Portrait of Maxime Raybaud, 19nth century, oil on canvas (collection of Vincent Touze)


Jean-François Maxime Raybaud, a French officer, diplomat and writer, was born on 19 June 1795 in the town of La Colle in the province of Var in France and died in January 1894. He graduated from the Saint Cyr Military School and became a lieutenant of the artillery in the Army. He was one of the first Philhellenes who took part in the Greek War of Independence.

He departed from Marseilles on 18 July 1821, by a boat from Hydra, chartered by Alexander Mavrokordatos, and arrived at Messolonghi on 2 August 1821 to join the corps of Thomas Gordon. In September 1821, he took part in the siege of Tripolitsa.

Plan of the siege of Tripolitsa, extract from Raybaud’s book

He then continued his military journey under the protection of Mavrokordatos, whom he served as an aide-de-camp. In the Archives of Greek Paligenesia it is stated that he was initially Pentacosiarchos in Peloponnese and that later he was nominated Captain, following a recommendation by Mavrokordatos. He was part of the Peta exhibition. Due to a coincidence, he did not take part in the final (and disastrous for the Philhellenic Battalion), Peta’s battle and escaped death. He assembled the 25 men who survived and drove them to Kryoneri.

The battle of Peta (Zografos)

After this unfortunate event, in late 1822, he made the decision to return to France. However, in September 1825 he returned to Greece, accompanying the first volunteers and munitions for Greece, sent by the Philhellenic Committee of Paris. He advanced the idea that Greece required mainly Mountain Artillery. He was later sent back to France on orders from the interim government of Greece to recruit mercenaries, but his mission was met with limited success due to a lack of financial means.

In August 1826, according to Henri Fornèsy’s notes, he took part in the Battle of Chaidari in Athens, in which he was wounded when his gun backfired. In November 1826, he joined Olivier Voutier on a failed mission to Atalantis under the guidance of Ioannis Kolettis, and it appears that he was involved in a personal conflict with Voutier, resulting in them fighting a duel and getting injured.

In 1828, he joined, at his request, the French expeditionary corps of the Peloponnese, under General Maison, assuming the role of the official typographer of the Corps. Jacques Mangeart says that Raybaud was coming to Greece for the fifth time. He further confirms that during his stay in Nafplio, he was infected by typhus but that he was cured thanks to the generous efforts of his compatriot, Dr. Bailly. With the typographic machine that he brought with him from France and which he finally installed in Patras, he published the French-speaking Le Courrier d’Orient, a weekly political, commercial and literary newspaper, one of the first in Patras. It was published until the end of 1829 and it was then subsequently replaced by Le Courier de la Grèce.

In his two-volume work Memories on Greece (Mémoires sur la Grèce), which is recognized by Greek and foreign historians for its objectivity, he describes, in addition to his personal action, the influence exerted by Dimitrios Ypsilantis on the army, the greed of certain chiefs, the conflict between the Regular army and the irregular combatants, the destruction and fall of Tripolitsa, the difficulties and deprivations that affected all the warriors indiscriminately, and the assembly and the multi-nation composition of the Battalion of the Philhellenes.

Raybaud’s two volume book, Memoires sur la Grece

In parallel, it is important that he publishes a list of Philhellenes who fell fighting heroically in the battle of Peta, but also that he enriches his work with topographical maps of the battlefields. His memoirs were eagerly awaited by the French public, as shown by publications of Le Globe‘s in February 1825.

In 1831, Maxime Raybaud was appointed ‘commissioner’ of France in Arta. He is later reported to have served in the French National Military School and then in Cyprus and subsequently in Haiti as Consul and Consul General respectively. In addition, he was a journalist, writing for newspapers La Presse, and Le Journal des Débats, under the pseudonym Gustave d’Alaux.

The Greek state honored him with the medal of the Commander of the Order of the Savior in 1836 and the French state with the medal of the Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1852.


  • Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, Hommes et destins, dictionnaire biographique d’Outre-Mer, tome 5, Expansion coloniale, 1984.
  • Archives France: «départ pour la Grèce de Maxime Raybaud, présumé chargé de sommes considérables confiées par le Comité grec», φάκελοι: F/7/6678-F/7/6784, Υποφάκελος 35β, στη γενική συλλογή: Affaires politiques (police politique). Objets généraux (1815-1838) των Αρχείων της Γαλλίας.
  • Boppe Auguste, «Le consulat général de Morée et ses dépendances (Athènes, Coron, Modon, Napoli de Romanie, Patras, Arta.)», στο: Revue des Études Grecques, tome 20, fascicule 87,1907. σελ. 18-37.
  • Fornèsy Henri, «Le monument des philhellènes», 1860, Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη, Τμήμα Χειρογράφων και Ομοιοτύπων, χειρόγραφο697.
  • Jacques Mangeart, Souvenirs de la Morée, recueillis pendant le séjour des Français dans le Péloponnèse, Paris, Igonette Libraire-éditeur, σελ. 3, 107, 150, 236, 408.
  • Raybaud Maxime, Mémoires sur la Grèce pour servir à l’histoire de la guerre de l’Indépendance, accompagnés de plans topographiques, avec une introduction historique par Alph. Rabbe, Paris, Tournachon-Molin, Libraire, 1824, τόμος 1 & 2.
  • St-Clair William, That Greece might still be free – The Philhellenes in the War of Independence, τόμος 1, εκδ. Oxford University Press, Λονδίνο-Νέα Υόρκη 1972, σελ. 282-283.
  • Απόφαση υπ’ αριθμόν 102 του Προέδρου του Εκτελεστικού με ημερομηνία 10Μαΐου 1822, η οποία μνημονεύεται από τον Ζούβα Παναγή, Η οργάνωσις Τακτικού Στρατού κατά τα πρώτα έτη της Επαναστάσεως του 1821, χ.ε., Αθήνα 1969, σελ. 70 και 108.
  • Αρχεία Ελληνικής Παλιγγενεσίας, τόμος 1 σελ. 183: εισήγηση του Μαυροκορδάτου, αρ. 1424 προς το βουλευτικό, 15 Μαΐου 1822.
  • Βυζάντιος Χρήστος, Ιστορία των κατά την Ελλην. Επανάστασιν εκστρατειών και μαχών και των μετά ταύτα συμβάντων, ων συμμετέσχεν ο Τακτικός Στρατός, από του 1821 μέχρι του 1833 [εκδ. 1901], σελ. 203.
  • Δημακόπουλος Δ. Γεώργιος, «Αι εφημερίδες Courrier dOrientLe Courrier de la Grèce», Δελτίον της ΙΕΕΕ, τόμος 21 (1978), σελ. 469-497.
  • Εφημερίδα Le Globe, Παρίσι, αρ. 65, 5 Φεβρουαρίου 1825, όπου αναγγελία του έργου του Raybaud και αρ. 96, 19 Απριλίου 1825, όπου κριτική παρουσίαση αυτού.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής http://wwwcoulture.gouv.fr/documentation/leonore/leonore.htm, Dossier LH/2273/6.
  • Θεμελή-Κατηφόρη Δέσποινα, Το γαλλικό ενδιαφέρον για την Ελλάδα στην περίοδο του Καποδίστρια, 1828-1831, σελ. 85.
  • Σπηλιάδης Νικόλαος, Απομνημονεύματα δια να χρησιμεύσωσιν εις την νέαν ελληνικήν ιστορίαν (1821-1843), τόμος 2, εκδ. Παναγιώτου Φ. Χριστοπούλου, Αθήνα 1972, σελ. 289 και 479.