Early Christianity's Important, Unimportant People

In Adele Reinhartz's Caiaphas the High Priest she explains in Chapter 1 ("Caiaphas in Context") how little we know about Caiaphas outside of his depiction in the canonical Gospels. As regards our other surviving sources, he is mentioned only a few times in the writings of Josephus and possibly on an ossuary of a member of his family. I'm not surprised by this, per se, but I may have overestimated his importance outside of the self-understanding of incipient Christianity. In the final summarizing paragraph of the aforementioned chapter Reinhartz writes,

Were Josephus and the ossuary the only sources on Caiaphas, this high priest would have disappeared into obscurity along with the rest of his colleagues. After all, how many people outside the guild of scholars in Second Temple Judaism has heard of Ismael son of Phabi (15-16 C.E.; Ant. 18:34), or Jesus son of Damanaeus (62-63/4?; Ant. 20.203, 213)? Caiaphas’s notoriety and the long history of his representation arise not from his role in Josephus’ Antiquities but from the part he plays in the Gospels’ dramatic accounts of Jesus’ final days.
— Adele Reinhartz, Caiaphas the High Priest, 23.

Robert L. Webb says something very similar about John the Baptist in John the Baptizer and Prophet: A Socio-historical Study wherein he writes,

One of the more secure and widely accepted historical ‘facts’ about Jesus is his relationship with a figure usually called John the Baptist. Indeed, each of the four canonical Gospels begins its narrative of the public ministry of Jesus with a description of John the Baptist as the forerunner and baptizer of Jesus. Were it not for this portrayal of John, he would probably have remained a minor character mentioned in Josephus’ Antiquities and have been the subject of a footnote of two in academic writing. Instead, because of the Evangelists’ use of John in their narratives, he has assumed much greater importance; nevertheless, he has remained largely in the shdaow of Jesus.
— Robert L. Webb, John the Baptizer and Prophet: A Socio-historical Study, 19.

John the Baptist was important in his own right, very important, but the Gospels minimize him making him important only in respect to Jesus of Nazareth. Yet, as Webb notes, if it weren't for the Evangelists' desire to make Jesus greater than John (an argument that apparently had to be made for some time after both John and Jesus had disappeared from the scene) there would be hardly any greatness of John left for us to ponder. Similarly, yet different, Caiaphas may have been just another High Priest mentioned by Josephus with a little more attention given to him that to the Baptist, but not a whole lot more. The Baptist has become a Saint; Caiaphas has been demonized. In this sense, Caiaphas doesn't get a fair shake in his remembrance and depiction, but he does gain notoriety that he may not have received if it weren't for his connection to Jesus' death.

One figure at the beginning of Jesus' life, the other at the end, both important in their own right in their own time, but not forgotten only because of Jesus.