Graitzas was a distant relative to the last Emperor of Byzantium, the Commander of Salmeniko Castle, and the last Byzantine commander.
When Thomas Palaiologos, (One of the last heirs) gave his commanders the choice of fight or flight, Graitzas was one of the few to remain. This was an almost suicidal choice due to Mehmed's armies approaching. Nevertheless, it was a glorious battle to end an empire.
Mehmed personally oversaw the attack on Salmeniko, probably wishing to be present at the fall of the last of the Byzantine holdings. Even though the defenders fought bravely, the Janissaries defeated the defenders on the outer wall by poisoning the water supply. The remaining citizens were sold into slavery, and many of the noble children were indoctrinated into the Ottoman war machine.
However Graitzas and his men held out in the citadel. You might expect that Graitzas fought to the last man, he was bold, but realistic, tis better to survive then proof a point at the expense of your own life.
He and Mehmed agreed that the Ottomans would allow him and his men to leave Salmeniko unharmed. However after Mehmed left, his commanders captured the first troops to leave the citadel.
Graitzas, faced with almost impossible odds, led his troops through the Ottomans fighting all the way, and escaped to Lepanto, a Venetian fortress. Graitzas eventually accepted a commission as general in the Venetian Military.
How to end this article? It is only a minor comfort to know that the Byzantines had one last battle worthy of song. To know that one of the greatest people of all time had one last act of defiance against evil.
But I think that it would be appropriate to end it with a quote from my favorite movie
Sam:It's all wrong, by rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories Mister Frodo, the ones that really matter. Full of darkness and danger they were. Sometimes you didn't want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, the shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those are the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were to small to understand why. But I think Mister Frodo, I do understand . I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to Sam?
Sam: There's some good in this world Mister Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.