Roustam RazaFriday, February 8, 2019
Roustam Raza (1783 – 7 December 1845), also known as Roustan or Rustam, was Napoleon's mamluk bodyguard and secondary valet. 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. 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.
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. His memoirs of his service to Napoleon were first published in 1888.