NA440 Napoleon’s Mameluk Bodyguard Roustan
Roustan Raza (1783-1845) was the Emperor’s personal bodyguard and valet. Born in Tbilisi, Georgia to Armenian parents the young Roustan was kidnapped at just 13 and sold as a slave in Cairo to the Sheik of Cairo who, in 1798, presented him to Napoleon as a body servant.
Roustan was to loyally serve the Emperor for the next 15 years and follow him through many of his most famous campaigns and battles. While in the earlier service of the Sheik in Cairo, Roustan had worn typical Mameluk costume, which he continued to do throughout his time with Napoleon.
Acting as both servant and bodyguard the Mameluk supervised the cooking and serving of all the Emperor’s meals as well as cleaning and caring for his master’s weapons and uniforms.
Acting as bodyguard he slept near the Emperor and attended him night and day, both on and off the battlefield.