Your entry on 'Alan
' says that the name came to England with Bretons who followed William
of Normandy, but is uncertain about what the name means in Breton. I think it's possible that the name is not originally Breton, but is a reference to the Sarmatian (Iranian) tribe known as the Alans, who lived for a time in Gaul, based in Orleans. Most of them moved south, to Spain and into Africa
, but surely some stayed behind. I can easily imagine an Alan
from Orleans and the locals, finding his Sarmatian name unpronounceable, calling him 'Alan
'. I've found references in a few online works that say flat out that the Sarmatian Alans are the source of the name 'Alan
' in Western Europe. The Alans were nomads who rode horses and introduced the idea of hunting on horseback assisted by pack of dogs to Europe. There's a breed of dogs in France
and Spain that's still known as the Alano breed today.
Is there any evidence one way or the other on this idea?