Perhaps not unnaturally, but disastrously for itself, Byzantine historiography has so far, if at all, tended to view the role played by the Caucasians, especially Armenians, in the history of the Eastern Empire with somewhat parochial, or microcosmic, eyes. 1 To those eyes, Armenia, and Caucasia in general, remain largely a terra incognita, despite occasional inroads into that unknown territory. Thus, even when, as of late, the importance of, especially, the Armenian element for Byzantine history has at last been recognized, insufficient acquaintance with the historical, cultural, and social background of the part of the world where that element originated and whence it came to the Empire is nevertheless still too much in evidence. 2 And yet, precisely 2because of the importance for Byzantine history of the element in question, its background ought to be of interest to the Byzantine scholar, for it alone can fully explain the nature of the role which was played by that element. This is precisely the scope of this study: not merely to repeat what has at last been admitted, but also to supplement it and bring it into focus; in other words, to describe the background in order more fully to explain the role.