amount of fun. I'm strong for my size, but I'm also small, so Karl's heater shields did not agree with me. I was able to keep it held high (mostly), but ended up just holding it still and blocking with the broadsword. Karl seemed really impressed that I'd be doing that my first time fighting, so that was really encouraging. I left Boone eagerly awaiting the Fall semester when I could do it again.

I spent the entire sophomore year going to fighter practice and got to where I felt like I was almost ready to authorize. The only event I was able to go to was at the beginning of the year, though, so I didn't. Practice was a lot of fun, but I got the impression that the business meetings were less so and never did go to one. We did some armory as well. Karl and Rodney, and I made me a breastplate and started on pauldrons.

 I was still doing sport fencing and found a teacher back home over the summer, Burt. Turned out he was also in the SCA (seriously, they were everywhere!) and did classical fencing. He taught me the parries and had me doing drills all summer. We also fought a couple times, and at one point he brought live steel and had me play around with slicing water-filled soda bottles in two.

 The following year, I attended fighter practice less often given that I was starting to be busy with classes and met Bob, who is now my fiancé, at the start. I didn't get to go a single time my senior year. Karl moved to the Principality of Oertha (Alaska) partway through. Rodney kept up fighter practice, but I was just too busy to go.

 The next year, I moved to Iowa City for grad school. I wanted to get back into the SCA and contacted the local group, the Shire of Shadowdale, where I currently reside. Lady Aemilia Sabine picked me up from the airport and let me spend the night at her and Sir Dirk MacMartin's house when my landlord's office was not open like they told me it would be.

This was the point where I became an active member instead of just an active fighter. I spent the next three years going to meetings when I could and attended events there and in the neighboring Shire of Deodar. This past year was my fourth, and at our St. Columba's Day event, I spent time at the herald's consultation table talking to them and discussing the design for my device. That was when I caught what one might call an "SCA fever". They were really impressed by my sketch and encouraged me to learn how to do book heraldry so I could draw for other people. I spent the next few weeks going through lessons on Master Modar's site and others. I drew a design (which I'm quite proud of) for one of Master Einarr's clients (it won't be used, she's since decided on a different design) and on Mistress Dorcas' advice, made heraldry flashcards to teach myself animal attitudes. By that point I was hooked. Turns out there were heraldry commentary meetings locally, held by Master Gawain, which I've been attending since.

My fiancé had been finishing school at App State this entire time, so I've been going back to Boone over breaks. This is our last summer here since he just graduated, and right before I left Iowa City His Majesty Anton Cwith gave me the honor of an Award of Arms for my efforts in recruiting, heraldry, and illumination at the pre-print tables. I wasn't expecting that and I'm incredibly grateful. It was made even better by the fact that my friend, Verena Näherin, was given hers at the same time. What a fantastic way to end the school year. :)

What is this blog?

Hello everyone!

I'm Lady Aritê gunê Akasa. I'm a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) residing in the Shire of Shadowdale in the Kingdom of Calontir. I've chosen a little-known culture for my persona- Sarmatian- and have decided to be rather serious about it. There's precious little information out there directly useful for someone who wants to recreate a Sarmatian persona without having prior experience combing academic literature or knowing some key words that filter out the junk and repeats on Google searches. There are, however, plenty of journal articles which haven't been transcribed into a medium more likely to be read by the general public.

And thus, the reason for this blog. Here, I will write down and discuss everything I learn about the Sarmatians from reading books and articles and perusing the more reputable-looking sites on the web. Unlike a lot of the sites I've found, I will be giving references whenever possible so you don't have to just take my word for it that I know what I'm talking about (and so you can go read the originals yourself, if you so desire).

 That being said, I'm not going to limit myself to only Sarmatian-related posts. It's the primary purpose  of this blog, but the secondary purpose is to discuss my overall experience in the SCA.

 So if you're interested in the Sarmatians (or even other steppe nomads), I'm making this blog for you. Given that this is the hobby of a busy grad student, I won't have an update schedule and posting will be sporadic (typically a couple times a month). I highly encourage you to subscribe to the feed,  e-mail updates, or Google Friend Connect so you don't need to check for them (or forget about this blog!). And if you know anyone who might be interested, please spread the word. If you're also a SCAdian with a Sarmatian persona, please let me know you exist! I'd love to discuss our findings with each other. :)