Napoleon was not really short


Napoleon Bonaparte is known for two things, conquering most of Europe and being short. Napoleon being short is true if we compare his height to now a days standards but for back then he was of average height.

In modern international units, Napoleon was about of 5 feet 7 inches and the average height of a male in France at that time was about 5 feet 5 inches in modern times. So for that time he was  considered rather tall.

However, there is still evidence that Napoleon was already considered short at the time of his death even though he was above average heigh among other French people. This is because his personal bodyguards were tall and broad. So wherever he went, he always looked smaller compared to his bodyguards earning him the title “Le Petit Caporel” or in English “The Little Corporal”.


About maltasun

A history lover from the small island of Malta.
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11 Responses to Napoleon was not really short

  1. cadeauca says:

    I always thought it was funny how the British propaganda machine helped to perpetuate this myth.

  2. Iva P. says:

    Until now I lived with the idea that Napoleon was 5 feet 4 inches tall, which – I agree – was not too short for that time. What is your source?

  3. This is a great point. The story I heard was that the difference between French and British measurement systems meant that the British had the impression of Napoleon as shorter than he was. But there’s also the point of this upjumped artillery officer from a minor noble house becoming Emperor of the French as not a “true” leader. Even though he wiped the floor with the ancient royalty of Europe for about a decade. I’m sure “Napoleon = short” is one of those beliefs that has a variety of sources.

  4. The Historical Diaries says:

    Reblogged this on The Historical Diaries.

  5. The Historical Diaries says:

    miss you ,how come no new post this month ? I hope everything is okay =)

    • maltasun says:

      Hey, i havent posted in a while because i have started university again and its very hard because this year we need to start planning for the thesis and since i am doing medieval period i need to learn Latin. Thanks for sending me a message. I will post something in christmas holidays 🙂

      • The Historical Diaries says:

        oh sounds great ❤ , just wanted to check up on you. I love your blog =) and completely understandable there was a couple months where i was simply too busy to make any post , I look forward to your new post once your able to get back to the blog

  6. Pingback: Napoleon was not really short | Brittius

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