Napoleon's Mameluke

The Memoirs of Roustam Raza, Imperial Bodyguard

Roustam Raza was born in the Caucasus but was captured by slave traders when still a teenager and sold into slavery in Egypt. It was there that his life took a twist when he was presented as a gift to General Napoleon Bonaparte in August 1799.
Publication date:
December 2018
Publisher :
Enigma Books
Contributor(s) :
Jonathan North
Language:
English
Illustration :
25 pictures
Format Available     Quantity Price
Paperback
ISBN : 9781936274727
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£11.99
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Overview
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Roustam Raza was born in the Caucasus but was captured by slave traders when still a teenager and sold into slavery in Egypt. It was there that his life took a twist when he was presented as a gift to General Napoleon Bonaparte in August 1799. Napoleon took the young Mameluke back with him to France and, for the next 15 years, Roustam Raza acted as Napoleon’s exotic bodyguard. He rode out with Napoleon when the general who crowned himself an emperor went riding. He escorted the imperial carriage and, at night, he slept across Napoleon’s doorway. Conspicuous in the art and popular imagination of the time he was also the author of colourful memoirs. These have never been translated into English before and are now published complete and with explanatory notes which set the material in context. In addition a biographical dictionary of all the Mamelukes who returned to France with Napoleon’s army, and who then entered French service, is included.

Roustam Raza’s memoirs cover his early life with his Armenian family in Georgia, his itinerant life in the troubled Caucasus, the drama of his capture and the ordeal of being transported and sold into slavery. He describes life in Egypt, the arrival of the French, and the events surrounding his presentation to Napoleon. Then comes Napoleon’s hurried departure to France, arrival in a strange new country and life as Napoleon’s valet and bodyguard. His reminiscences of life on campaign (including in Russia in 1812), and in the imperial palaces, follows and his account culminates in the events of 1814 when Roustam Raza opted to remain with his family in France rather than to follow Napoleon into exile (for which he was lambasted by friend and foe alike). The memoirs are highly unusual, exotic and contain a host of anecdotes on Napoleon and his circle, and life and times in the Napoleonic world.

Jonathan North works in publishing and is a historian specialising in first-hand accounts of life in the Napoleonic era. His publications include With Napoleon in Russia: The Illustrated Memoirs of Faber du Faur, In the Legions of Napoleon: The Memoirs of a Polish Officer in Spain and Russia, and Napoleon's Army in Russia: The Illustrated Memoirs of Albrecht Adam, 1812.