Roustam Raza

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Roustam Raza
Roustam - Vernet.jpg
"Portrait of Roustam Raza, the mamluck of Napoleon" by Horace Vernet, 1810
Born Rostam
Tiflis, Kartli
Died December 7, 1845 (aged 61–62)
Dourdan, France
Citizenship France
Spouse(s) Alexandrine Douville
Children Achille
Depiction of Roustam Raza in traditional mamluk uniform.

Roustam Raza, also known as Roustan or Rustam (1783 – 7 December 1845), was Napoleon's mamluk bodyguard and secondary valet.[1] Roustam was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, to Armenian parents. At thirteen Roustam was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Cairo. The Turks gave him the name Idzhahia. The sheikh of Cairo presented him to General Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. Roustan served as a bodyguard of Napoleon until 1814, when he married Mademoiselle Douville in Dourdan and refused to follow the Emperor in his exile to Elba after the first Bourbon Restoration.[2][3] According to Raza's memoirs, he offered his service to Napoleon during the 100 days, but the recently re-crowned emperor refused to even receive him and spoke bitterly of Raza's "betrayal" in his recollections written at St. Helena. Raza later claimed that he feared Napoleon would commit suicide and that he would be blamed for his death. He cited this as the reason he left Napoleon during the marshal's revolt, just prior to his abdication.[4]

Raza's position as second valet was replaced during the 100 days restoration by his assistant and the Imperial Librarian Louis Étienne Saint-Denis whom Napoleon took to calling Ali. Like Raza, Saint-Denis also wrote an auto-biography about his time in Napoleon's Service.

On 7 December 1845, Roustam died in Dourdan.[5] His memoirs of his service to Napoleon were first published in 1888.

See also


  1. ^ "NAPOLEON AS HIS MAMELUKE SERVANT SAW HIM; Memoirs of Roustam Come to Light---Intimate Anecdotes of the Emperor by His Personal Attendant, Whom Bonaparte Brought Back with Him from Egypt and Who Served Him for 17 Years". The New York Times. 7 May 1911. 
  2. ^ Roustam, mameluck de Napoléon. D'après des mémoires et de nombreux documents inédits tirés des Archives Nationales et des Archives du ministère de la Guerre. [Ed.Hector Fleischmann]. — Paris: Albert Méricant, 1910. — 384 pp. (in French)
  3. ^ Alexander Mikaberidze (September 9, 2001). "The Georgian Mameluks in Egypt". 
  4. ^ "Louis Étienne Saint-Denis: Napoleon's French Mameluke - Shannon Selin". Shannon Selin. 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2017-10-02. 
  5. ^ Registre d'état civil de Dourdan (1845), Archives départementales de l'Essonne

External links

  • Roustam Raza's memoirs online (in Russian)
  • Souvenirs de Roustam, mamelouck de Napoléon Ier Introduction et notes de Paul Cottin (in French)

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