The language is a remnant of ancient great peoples of the Steppes: nomadic tribes of Scythian, Sarmatian, Alanian, Sacian and Massagetian languages who used to be spoken by peoples migrating within vast territories of Central Asia and modern South Ukraine. Now Ossetic uses two dialects, one of which is literature.
The unique features of Ossetic in comparison with most of Iranian languages can be explained by rich medieval contacts with languages of other linguistic groups: Slavic, Baltic, Germanic etc., and from the other side, with the Caucasian sustratum languages which were spoken here when Ossetians arrived on Caucasus. Ossetic now differs from other Iranian languages by its "Caucasian" glottalized consonants in phonetics, and strange agglutinative noun declension with plenty of cases.
Ossetic first used Arabic script since the 18th language, then Cyrillic-based alphabet in the 19th century, then Latinized graphics in 1923-38, then again Cyrillic.