Region 18:09 26/10/2015

Mamluk Roustam Raza about Napoleon banning Turkish name given to him by slavers who stole him from Armenian family

Roustam Raza, son of Artsakh Armenian Roustam Honan, writes about his life in his memoires published in the book “The Memoirs of Roustam: Napoleon's Mamluk Imperial Bodyguard.” Resold for several times by the Transcaucasian Tatars, he writes on how he became a mamluk and later, Napoleon Bonaparte’s bodyguard.

Beginning.

After being deceitfully kidnapped and resold by the Transcaucasian Tatars, Roustam fell into a “good master’s” hands, who allowed him to freely walk around the town. Still, the idea of escape was still haunting him, although it was impossible for Kura River was blocking his way to freedom, and it was impossible to cross without money. After some time, Roustam and his master, a silk trader, had rather a difficult walk over the Caucasus Mountains to Lezgistan, where they were engaged in silk and cashmere trade, like in Ganja. “There were really good, well-fed sheep in Lezgistan, each weighed about eighty pounds or even more. Their horses, too, were gorgeous. Tatars and even Turks from Anapa took splendid stallions from here,” writes Roustam about his impressions of Lezgistan.

Further, their way lay through the “Tatar town of Alexandria.” Walking around in the town, he met a girl he knew from his native town of Aperkan. She was thirteen, she had been captured a few months before Roustam. She told Roustam that his sister Mariam was also in captivity, and he decided to visit her. “What could be better than meeting my sister! The girl took me to the doors of the house; I entered and asked for my sister. She saw me and threw herself about my neck. However, her self-restrain was much stronger than mine was. I was sobbing so bitterly I could not utter a word and ask about my poor mother, who had been lost in Ganja,” Roustam recalls. A rich Armenian merchant, who had settled down in those lands, turned out to have bought her back and immediately released, saying that she might return to her homeland if she wished. “Yet Mom could not overcome such a way alone. That is why she lived at the merchant’s home as a guest until the roads become safe or there is some other opportunity,” sister said adding that their mother was in Kizliar.

Kizliar was situated relatively close to Alexandria, but neither the master agreed to let Roustam see his mother, nor the merchants agreed to buy him back from his master. As it turned out, Roustam “cost very expensive.” “I was suffering for not being able to get in Kizliar and kiss my mother for the last time, as I was soon sold for the sixth time. Now it was a child trader from Constantinople. He was to take me with him. I offered that trader to buy my sister, too, so that we could comfort each other in the foreign lands, but he refused,” Roustam writes. As a consolation, sister suggested that he cut off a lock of his hair to take it to their mother as a proof that he was alive.

“No one knew, of course, when we would leave Kizliar, all the more my poor sister. We left in a few days. Our destination was Anapa, the first port and border with Turkey. After a three-days walk we reached the border of Turkey and Megrelia and got to a high mountain. Anapa was half a mile behind it. When the Black Sea first stretched out before me, I started to cry saying, ‘I will cross this big sea and be deprived of my family and homeland forever,’” Roustam remembers. They got on ship the next day, which took them to Constantinople. They settled not far from Hagia Sophia, “the biggest and richest temple in the world build by the Armenians and seized and appropriated by the Turks.”

Six months later, Roustam was sold to one of Salah-Bey’s merchants from Egypt. “I was sold for the seventh and last time in my vagrant life,” he writes. A few days later, the merchant took him to Alexandria, and then to Salah-Bey in Cairo.

“The way from Alexandria to Cairo is amazingly beautiful. Fields of sugar cane, almond thickets and pomegranate trees stretch along the banks of the Nile. On the first day, we reached Rashid (the Egyptian name for Rosetta, – ed.), which is exactly in the halfway. On the next day, saddled Arabian stallions were brought for us so that we went to the Greater Cairo on horses. We, twelve teenagers belonging to Salah-Bey, entered Bulaq, half a mile from the Greater Cairo, on horses in the evening. We had a supper there, and in the evening they gathered us to take to the capital. Right the next morning, we were standing in front of Salah-Bey, who received us very heartily. He asked me questions in Georgian, but I did not speak well that language for I had been a baby when we left Georgia. Then he asked me whether it was true that I was born in Tiflis, Georgia, and I said ‘Yes.’ I told him my father’s name. Salah-Bey turned out to know him well because he was Georgian and frequently visited Armenia,” these were Raza’s impressions of his first visit to Egypt and his meeting with one its governors.

Salah-Bey promised to inform Roustam’s father about his whereabouts and sent him to sleep. Going to his room, Roustam met an old friend from his native town. He had been stolen from his parents two years before Roustam. “I had so many times seen his parents crying for their son lost without a trace,” he recalls.

Further Roustam writes about being circumcised against his will and enlisted as a mamluk. He studied their art, riding a horse and throwing a lasso, for two months. After a while, the French took the Egyptian capital and poisoned Salah-Bey by envenoming his tea. After Salah-Bey’s death, Roustam refused to serve to a new master and started wandering across Egypt with his servant dressed as a villager. When he ran out of money and there was nothing left to sell, Roustam received Napoleon’s permission through the sheikh El Bekri, who gave the most flattering characteristics about him, to take up a new service – he became the chief mamluk.

As the time went on, El Bekri ruined himself because of drinking, and the relations between him and Roustam spoiled. When Bonaparte decided to return to France, Roustam believed in the translator’s words about the French being “a kind nation and all Christians,” and taking advantage of the opportunity, entered the service of Bonaparte’s commander-in-chief.

A special mention is due for Napoleon’s meeting and dialogue with Roustam: “Monsieur Elias accompanied me to his waiting room. Seeing me, Napoleon came up, pulled me by the ear, and then asked whether I was good at riding horses. I gave him an affirmative answer. Then he asked whether I mastered the épée. I said I had fought many times with Arabs with épée, and showed him the scars on my hands. He was glad at that and asked:

“What is your name?”

“Ijahia.”

He was surprised.

“But it is a Turkish name. What was your name at home?”

“Roustam.”

“I do not want you have a Turkish name. I want you be Roustam again.”

Napoleon gave him a Damascus sabre, which had six big diamonds on the handle, and a pair of pistols in gilded cases. This was how Roustam took up his new obligations of Napoleon Bonaparte’s bodyguard.

To be continued.

Compiled from the Russian translation by G. Janikyan, I. Karumyan of the book “The Memoirs of Roustam: Napoleon's Mamluk Imperial Bodyguard.”

Related:

Napoleon’s bodyguard about Transcaucasian Tatars kidnapping Armenian and Georgian children to sell them into slavery 

Napoleon’s Shushi Armenian Mameluke Ouanis Petro participated in Karabakh protection during Russo-Persian War



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

20:29
UN to continue caring for families and people displaced from Artsakh
The UN in Armenia joins the country today in commemorating all who have lost their lives in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to the...
20:01
Armenian figure skaters qualified for the Olympics
International senior-level figure skating competition completed at German Oberstdorf for pair skating event, the National Olympic Committee...
19:51
Turkey deploys troops to Syria's Idlib for potential ground operation
The Turkish military has deployed more troops on the M4 highway south of northwestern Syria's opposition-held Idlib and is prepared for any...
19:03
Armenian film removed from festival program due to threats from Azerbaijanis
Armenian documentary "Unfinished Memories" directed by Armen Khachatryan (co-production Hayk Documentary Film Studio and Margins Media...
18:50
France will spare no effort to resume dialogue between the conflicting sides - Embassy
The French Embassy in Yerevan observed a minute's silence at 11am on Monday honoring the memory of the victims of the last year's bloody...
18:11
Minute's silence observed in Artsakh
A minute's silence was observed in Artsakh on September 27, at 11am, paying tribute to the victims of the 44-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan...
17:32
Georgian PM offers mediation to Azerbaijan and Armenia
“We offer mediation to our brotherly states, the Azerbaijani and Armenian brothers,” said Georgian Prime Minister Irakli...
17:11
The war that started a year ago and still continues: Reportage about Artsakh's emergency service officers
The State Service of Emergency Situations of Artsakh’s Interior Ministry has prepared a lengthy reportage about the work of its servicemen...
16:29
17th-Century Armenian paintings on display at Windsor Castle after 150 years
Two newly conserved paintings by the mysterious 17th-century Armenian artist Marcos have been put on display at Windsor Castle, Asbarez.com...
15:56
2021 Václav Havel Prize awarded to Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava
The ninth Václav Havel Human Rights Prize – which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights – has...
15:06
Putin, Erdogan to discuss situation in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan – Kremlin
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey will discuss a wide range of issues at their upcoming meeting, including...
14:58
3,781 Armenian soldiers and civilians killed in last year’s war – Investigative Committee
A total of 3,781 Armenian troops and civilians were killed in the 44-day war unleashed against Artsakh by Azerbaijan in 2020, according to the...
14:42
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla predicts 'normal life' in a year
There will be a return to normal life within a year, Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla said on Sunday, adding that it’s likely annual...
14:33
Arman Tatoyan: Policy of Armenophobia has received new extremist and fascist manifestations in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan carried out a genocidal and ethnic cleansing policy in Artsakh during the 44-day war and its policy of Armenophobia has received new...
13:30
PACE to debate report on humanitarian impact of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Monday
The autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) starts in Strasbourg on Monday, 27 September to run through 30...
12:38
Catholicos Karekin II: Our path to awakening requires high sense of responsibility from each of us, consolidation and joint efforts
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, issued a message on the first anniversary of the 44-day war marked...
12:17
Berlin set for first elected woman mayor
The German capital Berlin is set for its first elected woman mayor as Franziska Giffey and her Social Democrats beat the Greens, according to...
12:04
Russian peacekeepers ensure safe harvesting of more than 500 tons of grapes in Artsakh
The servicemen of the Russian peacekeeping contingent ensured the safe collection of more than 500 tons of grapes on 5 plantations from an area...
11:56
Armenia records 462 new Covid-19 cases on Sept. 27
Armenia has confirmed 462 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 259,007 as of 11 a.m. Monday, September 27, the...
11:47
Armenian MP: Risks of renewed hostilities in region haven't been eliminated
Armenian MP Tigran Abrahamyan, who represents the opposition I’m Honored parliamentary faction, says the risks of renewed hostilities in...
11:18
‘Living Artsakh’: Torchlight procession held in Stepanakert to honor fallen heroes
A torchlight procession in memory of all those, who were martyred in the 44-day war, was held in Stepanakert, Artsakh’s capital, on...
10:51
Azerbaijan continues its blatantly aggressive, anti-Armenian and expansionist policy – Artsakh Foreign Ministry
The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh issued a statement on the first anniversary of the war unleashed against Artsakh by Azerbaijan...
10:41
Armenian foreign minister meets with UN chief
On September 25, within the framework of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Armenia's Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan met...
10:31
Requiem mass, minute’s silence in memory of Artsakh war victims
A minute's silence will be observed in Armenia and on Monday, September 27, at 11am, to pay tribute to the victims of the 44-day war...
20:00
First President Ter-Petrosyan discussed humanitarian issues in Artsakh with Artak Beglaryan
Armenia's first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan received on Saturday at his house State Minister of the Artsakh Republic Artak Beglaryan. As...
19:00
Air temperature to go down by 3-4 degrees on September 27
No precipitation is predicted in the territory of Armenia on September 27-28.  As Hydromet meteorological service reported, at night of...
18:52
Armenian church commemorates St. Gevorg the Captain
The Armenian Apostolic Church marks today the commemoration of St. Gevorg the Captain (St. George the Warrior). As qahana.am reports, he was...
18:27
Artsakh records 4 new Covid-19 cases on September 25
Artsakh confirmed 4 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday, September 14. In total, 45 Covid-19...
18:22
The Minsk Group Co-Chairs reaffirmed their commitment - Foreign Ministry
On September 23, Armenian FM Ararat Mirzoyan met with OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Andrew Schofer of the United States of America, Stephane...
17:44
Taliban reintroducing the death penalty and mutilation
One of the founders of the Taliban movement, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, said in an interview with AP News that they will resume executions and...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}