Lucas NotarasLucas Notaras
was the last Grand Duke of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire
. The famous phrase I would rather see the Muslim turban in the midst of the city than the Latin miter
is attributed to him, referring to his opposition on the reconciliation efforts between the Orthodox Church
of Constantinople and the Catholic Church
of Rome. These efforts were soundly rejected by the citizens, and estranged Notaras from Constantine XI
, the last emperor.
When Constantinople fell to the Turks, Mehmed II ordered Notaras to surrender his two sons, so that the Sultan could molest them at his will. When he refused, Mehmed II had his sons killed in front of the Grand Duke, shortly before executing him as well.