Outside the band of Miocene beds the Sarmatian, Pontian and Levantine series, often concealed by Quaternary deposits, cover the great part of the Danube plain.
On the south the corresponding zone is affected by numerous secondary folds which involve the Sarmatian or Upper Miocene deposits.
From this we may infer that they spoke a language cognate with the Scythic. The greater part of the barbarian names occurring in the inscriptions of Olbia, Tanais and Panticapaeum are supposed to be Sarmatian, and as they have been well explained from the Iranian language now spoken by the Ossetes of the Caucasus, these are supposed to be the representatives of the Sarmatae and can be shown to have a direct connexion with the Alani, one of their tribes.
The battle, which was fought on confined ground in a valley, was decided by a cavalry charge of the Alans and Sarmatian s, which threw the Roman infantry into confusion and hemmed it in so closely that the men could scarcely draw their swords.
The Sarmatian beds are also involved in the folds, indicating that the folding was not completed till Pliocene times.