How tall is Napoleon ?

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Napoleon's Height is 5ft 6.5in (169 cm)

I include him as this is generally regarded as his correct height by historians, that of 5ft 6.5 or 5ft 7. For some reason, the average heighted French Leader seemed to get a 'little guy' complex named after him when he wasn't really short...
Comment on the Height of Napoleon

Will said on 10/Oct/15
Napoleon was 5'6 1/2" is the correct height as stated in the above. The French people thought he was only 5'2" was just completely absurd. Napoleon was still considered a short man (below average height) IMO. His diminitive height did not bother me that much at all.
TJE said on 21/Aug/15
I'm guessing he shrunk to 5'6 by his 50s?
Jull said on 21/Mar/15
Hello. What is the average height of man at the 19th century in England?
Judd said on 10/Dec/14
i think he was shorter...he lived about two centuries ago, when the average height was much shorter than today...
in the beginning of the XVIII century, I think a person 5'7" tall was certainly considered in the average or even medium-tall, so for reasons connected of his propaganda, Napoleon claimed more than what it really was ... data generated during an era of conducting regime cannot be trusted ...
I should not wonder if he was actually 5'2 "or something close to it.
Arch Stanton said on 17/Oct/14
Viper says on 15/Sep/13
He wasnt short at all for his time

You sure he wasn't 5'4 Viper? :-)
Arch Stanton said on 17/Oct/14
LMFAO, haha, that's two names I never expected to see in one sentence "Napoleon and Justin Bieber"...
FlameBoy said on 16/Oct/14
i have always been hugely insecure about my height but seeing as napoleon and justin bieber are both my height (2 of the greatest humans to ever grace are planet IMHO) It does make me feel Slightly better about my vertically challenged self
Emil said on 28/Jan/14
His Elite Guard soldiers were over 6 foot in general, hence his short impression
Viper said on 15/Sep/13
He wasnt short at all for his time
Ål (olivia) said on 7/Sep/13
I really do belive he was about 169/170 cm. That sounds logical to me.
We all know that he looks very tall in paintings, but I think he wanted to be/look tall so he said to the painter to paint him tall.
pepebotella said on 23/Jun/13
He was 1.68 m a bit smaller than his partners but not small at all
TheVerve180cm said on 19/May/13
He was tall for his time.
Shorty said on 2/Apr/13
His height was announced in french feet and inches. 5 ft 2 in french feet is equal to 5 ft 7 in british ft. This is why british thought he was short. At that time 5 ft 7 was taller than average.
billy the kid said on 6/Mar/13
it's mainly 1.5m the hat made him look taller
Arch Stanton said on 17/Feb/13
Strange as 5 ft 7 was average for a guy even in John Wayne's generation. Average even latter half of 19th century was 5'5.5 measured barefoot for British army soldier, I think that was the average for a soldier in the Boer war in the 1890s from what I read, and Napolean was late 18th and early 19th century so if anything he'd have been upper average for that period at 5'6.5". I once read 5'0 for him. Rob you should do more "scholarly" entries on here into historical figures and the evolution of height over time. I could help you write and research something if you are interested. As a height resource, I think the site would improve with some facts and figures on average height through the ages and between countries as its often debated on the general height page, people comparing the Dutch and Croatians etc.
Will said on 15/Feb/13
There has been recent study done by forensic scientists nowadays that Napoleon was 5'6 1/2" and that is a very well-known fact known to be very accurate.
anonymous said on 12/Feb/13
Still taller than bieber :D
mike said on 11/Feb/13
I would highly suggest you question the claims of experts. In 19th century France, the average Frenchman was 5'7 1/2, meaning Napoleon was either 1/2 inch or an inch smaller than average, which doesn't at all account for the quips we've inherited of him being a midget. Comparatively speaking, it's as if we mocked an American politican for being a 'mere' 5'9 or 5'8 1/2, which is barely different from the national average.

Has anyone seen that show hysteria? In it, Napoleon is presented as a teenie tiny little man. If Napoleon truly was 5'7, then the exaggeration of his shortness was truly hysterical.
Will said on 2/Feb/13
Fine. I will put Napoleon at 5ft 6 now. That sound ok now, George?
Mike said on 2/Feb/13
Agreed that Napoleon stood 5ft 6.
GIBBT said on 23/Jan/13
"Will says on 10/Feb/12"
Napoleon was only 5'4" tall. No way in hell was he 5'7".
My Dad's is the same height as napoleon and hes taller than me and i'm 5'5
George said on 18/Jan/13
"Will says on 10/Feb/12
Napoleon was only 5'4" tall. No way in hell was he 5'7"."

And what's your source? Don't go pulling random numbers out your ass.
LOL said on 24/Dec/12
u know what guyz in that time french if longer than england if its french he is 5,7 in french he is 5,2 Click Here watch this video
thc-182 said on 11/Dec/12
he is thought to be short because of english propaganda and his imperial guard who towered him, since they had to be 6'0 and more.
But at 169 cm he was above average
ohweezy said on 13/Oct/12
Napoléon was a respectable height for men of the late 18th century. When he died, he was measured, that being part of the autopsy. He was measured in English standards, which are different from American standards. He was shorted about 4 inches because of this. A man in the 18th century being 5'6" tall was a very respectful height. Once again, something was lost in translation.
Robbie said on 25/Jul/12
In response to @brian: Napoleon died from stomach cancer, not suicide. Saying that he jumped off a cliff has no basis in factual evidence. I realize (and hope) that your comment is a joke, but I just wanted to clear things up.
brian said on 11/Jun/12
apparantly it was not napoleons body when they did the autopsy but that of golaith so napoleons body was never found seeing as he commited suicide off the island of elba when he jumped off a cliff... sorry to be the one to have to break it to you guys
Will said on 10/Feb/12
Napoleon was only 5'4" tall. No way in hell was he 5'7".
ted said on 10/Oct/07
Dumas said that his father(the general of the army) was 1,95.
Dwayne said on 23/Sep/07
His guards were 5'10" in the French measure... which translated to 6'2". I've read a person say he was measured at 5'2" 3 lines (1/4th an inch) and 5'2" and 6 lines (1/2th an inch) while alive, in French inches. As well as a British man measured him at 5'7". At death, he was measured at 5'2" 4 lines (1/3rd of an inch)--I think evidence is fairly clear which system they used.
Lmeister said on 7/Sep/07
He was 5'6.5'' it was a convertion erro. He was surrounded by tall guards (5'10'' min) thats why he looked short in the paintings.
David said on 6/Sep/07
So i think Napoleon was really 5'2, since i dont think they were going to measure him in french inches in an island ruled by the British empire, also look at his paintings, mmm he looks shorter than normal, and normal in that time was 5'4" for most french soldiers.
shikoku said on 11/Jul/07
He was somewhere between 167 and 169 what was as tall as the Average Frenchman but don't forget hes Italian who where a bit smaller...
tom said on 3/Jun/07
amedeo II di savoia was 1,98

Click Here
Melle said on 27/Apr/07
The avg French man's height in Bonaparte's time was 5ft5. Many books account that Napoleon stood below this average.
Matt said on 23/Jan/07
The reason Bonaparte has been given the reputation of being short is because he was typically seen with rather large body guards in public. Given the charicatures created of our current world-leaders I'm not surprised that the public "belittled" Bonaparte. I'm also not surprised that there is almost no mention of the fact that this guy actually did have a last name.
horacle said on 10/Jan/07
The french guys are not short anymore. I'm french I'm a solid 5'9 and i'm feel really short. Where i live the average height is 5'11.
ice said on 7/Dec/06
Hmm... Maybe the average height given at 5ft were also in french increments. That would make Napolean's 5'2 become 168 cm, and the average height at that time would be 163 cm. This would make sense. Him being six inches over the average height does not. If a man is 6'4 today, and hung around men that were all 7 ft, would you call him short? I think not. He would be tall, and the others would be freakishly tall.
leonari said on 3/Oct/06
if he truly was 169 he was quite tall for his time!!! Even nowadays there are many short guys in France who are below this mark...
Glenn said on 2/Oct/06
Wow.I thought he was 5-4.
Rut said on 1/Oct/06
I am now convinced that this height is correct or near what he really he was, really not that small for that time, I saw his costume many years ago and maybe due to other stories misjudge that he was much shorter.
Massimo said on 1/Oct/06
how do you know that Mozart was 5'4" ? I mean,his body was never found...Thanks.I'm a huge Mozart's fan! Napoleone was 5'6" 1/2, the right height for a male human being!
Anshelm said on 24/Jul/06
Trueheight is right: 5'2" in old French units is NOT 169 cm/5'6½". And I'll add a decimal to that: one French inch was 2.707 cm, therefore 168 cm/5'6" is closer: 62 × 2.707 cm = 167.834 cm (or 66.076 in).
JDrozen said on 25/May/06
Message to Editor Rob: If you can add Napoleon's height can you add the height of his contemporaries? : Beethoven and Mozart both 5.4
Adan from Oz said on 24/Apr/06
As a French speaker, "le petit caporal" shouldn't be translated as "the little corporal". It shows the regard he was held in and closeness he had with his troops. "Petit" used this way is a term of endearment.
ForensicNYC said on 13/Apr/06
Napoleon was 6'1"...with his hat on...
trueheight said on 7/Apr/06
the french feet system was 2.71cm per inch hence, in France, Napoleon was regarded as 5'2in. but the standard(english) feet system is 2.54cm per inch hence 168cm or just over 5'6
Anonymous said on 11/Mar/06
The myth that Napoleon was a diminutive man was started in part by English caricatures of him during the time. His old guard and his personal guard were also made up of tall men (5'10 upwards, which was very tall in early 19th century France) who accompanied him. So it would be closer to the truth to say that Napoleon was always the short man around tall men.
sf said on 4/Mar/06
I gotta say I find it interesting that we're including A French leader from the early 1800's as a "Celebrity!" And, now I see just how old Frank2 is if he actually knew him!

[Editor Rob: he's only here because he's had a height complex named after him and has been reported at 2 different heights through history...]
Frank2 said on 4/Mar/06
Just kidding!
Frank2 said on 4/Mar/06
Knew him too and he was five-three.
PhilinYuma said on 20/Feb/06
I have read the comments in this thread with great interest. I have no problem with Napoleon's height being the accepted 168.6-169cm, but like stAs, I have wondered why a a normal sized man would be known as "the little corporal". Perhaps he wasn't. I had hoped that there was a French equivalent of the English rank of lance corporal (U.S. PFC)but found nothing. When I looked up "petit" in my old Larouse, however, I found that it can mean, aside from "small", "young" and "of humble origin", "Terme d'affection ous de mepris" (a term of affection or scorn) much as "old" is used in English, as in "old man" or "old iron pants". "Le petit caporal" then, may be a term of affection used by his troops and a reminder of his humble bith. I would be very interested to hear an evaluation of this idea from someone whose idiomatic French is much better than mine.
stAs said on 14/Feb/06
I think its a mistake to put Napoleon at 169cm, if he remained famous as a small man it means that he was really short, 169cm for 18th century is like 180cm for 21st century so probably he was under 160cm
dr. wu said on 11/Feb/06
People can't seem to comprehend that average human heights will change with time. Napoleon was indeed 5'6, which was an average height during his era.
MeLiSsA said on 23/Jan/06
5'6 is short for a guy. I mean it's not like he was a midget, but if this was his real height than he was short.
Orlando said on 10/Jan/06
In 1784 (when Napoleon was 14-15 years old) inspector Keralio reports his height as "quatre pieds, dix pouces, dix lignes" (French 4ft 10in 10 lines). That's 1.59 m (or English 5 ft 2.5-2.75 in). So, no big deal if he had grew up to 1.69 m...
In the past, POOR people were quite short, but middle/high class people were as tall as they are now, I think. Napoleon parents were not wealthy people and maybe he had poor nutrition as a child.
rut said on 31/Dec/05
Average height for men was 5ft??
Interesting, but I'm skeptical about Napoleon being 5 6 or 7..
It still think it would be interesting to add "the lord" to this site...
Italian University Librarian said on 3/Dec/05
On 2 December 1805, Napoleon's Grande Armée (including the Italian Royal Guard) gained the battle of Austerlitz. In 1805, minimum heights in the army of the Kingdom of Italy (Napoleon was king of Italy since 17 March 1805) were: 159.8 cm in the light infantry; 162.5 cm in the line infantry; 165.2 cm for the foot gardes d'honneur of the Royal Guard and for the vélites of the same Guard; 167.9 cm for the mounted gardes d'honneur of the Royal Guard; 170.6 cm in the cavalry; 173.3 cm in the artillery and in the corps of engineers; 176.0 cm for the grenadiers of the Royal Guard.
Gotxo said on 28/Nov/05
A faithful source.
They were aware of if the data they were pikcing was pied or foot?
Marc said on 27/Nov/05
I read in Maxim that he was 5'4"
Gotxo said on 2/Nov/05
Take this on account, many books that came from the anglosaxon world reflect that confussion between inch & pouces and feet and pied, pies and etc... Your affirmation can be traced in so accurate books (except for those mistakes)as "The experience of war in the age of reason" in eg.
It's a good book and has good sources but the enlgish trend to belive that in the world only exists their measures and such. Thus that anglocentric vision promotes despise for others.
The french started early appliying statistics to both militar & civil use.
Those measures were made by french staff and based on french measure sistems.
Or do you belive that an english spy came to measure frenchmen by himself.
However those data weren't converted to the proper english measures:
5 pieds de roi are 162cm, (the books talks of the pre-napoleonic era).

And yes the Legionaries collected so many success due to their organization & stragegy (not height of course) but consider that they were present in both the Republic & Imperium ages of rome (big time span), and they involve foreign made corps too. So maybe we both are reporting accurate data.
Historian said on 2/Nov/05
I wrote that since medical formulas say that u dont grow more than 2 or 3 inches past 15 years old in most cases, the average height in Napoleon army was 5 feet(1.53cm) so its possible and believable that he was below 5'6"(1.69cm), did i say u are saying rubbish just because u believe that people from that time was tall? i just said and its a fact that both french and italians(Latins)were shorter than europeans from north ie:scotch,nordics.

Roman legionnaires were 5'4" on average they succeed for their good discipline and outstanding military tactics.
Gotxo said on 29/Oct/05
Yeah Bleemo, it has been said many times that Charles Magne was 6 feet. The Saint Shroud of Turin in reality was made in the middle ages using a technique in wich a man lies beneath the shroud and some pigment is applied. Well to make that was necessary a person, and that one was 180cm. Some Cromagnon (homo sapiens) remains in Basque country measures between 172-186cm. I personally measured with a tape measure the tombs of the necrópolis of Cuyacabra (spain- not yet stablished if bronze age or middle ages) and were between 160-187cm.
Napoleon being 169cm is not only possible but belivable.
Gotxo said on 28/Oct/05
Yo wrote rubbish, you only tell things because they acomodate to what you think.
Why a man in those ages could not grew more than 2 inches by the shake of what law? your whim's? The remainings of some medieval north african in Spain revealed that some where even 6'1". Some Scottish middleages male corpses were measured up to 5'8" y 6'1" in certain places. Those heights were reached in the past and are not privative of todays (yeah not usual but not exceptional).
Of course malnourishment could thwart a man's growth but you are not exposing reivindicable theories but fancies (put a reason there please).
Italian University Librarian said on 28/Oct/05
I don't think that in Caesar's army many legionaries were 190 cm tall, if he wrote in "De bello Gallico", II, 30: "[...] plerumque omnibus Gallis prae magnitudine corporum suorum brevitas nostra contemptui est [...]" (all Gauls generally despise our short stature in comparison with the bigness of their bodies). Napoleon was said to be born in 1768 because he added one year to his real age when he married Joséphine, who was born in 1763, but declared herself born in 1767. When Napoleon was Emperor of the French and King of Italy, in the Italian Royal Almanac he resumed his real birth date, 15 August 1769, whereas Empress and Queen Joséphine was said to be born in 1768, in the same page in which her son Prince Eugène-Napoléon, viceroy of Italy, was said to be born in 1781 (this was true). Napoleon would have had no reason neither for declaring himself younger than his brother Joseph, giving up his primogeniture, nor for declaring himself born on 15 August, one of the main Roman Catholic feasts, the Assumption of the Virgin (note that Napoleon got 15 August celebrated as his saint's day, and this was a problem in Catholic contries like France and Italy).
Historian said on 27/Oct/05
People in the past lacked the nutrition of these days, so most of them(europeans)couldnt grow more than 2 inches in that time, as Mr.librarian says they werent tall, and i know many people who didnt grow more than 2 inches past 15 years old. About Napoleon birth in 1768 many are still researching on that, so its possible that he born in that year, and his brother Joseph(Giuseppe)born in January 7 1768 not in 1769.
Jason said on 27/Oct/05
I remember one of my Social Studies teachers in high school said the height limit in the Roman army was 193cm.
sf said on 26/Oct/05
Are you kidding me, Historian? LOTS of guys grow LOTS of inches past the age of 14 or 15! Many, don't have their growth spurt until this age, or after. Me, personally - I grew about 10 inches past that age!
Gotxo said on 26/Oct/05
Lol thnx librarian.
But i read somewhere tha roman legionaries where describeda as slim & tall at 170cm. I'm confused about that quote because it say they where roman legionaries but it doesn't state their origin though. Anyway is an historical fact that height in europe took a U shaped curve, being premedieval inhabitants taller than the later ones an that height was recovered slowly after middle ages. So a 170 cm roman might be possible, Mebbe i'm wrong, i accept comments as a way to improve.
Italian University Librarian said on 26/Oct/05
I thank Señor Gotxo; but I would add that we the Italians are the legitimate descendants of the ancient Romans and of their Italic allies; and the average height of the Roman and Italic legionaries was a bit over 160 cm, a lot below the average height of the Gauls and of the Germans (over 175 cm). To Mr. Historian: Napoleon's birth date is surely 15 August 1769 (it's an unfounded tale that his father inverted birth certificates of Napoleon, born in 1768 before the French occupation of Corse, and of his brother Giuseppe, born in 1769 under that occupation, so Napoleon became a French subject since his birth and could be commissioned in the French army; in reality, the Corsicans weren't French citizens until 1789).
Gotxo said on 26/Oct/05
Sorry historian, can't agree with you.
Nowadays kids grown much faster than in the past, but anyways he had a big time-span for grewth. One of my friends was 5'7 when seventeen and now is 6'3".
A rare case, i know, but serves us well to prove that his height at that eraly age is unconclusive, i even was 162cm when thirteen and now i'm 180cm.
We have the historical fact of his corpse measurement @ 169, he might very well reached that height gaining 9-10cm from his initial 159cm when 14 yold.
It doesn't make a nonsense to me but seems normal, whadda you think guys?
Historian said on 25/Oct/05
I agree Napoleon was beetween 14 and 15 years old in that time,since his birth date was between 1768 & 1769, but most men dont grow more than 2 inches past that age.
Gotxo said on 25/Oct/05
I don't think italians are smaller than french or spaniards. I think we're quite the same height: about 176-177cm for the thirty-somers and 178cm (if not a bit more) for those between 22-17 y old. And yeah, you the italians are great
Invented the Pasta, Alfa-Romeo, Ferrari, Ducati, have a great part in the design on many of the rockets the NASA launches, have characters as Umberto Eco and Dario Fo. And have more weight in the G7 than UK. Nothing to hide of in my opinion
gotxo said on 24/Oct/05
Historianthen Napoleon was only 14 when that comment was done and not yet fully developed and take this on account:

POUCE is the french word for INCH, a pouce/francaise inch was=2,707cm
A ligne is the 12th part of a pouce, so its pouce/12= 0,225 cm
And the pied the roi is =32,484 cm
so 4 pied de roi= 129.936cm + 10 pouces= 27.07cm + 10 lignes=2.25cm
makes a bit more than 159cm. And as said before he was not grown totally yet
Italian University Librarian said on 24/Oct/05
In 1783 the future Emperor of the French and King of Italy (genealogically the Italianest king of Italy from the 5th until the 20th century) was 14 years old. Not because I am the Italian below the average height that I am, but I would say it's very wrong to judge Italian generals according to their height. King Louis XIV of France refused to give Prince Eugenio of Savoy a rank in the French army for lack of height; then the Italian prince became one of the greatest military leaders in history as a general in the Austrian army, and defeated French troops several times.
Historian said on 24/Oct/05
Keralio wrote that description in 1783,and i dont see any cruel comments there unless u take the truth about the height of Napoleon as cruel, by the way my ancestors are both latin and German.

Gotxo said on 22/Oct/05
Lol, you the anglosaxons always have the need to despise us the latins.
Are the cruel comments a way to improve your opinions on you?
You mention an istorical comment, but you don't mention the year in wich it was done:
Napoleón first started the militar ecole of Brienne in 5th of may of 1779.
So normal he was this short, and yeah the Pied de roy don't equal the english foot,it was 32,48 cm , as the Castilian foot is 27,86 cm not the 30,54cm of the english one. Further more, even in some regions of the same european country an length measure was distinct than the same-named one in other ones.
(Have i depicted the complexity of the old Europe to your american mind?)
P.D That was 'fore the introduction of the metrical system, now used world wide
(That remebers me another european tale: "In the region of armorica a little village still resist the roman empire...) :P
Historian said on 22/Oct/05
5´2 in french inches..mmm well the following note is a REAL historical description of Napoleon height wrote by a french Military Inspector:

Report by Keralio, the Inspector of Military Schools, when Napoleon was in school at Brienne: "Monsieur de Buonaparte (Napoleon), born August 15th 1769. Height: 4 feet 10 inches and ten lignes. Physique: good. Health: excellent. His character displays docility, honesty and a sense of gratitude. His conduct is blameless. Has regularly distinguished himself by his diligence in Mathematics. Shows sufficient acquaintance with History and Geography, but is weak at exercises and recreation. Should make an excellent naval officer. Deserves to be entered for the Ecole Militaire at Paris."

4`10 french inches that is ,in english inches would be 5`2 !!, so he was clearly short for a General.

[Editor Rob: that is conflicting to what other reports say. I've no idea the accuracy of either to be honest...5ft 2 or 5ft 6.5! take your pick!]
Italian University Librarian said on 14/Oct/05
I agree Napoleon was 1.69, this is the height measured on his corpse. Many people believe he was very short because English caricaturists portrayed him so. By the same reason in Italy many people believe that our Prime Minister Berlusconi is very short, but he is an over 65 years Italian man of average height (I stood near him some times); Italian left-wing caricaturists portray him shorter than our President of Republic Ciampi, even if Berlusconi is a lot taller than Ciampi.
John B said on 7/Oct/05
No wy was he 5' 6.5 No way! need to check this one!
Name said on 15/Jun/05
Napoleon was 5'2" in French feet, which is 5'6.5" in English feet. The average man in his army was about five feet tall, and he was indeed taller than the average Frenchman of his day.
Oxford Professor said on 21/Apr/05
One notes from the records:

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Of France Stood 5ft 2in (5ft 6in) In English Feet.
I Do Hope That This Clears Up The Confusion, Ladies And Gentlemen.

He Was Rather A Large Man, In His Time, Where The Average Male Height Being Just 5ft (152cm)
Anonymous said on 17/Apr/05
I read that he was 5'2" and that the average french man in that period was around five feet tall.

[Editor Rob: yes, yahoo has the answer on the 5ft 2 listing. I know around 1750 the average height of english men was just under 5ft...]

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