Alternative Spellings: Allan, Allen, Alen, Allyn, Alun, Ailín, Arlun
Another possible origin is "from the Tribe of Alans", a breakaway group of the better known Scythians - who fled to Europe, driven by the inexorable western movement of nomadic peoples from the fringes of Asia via the (now Russian) steppes. This would also explain the Kurdish occurrence of the name, where a large body of the Alan's eventually settled. There is also a (Kurdish) village named Alan in Şemdinli which is a district located in the Hakkari Province of southeastern Turkey, this village was also on the route of the Alans during their westward movement to Europe. The Alan's made many incursions into the Roman Empire from this area of settlement, before becoming defeated and subjugated by Rome, whereupon a significant body of their warriors were absorbed as hostage tribute. These highly respected Alan cavalry units were deliberately stationed far from their homeland, mainly in Breton and northern Britain as a "civilised" cavalry component of the Imperial army and are thought to have been used extensively in defense of Hadrian's wall in Britain. Some historians believe that the vestigial presence of this renowned Alan heavy cavalry during the decline of Roman power, their probable intermarriage with the local populace and their cultural association with the origin of the knightly code of chivalry, may have contributed significantly to much of the mystical and legendary traditions of mediaeval Europe and in particular that of the Arthurian legends of Britain and France.
The name Alan was particularly popular among American parents in the early- and mid-20th century, and is very widely used in Ireland and Britain. Allen is an English spelling of the name, Allan a Scottish English spelling, Ailean a Scottish Gaelic spelling and Ailín the Irish version. The Welsh spelling Alun is rarely used outside of Wales, and the name is occasionally seen spelled Alyn, Welsh pronunciation is different (pronounced Alin). The name is also used as a surname, usually spelled Allen or Ó hAilín in Irish. Related surnames include Alanson, Allanshaw, and Allenby.
Forms in other languages of Alan include Alain in French and Alano in Spanish.