By Richard G. Hovannisian
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Extra info for Armenian Baghesh Bitlis and Taron Mush (Ucla Armenian History and Culture Series. Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces, 2)
Their presence 44 Life and Society in Byzantine Cappadocia seems to have persisted across the medieval period, but the community suffered periods of decline and recovery. 84 These settlements remind us that, despite the current views that Byzantium lost much of its polyglot and religiously diverse complexion with the severing of the anti-Chalcedonian Syriac and Coptic populations, Cappadocia experienced the opposite. Probably the area had never witnessed such cultural and social changes as those wrought in the Byzantine period, and the settlement of Armenian Christians in particular would have ramifications that long outlasted the Byzantine state.
Although some 20 subterranean villages can be identified, their total remains unknown. The extraordinary number of known but otherwise unexplored subterranean sites in Cappadocia gives reason to believe that underground villages were also common.
Some corroboration might be read in the comments of contemporary historians. 67 Leo’s comment is the only surviving one, and probably as pejorative as it was indicative, from Byzantine sources, but Arab authors also mention cave settlements. 68 The word matamir evokes the observed defensibility inherent in the settlements encountered, and suggests the difficulties in dealing with them. Mas‘udi (d. 69 However, it was the Arab geographer Ibn Hauqal who may have been most correct in stating that cities were few and the most notable features were the mountain fortresses and troglodyte villages.
Armenian Baghesh Bitlis and Taron Mush (Ucla Armenian History and Culture Series. Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces, 2) by Richard G. Hovannisian